Converging lines in photography are important and learning how to use it will also help you improve the use of diagonal lines.
One of the most common compositional elements in photography is the use of converging lines. We’ve seen other rules of composition such as the rule of thirds, diagonal lines, horizontal vs vertical lines and with this article, we’re going to see how converging lines are one of the easiest rules to apply to create appealing photos.
Let’s dive in and learn more about these lines.
Using Converging Lines to Add Image Depth
Photographs are two-dimensional.
Adding depth to your image is a challenge that every expert photographer face and it can be achieved through a variety of methods. Converging lines are an effective way of adding depth to your photographs.
Diagonal lines in photographs have the unique ability to create depth to the viewer’s eyes especially when shooting outdoors. These lines help to bring a three-dimensional reality into a photograph that is two-dimensional. Multiple sets of lines can be used to create significant image depth.
When photographs include other natural elements such as pedestrians and waterfronts, the image becomes more realistic and easier to identify the depth through contrast.
Converging lines can be present in a variety of forms. For example, they can also be seen in natural landscapes as paths or even in the sky in the form of streaky clouds. Subtle lines are just as important as prominent ones. The main goal is to use them to increase the depth and achieve the desired look. Converging lines can be used to bring attention to a particular spot in your scene and to tell a story.
In certain scenarios you can use converging lines to link the foreground of your image to the background.
Converging Lines: Adding Interest
These compositional elements prove to be helpful for directing viewer’s attention to the subject of the photograph. This is a powerful tool for guiding the viewer’s eye.
Converging lines are used to highlight the subject by drawing the viewer’s attention to it. Other methods can be used too. For example, the rule of thirds can be implemented to achieve this effect.
They can be extremely subtle as well. For example, an image does not need to use complete lines in order to achieve subject focus. They are very powerful and will attract attention to the subject when used properly.
Converging lines can be used in everything from natural landscape photos to pictures of drawings since they are extremely effective for drawing the viewer’s eye to the subject. Without it, the viewer may focus on any element of the photo that they find interesting. This is counterproductive if the photographer wants to highlight a certain subject.
Converging Lines: Leading a Viewer’s Eyes
Keeping a viewer’s eye in the photograph is a powerful strategy the proves to be successful. For example, by using multiple types of diagonal lines, the viewer’s attention is kept within the photograph. When multiple converging lines are used within one photo, a viewer’s attention is captured within the image.
This can be used for intricate images with many cohesive lines and shapes or a few simple lines/ angles. The beauty of this tool is its ability to add effect without making any photo changes. The goal of this compositional element is to keep a viewer’s eyes in the photograph naturally.
For example, images can use the right angles to achieve the same result. But, when a second set of meeting lines are used in addition, they add contrast and keep the viewer’s eyes analyzing the photo over and over again.
Another case would be when a photographer uses a subject as the main focus of the image by shooting from unlikely angles and viewpoints. For example, taking a photo of a building from underneath can provide a unique perspective with naturally-occurring lines. In this situation, the perspective will form converging lines and highlight the height of the building.
These lines can be easily used to add meaning and emotion to a photograph. For example, a photo that uses road lines as converging lines can create an effect of reflection and lonliness. Converging lines can be used for symbolizing certain emotions and meanings of life.
Often times converging lines will help to create space between the foreground subject and the other image elements. This is important for adding depth that feels natural and organic. It is important that converging lines don’t feel overbearing. Adding meaning to images is an important aspect of provoking thought from viewers.
Converging Lines Examples
You can find some great examples of how to use converging lines in photography here.
Tips For Using Converging Lines
- Try to shoot from a low angle: an empty street with a mountain on the background will be perfect to start.
- Focal length: using a wide-angle lens will enhance the sense of perspective and make the background appear more distant.
- Add interest: you can add interest to a photo positioning a subject at the converging point. Or you can even break the rule positioning an element in the often underrated mid-ground level.
Converging lines are very versatile and can be used according to the desired effect for each image. As you’ve learned you can use them to add depth, lead the viewer’s attention and highlight certain aspects of the scene.
Now it’s your turn, go ahead and experiment with this compositional technique and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.