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The lines in photographs are very powerful elements that, if you have a little practice, can add a dynamic effect to the image in terms of mood, as well as guide the viewer’s gaze and lead him in the right direction for an ideal reading of the composition. This article discusses four types of lines: horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and converging. Each type of line has a different effect on the photo.

A good way to practice learning about lines is to go back to the old images that you shot and start looking at them for lines that worked well and those that, on the contrary, looked bad.

The next time you take a picture with the camera before you press the shutter button, consciously ask yourself which lines are in front of you and how you can use them to add something to the future picture while working with THEM, and not against them.

Also ask yourself if the lines form any interesting patterns that you could emphasize to add something else interesting.

Horizontal lines

The horizontal lines in the image convey the message: “stability” and even “rest”. Horizons, fallen trees, oceans, sleeping people – in all these objects there is something from the lines, they speak of constancy, timelessness or rest. Horizons are the most common horizontal line that can be found in photographs, and they often act as the dividing point in the picture. In fact, it is an anchor that forms the rest of the image.

If you want to emphasize calm and silence, use the horizon, which will pass through the frame from left to right and become the longest horizontal line in the image. Alternatively, if you want to re-emphasize horizontal lines, turn the camera over and shoot vertically.

Keep in mind that continuous horizons can often make a photo appear static or flat, but a good strategy is to use other shapes in the landscape you are photographing, such as mountains, trees, buildings, etc.

The horizon line is usually not located in the middle of the frame. It’s more efficient to place it in the upper or lower third of the image. Several horizontal lines can create rhythm and become in themselves a point of attracting the attention of the viewer. Also of interest are the horizontal lines torn by an object or some kind of vertical line.

The next thing that needs to be done well is to keep the horizontal lines horizontal and at right angles to the sides of the frame. There is nothing more disappointing (not even for a perfectionist) to look at a picture in which the horizon tilts at an angle.

How to successfully use lines in photography How to successfully use lines in photography

Vertical lines

Vertical lines have the ability to convey a variety of moods in photographs, ranging from power and strength (think about skyscrapers for a second) to a sense of growth (for example, when we see trees). Since horizontal lines can be emphasized by shooting in a horizontal format, vertical lines can be used very effectively, placing the camera also vertically. This lengthens the vertical object, which emphasizes the height.

It is important to keep the vertical lines vertical relative to the sides of the frame as much as possible. This is sometimes difficult to do, for example, if you shoot the image looking up (that is, the object will narrow up), however, try to keep the lines as straight as possible.

Remember the “rule of thirds.” If you have strong vertical lines in the photo – place them in the right place on the frame. Placing a line directly in the middle of the image will effectively cut your image in half. This effect can be used with a dramatic effect, but it can also cause the entire image to look segmented.

Diagonal lines

Diagonal lines usually work well when you need to draw the viewer’s eye through a photograph. They create points of interest because they intersect with other lines and often add depth to the image using perspective.

Diagonals can also make a sense of what is happening in the image and add dynamism to the frame. Think about how you could use the diagonal lines to look at the main subject or point of interest in your photo.

Various studies have been conducted on how people view pictures, and many of them indicate that the natural movement of the viewer’s eyes is a movement from left to right, and therefore a diagonal line starting from the bottom left and moving to the upper right part of the image may be more natural .

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