photography 101 :: lines

I’m learning about lines.

Sounds pretty elementary, but it’s not. At least not for me.

In the book I’m reading, I’m learning to reconsider all that I think of when I see a picture. And instead of thinking of it as a person, or a tree, the author challenges us to think of it only as the two-dimensional lines and tones that represent that person or that tree.

Or that adorable pony.

So my first creative exercise was to go out and look for lines.

And photograph them with the following thoughts in mind:

Where are the lines?
Where do they intersect?
Where do they lead?
Do they lead toward or away from the place in the image I want?
And are they static or dynamic?

And as elementary as lines can be, suddenly they were taking on a whole new meaning.

Horizontal lines represent solid ground. And when placed low in the frame, especially when they are a dark color, they anchor the image.

Horizontal lines placed high in the frame are more looming and can be used to create more of an emotional reaction in the viewer.

Diagonal lines add energy to an image.

The primary diagonal – the line that goes from the top left corner to the bottom right corner – gives the illusion of starting at the top and going down.

The primary diagonal is the most powerful diagonal line, because we read from right to left.

And it leads you into the image.

The secondary diagonal – the line that goes from top right corner to bottom left corner – gives the illusion of starting at the bottom and going up.

And it leads you out of the image.

The vertical line draws the eye up or down. And is especially powerful when used in a vertical frame.

And the S-curve takes you through an image leisurely. It is an invitation to take your time, as if you’ve being led through something.

And that’s it. I mean, that’s not all I’ve learned, but that all I can remember at this exact moment. And that was with the help of the index card I tucked into my pocked when I went outside to take these pictures.

I really did enjoy myself, trying to consider all the lines and their directions, as well as their impact on the image I wanted to create. I guess I’ve just always thought of myself as taking a picture of something as it was, not creating an image of something I want to convey.

I think this is the beginning of what will be a fun journey.

And since my memory is best when I visualize what I’m learning, I’m going to share. Here.

I’ll be posting more of this “photography 101” as I go through this book of mine. And no, I don’t get anything for sharing about this book. It was my idea to post about this book and what I’m learning. Just thought it would be fun.

P.S. Here is a short trailer for the book, if you’re looking for a good photography read.



  1. Oh awesome and thank you so much for the trailer, I hope I can download the book today so I can play along. I love to see how others interpret the same information!

  2. Wow, those are beautiful! Especially love 2, 4, 5. Think I’ll take a look at that book, sounds very interesting!

  3. IS THAT YOUR VIEW EVERYDAY?? I was completely drawn in by your pics…you are becoming such a great photographer. I love learning through you, thank you so much for sharing your lessons.

  4. These are so beautiful – photos, animals and the view!

  5. Ginny H says:

    That was so helpful. THANKS! I think I will re-read this 100 times to see if I can remember.

  6. Charlotte says:

    Waouw ,


    i have the breath shut down

  7. THESE are beautiful Stef. I might need that book. Lovely shots.

  8. You’re doing awesome! Love it!

  9. I’ll definately have to look into this book, I am always trying to improve my photography as well. Love your pictures.

  10. These photos are stunning! Love that you find time to continue to grow and learn even in the midst of everything that pulls for your time. I am taking Lisa’s get out of your comfort zone class now and loving it. Thanks for sharing your journey with others.

  11. Chrissie says:

    Wow – what an impressive setting! That horse is livin’ the good life in that pasture…beautiful!

  12. Girl! These are just Beautiful!!! You have always had a Great “Eye” and are so talented!!! I’m on the look for a new camera. Not a clue what to get,… been doing some research šŸ˜‰ Wish me luck! šŸ˜‰

  13. Amanda says:

    Always fun to learn new things!

  14. Cannot wait to check out the trailer. Your photos are a beautiful teaser. Simply stunning shots!

  15. I can tell you have been totally been bitten by the photography bug:))

    LOVE these beautiful images…… you are doing a fabulous job Stef!

    Lines are one of my favorite things to look for when composing the shot……and you knocked it out of the park with these!

    Happy Clickin’



  16. These are all GREAT shots! What gorgeous scenery–wow.

  17. Wow, great shots, Stefanie! That is one pretty pony, and if that’s the view from your front porch, I’m just a bit jealous. So pretty.

    Gin =)

  18. I feel like I learned so much just from that one post. Thank you so much for sharing that! It makes me see photography in a whole new way!

  19. I think I need that book….and you did awesome with these!!
    I compose naturally, I can ‘see’ what looks right when I’m composing a shot
    but don’t know the official terms of what I’m doing. Composition is one of my favorite
    things about photography.

    Beautiful job on these Stefanie!

  20. Beautiful shots! Thanks for the information on lines. I’ll be paying more attention to them in my photos! :)

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