Bella Vida by Letty

Elements of Photography ~ Lines

Line: A real or imaginary mark positioned in relation to fixed points of reference.
“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

We took advantage of the long weekend and headed to Legoland Florida.  Legoland is a great place for families with children under 13 because all of the rides are built with them in mind. They will be able to get on most rides and have plenty to do from park opening until park closing.

The park was built on the site previously known as Cypress Gardens. I was elated to find the gardens fully maintained and well preserved.  What a great place for photographers. I have quite a few gorgeous captures from the gardens. I love taking photos among nature.  I loose myself and become one with the landscape while trying to capture its point of view.  All of the photos in this post were taken there by me over the weekend.

What makes a great photo?

Today I’m thinking about what makes a great photo.  First and foremost a great photo tells a story.  To tell a great story you must select a subject. Think about what you want to say about the subject.  Then you must figure out how to convey this message/story through images.

Learning the elements of photography will help you become a better story teller.  It’s not about memorizing or strictly adhering to any rules simply reading about and revisiting will help you decide when you are out and about with your camera.  There are several elements.  This post focuses on lines.

Cypress Gardens 11/11/11

Lines can lead you away, move you forward in an image and have an emotional effect. The main line in an image leads the viewer through the picture space.

Two types of lines:  implied and inherent create subconscious interest from the viewer.

Implied or suggested lines are imaginary not necessarily physically apparent; created by our minds through the perceptions we hold in our consciousnesses.

Inherent lines physically exist.

Cypress Gardens 11/11/11

These photos have two lines. A horizontal line comprised of tree branches and foliage where the subject sits and a vertical branch sticking straight up to the sky immediately grabs your attention.

Lines in photography can run horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or be curved.

  • Vertical lines are uplifting, strong and powerful.
  • Diagonal lines imply motion, action or change.
  • Curved lines are slow and meandering and may appear melancholy or hopeful, depending on the direction of the curve. The can also be sensual.
  • Horizontal lines are steady and calm. They imply tranquility or stability.
Banyan Tree Cypress Gardens 11/11/11

Layers of multiple horizontal lines in an image can create drama and rhythm.

Lines can be used to direct the viewer’s interest, emphasize parts of the frame, and generally create interesting effects.

Curved lines suggest sensuality, elegance and a serene sense of balance.


“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” Lao Tzu
“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” Ansel Adams
“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Mark Twain



Synonyms: band, bar, borderline, boundary, channel, configuration, contour, crease, dash, delineation, demarcation, edge, figuration, figure, frontier, furrow, groove, limit, lineament, lineation, outline, profile, rule, score, scratch, silhouette, streak, stripe, tracing, underline, wrinkle

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