russell burden

A surefire way to attract a viewer to your images is to emphasize shape, line, patterns and/or textures. When combined with strong side light, very powerful yet simple images can be created. Look for contrasts between light and dark areas created by side light. Study the scene to see how curves play off each other or how they’re offset by straight or diagonal lines. In addition, note how different colors mold or blend together to create patterns.

In talking composition, lines play a strong role. Diagonal lines imply action and movement. Given their flow from one side of an image to another, they move the eye across the frame rather quickly. Zigzag lines accomplish the same. Curved lines also have this effect, but the speed is slowed down due to a curve’s implied serenity. Horizontal lines symbolize peace, restfulness and tranquility. When you lay down to sleep, it’s in a horizontal position. Vertical lines evoke power and strength. Think about standing at attention or how an animal stands erect to ward off predators.

Use lines strategically to create a more successful photograph. Incorporate them into your images to lead the viewer’s eye to the main subject. Start by placing the base of the line at the bottom of the photo. In a pleasing arrangement, have it flow directly to the center of interest. Depending on your main subject, use horizontals, diagonals or verticals to harmonize with it. Don’t overlook having interesting line patterns be photos unto themselves.



    I love Russ Burden’s work, especially his landscapes. He has a terrific eye, and he is a brilliant teacher as well. His tips are always helpful and easy to understand.

    More great tips from Russ, a bottomless pit of accessible info.

    The psychological association for different lines is going to be another useful bit of info that I’ll add to my index card collection. It will be fun to create a project of composing a “mood” based on direction of lines in the image.

    Also, shines another light on the use of strong contrast. Gotta love it!

Leave a Reply

Main Menu