Do you want to capture amazing macro compositions?
One of the best ways to take your macro photography compositions to the next level…
…is to use lines in your photos.
Because lines move the viewer’s eyes around the frame. And lines give viewers something to engage with.
But how do you use lines in your macro photos? How do you make sure that lines turn into beautiful images?
In this article, you’ll learn five tips for using lines in your macro photography. You’ll come away with the ability to create gorgeous compositions–using just lines!
Let’s dive right in.
1. Use Leading Lines to Emphasize Your Macro Subject
Leading lines are one of the most popular composition tools–and for good reason.
Because leading lines bring the viewer up through the frame, straight to the main subject.
Leading lines tend to begin at the bottom of the frame. They catch the viewer’s attention. And they point directly to the main subject of the photo, so that the viewer is drawn up into your photo.
Now, leading lines are most commonly used in landscape photography.
(For instance, you’ve probably seen photos with rivers stretching off into the distance.)
But you can use leading lines in macro photography, too! You just have to be creative.
My favorite leading lines are the stems of flowers.
They’re clear, they’re uniform, and they’re straight.
I advise positioning them so they come from the bottom of the frame–and so that they bring you straight to the main subject of the photo (i.e., the flower!).
I also suggest including as much of your leading line as possible. If you include more of a leading line, it makes the photo more engaging.
And more engaging photos are always better!
2. Use Diagonal Lines to Create a Dynamic Photo
Now you know about leading lines. And you know that they tend to come from the bottom of the frame–and move up toward your subject.
But there’s another type of leading line:
The diagonal line.
And the diagonal line is very useful. Because it creates especially dynamic photos. That is, it creates photos that have a lot of movement.
I’m talking about macro photos like this:
Do you see how the diagonal line stretches across the frame? It draws the viewer through the photo.
And diagonal lines are especially powerful because they take up a lot of space.
Again, flower stems are great for this. You can use them to create engaging images.
But don’t limit yourself to flowers. You can also use diagonal lines from leaves, or even on beaches, like this:
So whenever you see a line, think about diagonals. See whether you can capture a stunning photo!
3. Use Just One Straight Line to Create Simplicity
Here’s another tip for stunning photos with lines:
If you want to create a more impactful, powerful macro photo…
…just use one line.
One single line.
This will give your macro photos a sense of simplicity. And it will draw attention to the main subject of your photo.
That single line will draw the eye–because it’ll be so unique. It’ll be alone in the frame.
And it’ll make sure that the viewer looks straight to your focal point.
The line can be short (leaving a lot of empty space at the top), like this:
Or the line can be longer, and cross the entire photo:
Both methods work just fine!
Now, it is possible to include more than one line. But a single line is a great starting point–and it will give you a more minimalistic macro photo.
One thing to note:
If you want to create that sense of simplicity, make sure the line is straight. Curved lines add a bit more drama to compositions. And while drama can be good, it’s not always what you’re hoping to get.
4. Place the Lines Along the Rule of Thirds Grid for a Gorgeous Composition
The rule of thirds is a fundamental principle of composition.
It states that the most pleasing photos have the main elements one-third of the way into the frame.
In other words, for a pleasing composition, you should place the main elements of your photo along this grid:
Ideally, you place your main subject at one of the points of intersection (known as power points). And this is often as far as photographers go.
But if you include lines?
Put them along the rule of thirds gridlines, too!
You can put them along the right or left vertical gridlines. And you’ll come away with a stunning composition.
Note that this contrasts with my earlier tip to use diagonals.
But here’s the thing:
These are both great techniques. So feel free to use both these tricks! And you’ll capture some especially stunning photos.
If you like, you can try them both.
First take a macro photo using a diagonal.
And then capture a macro photo of the same subject, using a rule of thirds gridline!
5. Avoid the Corners of the Frame for Stunning Photos
Whenever you use lines in your macro photography…
…don’t let the lines touch the corner of the photos.
The lines can go near the corners, like this:
And the lines can touch the edges of the frame, like this:
But avoid the corners of the frame. If you let the lines cross the corners, it creates a sense of tension–and this rarely works in macro photography.
Use the edges of the frame.
Not the corners.
This will ensure you capture more pleasing macro compositions!
6. Don’t Let Anything Break Your Lines
One final macro photography composition tip:
When you position lines in your photo…
…make sure nothing crosses them.
You don’t want any stray photo elements covering up part of the lines.
And you don’t want any additional lines intersecting with your original lines!
Why is this so important?
Remember: Lines lead the viewer through the frame, straight toward the main subject.
But if your line is broken…
Well. Then it won’t lead the viewer to the subject. Instead, it’ll send the viewer off in the wrong direction.
Which is exactly what you don’t want.
Lines in Macro Photography: Next Steps
Lines are a wonderful composition technique for macro photography.
You can often find them in nature.
And they’re easy to include in your photos!
So, if you want stunning macro photos…
…whenever you see lines, use them!
Oh, and one more thing:
If you want to keep getting better at macro photography, you should definitely sign up for my newsletter. I’ll give you lots of tips, tricks, and techniques for capturing stunning macro photos–and your skills will improve in leaps and bounds!
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