Combine Leading Lines with a Strong Light Source for More Impactful Photos

Here’s a simple composition tip that promises to help add depth and impact to your images. Instead of thinking of light and lines separately, try to combine the two by having your strongest light source and your leading lines work together.

The tip comes to us from Jimmy McIntyre, and in this short video he shows how several of his images uses this advice to great effect. When done right, the main light source and your leading or converging lines work together to draw the viewers eye deeper into the photo.

The light source can be anything: from a lone streetlamp, to the sunset, to a big beautiful window. The lines, likewise, can be formed by natural or manmade elements. Together, the two draw you in:





As with any composition advice, there’s no such thing as a hard and fast rule. This is simply a structural guide that will help train your eye to see these elements, and arrange your frame so that it guides your viewer into and through your image. Watch the video at the top for several more examples of the technique in action.

And if you liked this, you’ll probably like some of Jimmy’s other tutorials we’ve featured over the years. You can find those here.

(via ISO 1200)