Photo by Lanny Cottrell

Taking photos of an empty road seems to me to be an easy one. The tough part in getting an open road, is to make sure there is no traffic on it. And that is why I tend to look for old dirt roads, or trail roads that have been created by truck enthusiast. But, this falls in to one of the big rules of composition: Leading lines. Knowing that leading lines is a great rule of composition and then to get that with empty roads, is a winning combination.

road heading towards mountain
Photo by Nextvoyage on

There is always one big choice you need to make in taking photos of empty roads, and that is to have the road go right down the middle of the photo, or have it curve or be off-center in your photo. In reality, I first look to see if I can get a good photo by having it either curve or be off-center, and if I can’t do that, then I will go stand in the middle of the road.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I really like this photo and how the road comes from the right hand of the picture and leads to the center of the photo. I would recommend that if you can do this, choose this option first, and see if you can do that.

Photo by Lanny Cottrell

The photo above is a little different because I chose to have the road come from the center of the picture to the left hand side of the photo. It tends to draw your attention to the side that has the beautiful fall colors in the picture.

Night photo by Lanny Cottrell photography

The photo above, taken at night time, was an easy choice, because the street light is right in the middle of the photo, and the road leads our eyes to that central point. Also, the other thing to make sure you do is to use a small aperture, if you can control that. That way you will have a focus field that is much larger, and more of your photos will be in focus.

Road partially taken over by snow, photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography

Winter is always fun to get road pictures, You will get the road going where your eyes should go, plus, there could be tire tracks to help with those leading lines.


When taking photos of an empty road, first see if you can make it look good by not having it go right down the center, but, if you must do it right down the center, this is one rule you can break in composition. This will still work down the center.

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