Photography help: Leading lines

Nice quick one today, leading lines. Very easy to explain this, there are lots of examples. You might have noticed a lot of pictures of people on train tracks on the web, the tracks leading up to them?  Its a bit of a cliché but the idea was to find something to lead the eye through the picture to the subject.

Train track pictures

It has been done to death now though so I stay away from it.  But the concept is still great.

Here is an example of leading lines:

 

 Guess what the leading lines are?

Guess what the leading lines are?

Great so we have some leading lines.  But what use are they?

 

Where is the subject of the picture?

 

Having leading lines with no "pay off" is a bad idea, it leaves the viewer unhappy and unsatisfied. But they do focus the attention on the subject when used properly.

 

Hence the overuse of train tracks for portraits! Basically plonk person on train tracks and put tracks in a corner leading in or stand in tracks so you get a vanishing point.

 

ZzZzZz boring and over done.

 

As soon as I saw these car tracks in the snow this morning I wanted to do something with them.  So I had my daughter walk up the verge to a patch in the distance (so as not to make foot prints).

 ok a subject!

ok a subject!

Great but too far away for a "normal " portait.

So I had her turn around for a dramatic moody shot:

 Interesting and moody but something still not right?

Interesting and moody but something still not right?

Last step, this "feels" like a portrait shot for me because the tracks lead from bottom up.  However there is a lot on the sides that doesn't add anything, so....

 There, finished, a little moody, why is she there? how did she get there? Why is she facing away?

There, finished, a little moody, why is she there? how did she get there? Why is she facing away?

So have a go yourself, with any camera at all, even your phone.  Fences, walls and pavements can be used too if you haven't any train tracks near you ;)