There’s nothing better than capturing the perfect image. Applying some basic techniques can take your photography skills to the next level – and making use of leading lines is certainly up there with the best of them.
Leading lines guide your eyes to the main subject of the image through the power of suggestion. While there isn’t a huge “Look at me” sign, the viewer’s eyes are automatically drawn towards the focal point.
Leading lines are excellent for garden photos as there are so many different objects you can use, such as windows, arches, plants aligned in a row, walls, garden streams, hedges, pathways and fences. Pathways work particularly well as they are designed to lead people in a certain direction.
Here’s how to make leading lines in your garden.
1. Setting Up
As the photographer, it’s your job to arrange the objects in your garden so they look like they are leading to something. They may not actually lead to something in real life, but in the photo, they can lead to infinity.
So, when you’re setting up for the photo, take a few moments to look at the scene for its leading lines. Take a deep breath, relax your eyes and make a mental note of where they are naturally drawn towards.
As mentioned above, pay particular attention to things in your garden like fences, pathways, plants and hedges. Man Made objects tend to make for the best leading lines as they are usually placed in such a way in the first place.
Once you know your strongest leading lines, think about how you can use them to make your photo even better.
For example, you may want to use them to create more depth in the shot from the foreground to the background. You could also try to take the viewer on a journey through from one part of the photo to another, or even place the subject of the image where the lines converge to make it stand out even more. It’s all about bringing attention to it.
You may have to change your lenses to get a different perspective, but most of the time you can get the same effect by moving yourself so the point of view you are attempting to capture has purpose.
So, now that that’s been covered, here are some ideas to help you make leading lines in your garden.
2. Diagonal Lines
These are great for helping to draw the viewer’s eyes towards the above of the photo, just as we see with the below photo with the gazebo and the house at the end. Also, note that the trees are parallel with the path to emphasise its angle. This is another leading line in itself.
3. Fences And Walls
Walls and fences are excellent for using as leading lines in your garden, as shown by the next photo.
The wall guides your eyes around the garden, bringing attention to the flowerbeds and the seating area above.
You’ll also note that the pathway adds an extra dimension to shot by bringing your attention from the bottom to the focal point, just as it does in the above shot.
Curves in the garden are also amazing to work with. One great technique you can use is by placing yourself just outside of the curve, take out your wide lens and point your camera down. This will exaggerate the curve and really add to the overall composition.
See how the path in this image leads your eyes into the garden and into the arrangement?
5. Looking Back
If you come across a good opportunity for a leading line in your garden, it’s always a good idea to go to the other end of the line and look back for another view. If the leading line is strong in the original direction, chances are it’ll look great going the other way too.
The best way to get this shot is from a flight of stairs. Start at the bottom, take the shot and then go to the top.
You’ll probably get a good idea if it’s a good leading line or not straight away.
6. Vertical Photos
You may have noticed that each of the photos used are vertical. Well, there’s a reason for this as they can give you some great leading lines. Realise their potential and work with them.
Garden streams work very well in this scenario. Capture where the stream is running and let your lense follow the water. The results will speak for themselves.
7. When There Are No Obvious Leading Lines
Now, if your garden doesn’t have any walls, fencing, paths or anything obvious, you should at the contents of your garden for some inspiration. For example, a line of trees or some shrubbery can give you the leading line you’re looking for.
You can see this in action from the image below.
Your garden has all sorts of components to use as leading lines. All you need to do is identify them and get shooting. By the time you’re done, your photos will have never looked so good.