Elements of Composition: Lines

I'm starting here a little side project based on the basic elements of composition. For those who have already studied composition, it might sound a little repetitive, but I think that some of my readers might not have read about it before. Photography, like any other graphic art, is based on some basic principles of composition. Pick up any book dealing with composition, whatever the media, and the same principles will come up.

The first element I will write about are lines. Lines are everywhere you look. They lead us on roads, they show us limits; they evoke sensuality on an exotic car or frame our thinking in statistical graphics. Vertical lines tend to show strength, horizontal ones often exude stability, while diagonals are dynamic. Include lines in your composition to lead the eye to your subject, add implied motion or just give your picture an interesting background.

All of these were shot in less than an hour, riding my bicycle back from my morning class. They aren't necessarily the best shots ever, far from it, but all of them were taken with lines in mind. I will continue to shot 'linear' shots for one week as a personal direction, before moving onto the next element of composition, shape.

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