Summary – The location and direction of lines is often within your control. For lines to help tell your story, you must know how to place them within the image space to your advantage.
Knowing where to place lines in an image is important
It’s an “artistic” decision
Knowing HOW to place a line where you want it
Is another matter entirely
Roll mouse over image
Keeping things simple; letting nature speak for itself
Three lines & two rectangles
The sky above the frame was featureless & dark
Didn’t add anything, so place the horizon line high
I like a foreground element
Even better if it provides a line to start us though the image
Often (not always) you can place lines
Where you want them in the frame (the design space)
For example, I often want an oblique line to lead the eye
Better – one starting near a foreground element to
Initially capture the eye & start it on its journey
I always assumed that positioning ones-self correctly to
Position a line was straight forward, but
Experience while teaching showed me otherwise
Placing yourself in order to place an oblique line
Line placement is easy; it involves two simple steps
1. On which side do you want the line to begin?
A – To start from right
You must be to the left of the “line”
How far left? Try it and see.
The closer you remain to the line,
The closer to vertical the oblique line will be
2. Where does the line’s lower end begin in the frame?
A – It depends 100% on where you point the camera
The further you point toward the line
The higher in the frame the line will begin
To achieve the result in the example image
I was well off the path to the left and
The camera was pointed well to the right of the subject house
How far off the line & how much away from the subject?
Depends entirely on you, the subject & your story
This all may seem obvious (it did to me until shown otherwise), but
You need to practice in order to learn line placement
Stop reading, grab your camera & try it
You don’t even need to go outside 😉
Look through the viewfinder and the answers to
How far? How much?
Are there in plain sight
Adjusting is simply a matter of
Moving the body holding the camera 😉
Horizon lines (& other “rectangular dividers”)
Horizontal lines that extend across the frame
Are often taken for granted
They divide the image space into rectangles
An extremely, often neglected question is
How much space to devote to each rectangle?
The right answer is NOT – use the rule-of-thirds
It depends on what your story is about and
where the story resides
Are you getting the feeling that you should have
Studied geometry a bit harder in school?
Henri Cartier-Bresson apparently thought so when he said –
In order to give meaning to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what he frames. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry.
Think about that quote. It says a lot about visual design.
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