Leading Lines, Depth of Field, and Rule of Thirds in Photography

Welcome to my blog and this week I analyzed some of the elements of photography and how they can make a photo more appealing to the eye. Leading Lines, Depth of Field and the Rule of Thirds are just some of the common rules that photographers can use when photographing landscapes, people, animals or whatever it may be… I shouldn’t call them rules because I don’t believe that photography is set by certain rules, but they act more as guidelines that you can follow if you’d like. That’s what creates unique and beautiful pictures from photographers all over the world!

Below are some professionally taken photos. I love National Geographic so the images with the headings “National Geographic Professional Photo” are from the National Geographic’s website and the images under the headings “Personal Photo” are my own personal pictures that I’ve taken with my Canon DSLR. I’ve included an original image and then a draw over that stands as an example of one of the elements of photography.

Leading Lines

National Geographic Professional Photo

National Geographic Photo


Here is a beautiful picture showing how powerful leading lines can be in an image. My eyes instantly follow the imaginary lines to the very center of the photo where those lines lead. As I follow those lines my eye also scan the the whole image as to get as many details out of it as possible. The lines act as a nice guidance as it leads my eyes to the end of the photo.

My draw over shows those leading lines I just mentioned above. I see more leading lines in the image but I feel like the ones I marked in red were the most dominant and free to the eye.

Personal Photo


I love to travel and with traveling comes resort, hotel and guest rooms. Here I just snapped a picture of the hall way in one of the hotels I stayed at. It’s a scene then I’ve seen to many times. There are also leading lines in this picture that I thought would be fun to draw out.

This is my draw over of the leading lines that I see in my hotel hall picture. My picture is no where near as interesting and mysterious as National Geographic’s picture but the element of photography just the same. The lines lead the eyes down the hall way until it reaches the white curtain windows.

Rule of Thirds

National Geographic Professional Photo

National Geographic Photo


This next image shows the Rule of Thirds which, as a very amateur photographer, I wasn’t aware of. I was usually just centering all the objects that I was trying to highlight. Because who doesn’t want to be the center of attention right? The image above is beautiful and I’d like to think that the horse is the centered of attention but it is sharing the spotlight with the mountain in the background.

I drew the grid on this image to show the Rule of Thirds and how to use them. When a photographer uses the Rule of Thirds, the object is to align your subjects up with the intersecting lines. This gives the image more interest and I like it opens up the photo allow other subjects to be in view as well.

Personal Photo


I took this picture in the apple orchards that are on the campus grounds. I used the Rule of Thirds to bring attention to the flower and the bee.

Here, the grid is drawn over the image to show the that I lined up the bee with the intersecting lines. The larger flower below the bee is also in the intersecting lines which follows the Rule of Thirds. I really liked how this picture turned out. I successfully learned that my images can still turn out great even when they aren’t centered.

Depth of Field

National Geographic Professional Photo


I love the Northern Lights and one day I will get to see them! But until then, this beautiful picture will have to work. There is great Depth of Field here with the mountains and the green light acts as a leading line that leads to those mountains in the background.

Here I have drawn a box around the depth of field area of the picture. The images get smaller and almost start to sink in behind the foreground which creates such a wonderful landscape.

Personal Photo


My husband and I had to visit the Korean Consulate in Seattle Washington and while we were there I captured this picture of the Seattle Great Wheel. But what I want to point out is the Dept of Field as the image fades in the background and lays out a nice scenic picture. I love the colors and the distant mountains.

The Seattle Great Wheel looks a lot bigger than the mountains in the background but in actual we all know that the mountains a bigger. The span of the pictures goes way back and creates a nice depth. I highlighted those mountains in the background with the red box.


In summary, all the pictures above would still be beautiful pictures even if the elements weren’t used by the photographers. But when applied it really gives that extra wow and beauty to the picture. I love photography because of the flexibility and how simple, and even complex, it can be. I know that having these tools in my toolbox will make me a better photographer.

URL for National Geographic Photos

PHOTO BY HIROKI KONDOhttp://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/2017/03/snow-bamboo-forest/

PHOTO BY PETER IZZARDhttp://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/2017/03/horse-iceland/

PHOTO BY DAG DAHLBERGhttp://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/2017/05/northern-lights-lofoten-islands/





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