Visual Design – Lines

In my last post I talked about the PSNZ judging seminar that I attended. I have since been asked to give a presentation to the club on some of what we learnt and I thought this would also make a series of blog posts. In particular I thought I would work through the elements of visual design. There are plenty of texts which cover this and I have read several including Michael Freeman’s “The Photographers Eye”, “Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography” by Brenda Tharp and “Photographically Speaking” by David duChemin, all of which I would thoroughly recommend. 

The elements I am going to look at are:

  • Lines
  • Shapes – triangles, squares, circles
  • Textures
  • Perspective
  • Light

In reality light is probably the most important of all these but perhaps the hardest to explain – you really need to see the light!

For today I can going to look at lines, lines can be calm and peaceful or strong and powerful depending on their type and direction.

Horizontal Lines

Horizontal lines imply stability, and calm. The most obvious example would be the horizon, present in so many landscape images.



Sunset Beach

Calm horizontals, changes in hue or saturation can create lines.

Vertical Lines

Vertical lines are more dynamic, and possess more energy. Someone standing feels more energetic than someone lying down. True vertical lines are not that common in nature but trees, flowers, waterfalls and cliffs are examples or vertical (or near vertical) lines. Vertical lines can lead you into (or through) an image.


Verticals can lead you through an image.

That’s all for this week, I still need to finish my presentation, I’ll look at oblique and curved lines next time.





One thought on “Visual Design – Lines

  1. Pingback: Kairaki Beach « Learning to snap

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