Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ideas For Composition: Diagonals


This is the 2nd article in this series. To read the remaining articles: (1) Framing, (3) Negative Space, (4) Backgrounds (5) Multiples

Lines are a standard compositional element. The shape and length of lines draw the viewer's eye in a particular direction. The lines themselves do not have to be perfectly straight. Often they are more subtle, coming in the form of objects with irregular shapes. Lines also do not have to always be physical objects. There are visual lines created through the angle of light, as in shadows or sun rays.

Also, lines go in more directions than horizontal and vertical. I am particularly fond of diagonal lines. Diagonals give a photograph both distance and depth. Like vertical lines, they make objects look taller. Like horizontal lines, they also make objects look broader in scope and deeper in distance.

A Delicate Balance

Wild Plum

Morning in the Country

Rainwater, Bird of Paradise

Downtown Disney, Orlando, Florida

Glory Streaming

The best way to create diagonal lines is by shifting your physical position. Instead of facing the scene "head on" turn yourself slightly to the side. At the same time, always pay attention to how the lines "move" in the photograph. Their direction should always enhance the scene and not detract from it. Also, avoid lines that seem to stick out awkwardly from your main objects (the old 'telephone pole through the head' image). This can ruin a photograph.

In the end, lines are a great compositional tool. Take a photo trip somewhere and concentrate on creating lines. You'll find it makes the trip more interesting and you'll see some amazing results!

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Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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