Leading Lines with Abe Froman the Frenchie

There is a long list of rules in photography. It’s one of the reasons I love it – the clarity of having a right answer derived from the equation of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed makes my analytical tendencies very happy. Of course, just having the right exposure doesn’t guarantee engaging photographic work, so many other pieces come into play: lighting, emotion, expression of the subject, and composition. Which segues us right into today’s topic – Leading Lines. Leading lines are a compositional element that when used correctly will hopefully lead the viewers eyes exactly where you want them to go. In dog photography, that’s usually drawing the eye right to the canine star of your image.

Leading lines in photography say "look here" and make the subject clear.
The leading line is simple - we simply follow the line of the wall right to the Frenchie.

Leading Lines – Making a B Line to the Subject

At their simplest, a leading line is like an arrow directing your focus to the subject. When photographing Abe Froman the French Bulldog the other week in Rutledge, GA’s tiny historic downtown I looked for ways to draw the viewer in. Here in front of the little church is a short stone wall which has a few details I love. First, the leading line is simple – we simply follow the line of the wall right to Abe walking along the top of the wall. The leading line of the wall is obvious, super simple, and just a straight line saying “look here”.

When photographing Abe Froman the French Bulldog the other week in Rutledge, GA’s tiny historic downtown I looked for ways to draw the viewer in.

Leading Lines – Bring You Through the Image

Sometimes, the purpose of any image isn’t just the subject, it’s about the subject in a certain place and so you want your viewer’s eyes to travel through the image noticing different things. As we moved through downtown Rutledge, I wanted to use the bright murals on the brick wall to create a portrait of Abe that also gave a sense of place. Here the quaint brick sidewalk becomes curved leading lines that lead you up from the bottom of the image. From there you reach Abe who’s silly expression and slight head tilt make you smile. Clearly, he’s the focus of the image as a shallow depth of field forces everything behind him into soft blurry focus, but those curved leading lines continue to bring your eyes to that soft supporting background. Abe’s pricked ears stand out in sharp focus against the bright background, which you can make out the painted horse and American flag despite the soft focus.

Leading Lines –

Using Natural Elements

As we wrapped up Abe’s session we walked over to Rutledge’s town square where the pride of Rutledge’s Garden Club sits at the corner of FairPlay & Main Street – a riotous blooming of lantana. Whenever the dog is comfortable, I like to end their session with one of my favorite photographs – the puppy dog eyes. I love this pose because it’s one we as pet parents are very familiar with – our dog’s sitting at our feet looking directly into our souls with their big brown chocolate drop eyes begging for that tasty treat held between our fingers. In these final images from our photo shoot downtown I’m using the soft organic curves of the flowers contrasted with the brick sidewalk to bring your eyes right to Abe’s hopeful smiling open mouth hoping for a treat. Of course, I gave him the the treat – what kind of monster could resist that face?

In this image the I'm using the soft organic leading lines of the flowers contrasted with the brick sidewalk to bring your eyes right to the French Bulldog's face.
Whenever the dog is comfortable, I like to end their session with one of my favorite photographs - the puppy dog eyes.
URBAN LEADING LINES

Leading lines, expecially in urban images, can really help draw your attention to the subject in a busy background. 

This blog is a part of a blog circle with pet photographers from across the globe! This week we’re talking about how we can help set dogs up for success. You don’t have to worry if your dog is well behaved or not – professional dog photographers can still get great images of your pup!

Next up Dallas dog photographer Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography explains the compositional technique of leading lines and shows how she utilizes them in her pet portraits.

Be sure to keep clicking the link at the bottom to complete the circle until you wind up back here!

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3 Comments

  1. Terri

    There are so many opportunities for leading lines in an uRban arEa. Great photos.

    Reply
  2. Elaine

    I love love love the mural image, and that this dog is named “Abe.” Great examples of leading lines.

    Reply
  3. Darlene

    I’m in love with little Abe! What a cutie! Great post on leading lines and love the stone wall for pictures! These are beautiful!

    Reply

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