Video: The power of diagonal lines in your landscape photos


posted Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 6:00 AM EDT


What's the most powerful tool in your photo composition toolkit? According to photographer Nigel Danson, it's diagonal lines. Before discussing why diagonal lines are so important, it's worth considering what makes a landscape composition good. What are the ingredients of a compelling landscape image? Danson believes that it's primarily two things. The image transports the viewer to a location and evokes a mood in the viewer. A successful image also holds someone's attention. This is where diagonal lines come in, as they're a powerful compositional element for keeping a viewer engaged with an image.

That's not to say that every good landscape photo includes diagonal lines, as that's absolutely not true. However, a diagonal is still a great tool. Diagonal lines create a sense of movement in an image, create depth in a photo, and help lead the viewer through a composition.

There are many ways to incorporate diagonal lines in a composition, but the most obvious example is using diagonals as leading lines. Your eye wants to follow diagonal lines. How do you want to place diagonals in a scene? Unsurprisingly, that depends a bit upon the specific scene in question. However, an interesting thing to try is using diagonals that begin in the corner of the image or just outside the corner.

Playing around with parallel or perpendicular diagonal lines can add a lot to your image. Parallel lines and leading lines can create a sense of depth in a scene, whereas perpendicular or opposing diagonal lines can lend dynamism to a photo. There's a lot to say about opposing diagonal lines within a composition, so be sure to watch the full video above to learn more about this powerful compositional element.

If you liked this video and want to see more from Nigel Danson, check out his YouTube channel. To see more of Danson's photos, head to his website and follow him on Instagram.

(Via Nigel Danson