In landscape or architectural photography, one thing that photographers look for and often want to include is the presence of converging lines, parallel lines that seem to meet in the distance. A common example would be railroad tracks. If you were to stand in the middle of the tracks, you will notice that the lines seem to go closer together until the tracks taper off to a point (also known as ‘vanishing point’) at the far end.
Using converging lines is an effective way to lead your viewer’s attention to the point of interest, as well as to give the impression of depth and dimension. The lines work to draw the eyes to a certain direction and location in the frame. Scenes or objects where you can take advantage of converging lines are hallways, roads, bridges, stairs, alleys and other locations that show parallel lines that seem to meet at the far end.
Here are some tips you will find useful when you want to include converging lines in your image:
1.Play around with positioning – there are many ways you can position the converging lines. One would be to place them in the center, making them appear symmetrical in the frame, which would provide balance as well. Another way is to position them diagonally across the frame. Diagonal lines make the image more dynamic since it implies movement. Decide whether to use a landscape or portrait format since this also affects the final outcome. Having a low camera angle would make the converging lines give a different effect compared to if you took the shot from a high viewpoint.
2. Use a wide angle view – various lenses can show different results when it comes to capturing converging lines. Using a wide angle lens, or a wide angle preset if your camera has one, can exaggerate the appearance of the width of the lines where they begin in the foreground. This can add visual impact to the scene.
Position the convergence – the placement of where your lines seem to meet is important because this is the spot where the viewer’s eyes will ultimately be drawn to. Be strategic with the positioning of this focal point in the frame. Keep in mind that the Rule of Thirds can guide you with this, since it states that key focal areas are found at one third of the frame. You can, of course, disregard this ‘rule’ and have your vanishing point smack dab in the middle of the shot, as long as you can see that this composition
would be more effective. You can even position the vanishing point off the frame, so that the lines imply that they will eventually connect in some unseen spot. This has a more subtle effect, yet can be just as successful in leading the attention to the point of interest.
4.Add interest at the point of convergence – converging lines can be an attractive subject in itself with a strong visual impact. Sometimes, however, the addition of a point of interest can bring the image up to a higher level. For instance, an image may be composed of a path in the woods. A cottage or a person located near the end of the path can make the image all the more interesting.
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