Using lines for powerful composition

by | Jul 28, 2016

Recently I took a small group of students to Venice, FL as the backdrop to explore and practice the concept of using lines in our photography to create more compelling images. Lines are found all around us in both our natural world as well as our man made world. Lines really help solidify a viewers connection with the photograph and draw you into the image almost immediately as our eyes naturally want to follow lines, the same way people from the UK naturally want to form a line (queue).

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Lines can be parallel, opposing, radiating, random, rhythmic or guiding. You use lines to take the viewer through the path of your frame. Remember that one of the most difficult tasks in photography is to simplify your composition. Photographers of all levels often try to simply include too much in their images as it is much easier than breaking down a concept to its most basic level.

The very best images most always represent very simple design ideals and subjects. Looking for a line can help you weed out everything in your  photo that isn’t truly necessary and reinforce what your subject is by leading them right to it or making your image more dynamic.

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Test this concept by taking two images of the same subject, one having very definite defined lines and the other not. Ask for feedback to see which your viewers prefer and you’ll see that the images wth defined lines most always prevail.

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About the author Perry Johnson
Perry Johnson is classically trained commercial photographer and graphic designer with over 30 years experience. He initially crafted his skills at the École Supérieure Des Beaux-Arts de Toulouse in France. Over the years Perry has taught countless photography workshops and courses to individuals, groups and business including Target Corp., Lockheed Martin, Johnson Outdoors, Enza-Zaden and more. Perry’s commercial photography clients include Darden Restaurants, Marriott Corp, Visit Florida, Food & Wine Magazine, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to name just a few. Perry owns a marketing communications firm named Imagica ( This boutique agency offers a fully integrated menu of marketing services for business that includes photography, website design, graphic design, advertising, strategy, social media, public relations and more. It’s this current and diverse experience from the “outside in” that gives a unique perspective on the power of photography to inspire, motivate and tell a story.