This is now my 3rd post on using lines as a composition technique, and in this post we're going to be looking at the effect that adding diagonal lines does to a photo. Diagonal lines are important factors to try add to your photos now and then, as they create tension and dynamics in a photo and lead the eyes in a particular direction.
When I add lines to a photo, I liken it to hanging photos on a wall; it's either go to be perfectly aligned, or poorly aligned. What I mean by this is that if your lines are almost aligned with each other, it just looks like a mistake and needs straightening. Diagonal lines aren't compared to the frame of the photo in the same way that horizontal and vertical lines are, so they have the freedom to move around and do what you want them to do, which in many ways, makes them much more useful.
3 Types Of Diagonals
There are 3 different types of diagonal lines in photography; objects that are placed diagonally in a scene, actual diagonal lines and a digaonal line created by the viewpoint. The latter of those types is the one that you'll be most familiar with, so much so that you don't even see it anymore. It's easy to have a look around you and spot plenty of diagonal lines, the difficult part is using those lines creatively to add to your composition. Here's a photo of the strip in Vegas that would have been relatively straight if shot face on, but because I decided to shoot from the side, it became diagonal. Next is a photo of the diagonal lines used in a building – there's no way to take a photo of this roof without having diagonal lines in a photo. And below is a set of diagonal lines that have been created by the viewpoint of the camera.
Leading The Eye
Most photographers primary use for diagonal lines is to lead the eye to a certain part of the photo and it's extremely effective at doing this. When you take a diagonal line and intercept it, or point it in the direction with a particular object, the tension created by this automatically draws the eye towards it. Have a look at this photo below of a model on some rocks on a beach and you'll see that the diagonal line in the background draws your attention up the photo and towards the head – this is especially useful if you're trying to draw the viewers attention to a particular feature. A similar technique is also implemented in the photo below.
Diagonal lines that are created by a viewpoint have a diminishing effect, and create a sense of depth in a photo that can be increased or decreased by the amount of the diagonal line you choose to include. Had I taken the photo below from further back then the image would appear to be deeper, but I chose that particular viewpoint because I wanted the rocks available in the foreground to create another, less obvious, diagonal line.xenical online