Shooting Challenge: Leading Lines

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Leading Lines

Your eyes...feel funny. They're slowly pulling from their sockets, a pair of grapes that will soon squish their juices against a simple, 2D photograph. This is the power of leading lines. For this week's Shooting Challenge, use it wisely.


The Challenge

Capture a photo that features prominent, leading line.

The Technique

Let's start with a definition. Generally speaking, leading lines are simply lines that guide a viewer's eye to the focal point of a photograph.

The potential of a leading line is the power to really dictate how someone views what you've created; that's a rare opportunity.

Ultimately, this is a challenge of subject and cropping, but here are a few tutorials that will help you on your way:

iheartfaces has a very deep, three-part portrait tutorial that's full of clarifying illustrations on top of the photos themselves. Even if you don't read it all, the illustrations will sink into your brain quickly, adding a new perspective.

PictureCorrect maps the idea leading lines to their most common use, landscape photography.

The Example

Our lead photo by flickr's Rodrigo Soldon employs several sets of leading lines to pull us up into the abyss. Truly, there must be 30 here if you count every contrasty line edge of these train tracks and the platform.


The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, Oct 24th at 8AM Eastern to with "Leading Lines" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameLeading.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameLeadingWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.



It's like one-point perspective, the game!