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  • Drone photography compositions: Leading Lines

    In this series of drone photography tutorials I’d like to talk about compositions. It’s an important element in any type of photography but which is often overlooked when shooting from above. When flying the drone it’s very exciting to experience the new point of view and see the world from a different perspective but an image with a good composition can be much more interesting and powerful than one without it.

    One of the basic and most important compositional techniques is the use of leading lines. In aerial photography this is even more important because most of the subjects when viewed from above, can look very flat. The leading lines not only point to the subject but also give a sense of three dimensionality drawing the viewer into the scene.

    Here are some of the photos that use leading lines to enhance the composition:

    In this photo the subject is the church and the castle of Aarburg in Switzerland. The bridge coming from the left bottom corner works as a leading line.
    On this sunrise photo of Zurich the leading lines are created by the two sides of the river. They both take the viewer’s attention from the bottom corners into the middle of the image.
    Drone view of canola fields.

    Here, the very obvious leading line is the road in the middle of the frame. Roads or rivers are great for showing the depth of the scene.

    Drone view of Landwasser Viaduct, Switzerland

    The last image is probably my favourite. The strong leading line is formed by the railway and the contrasty red train. The subject is in the distance, the famous Landwasser Viaduct which is receiving some warm light from the sun that popped out from behind the clouds for a brief moment.

    The less obvious leading lines on this photo are formed by the edges of the mountains that form a V shape pointing to the subject from above.

    Overall there are many possible ways to find or create leading lines that will interact with the subjects in a meaningful way. Some are static like rivers, roads, constructions and some are dynamic and can appear and disappear at any time. These can be formed from clouds, waves, patterns on sand or snow, etc. It’s always an interesting and challenging exercise to look for leading lines in a composition and it’s always a great addition to the final image.