Elements of Photographic Composition – Lines

I’ve been reading Bryan Peterson’s Learning to See Creatively.  In it, he talks about how successful photographs have order and there are six elements that bring order to photographs – line, shape, form, texture, pattern, and color. I’m having a little trouble wrapping my brain around this concept so I thought if I wrote it all out for you that would help it make sense to me.   Today I’m going to focus on the strongest of these elements – lines.

The first thing I’ve discovered is that lines don’t have to be straight – they can curve!! Which I guess I knew but I had never really thought about. I included this shot because I think the lines of the railroad tracks are leading the eyes along the right hand side of the shot. However I’m not really sure I think it’s a good thing that those lines lead right out of the frame.

Model train set up at the Roberson Museum

This shot has lines all over the place – I love the juxtaposition of the wavy line of the stream and the straight lines of the rock formations.

Taken at Watkins Glen State Park

I love the deep vertical line through the predominant horizontal shelf.

Crack in the stone at Hector Falls, Hector, NY

There is no better definition of a photograph with lines than a picture of train tracks.

Train tracks in the Sweedler Preserve in Ithaca, NY

This is my favorite “line” shot. I love the lines of the cityscape with the curve of “The Bean” and the reflection and curve of the buildings.

The Bean in Millennium Park, Chicago, IL

Next Chapter – Shape


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