Composition and good photography go hand in hand. Anyone can (with practice) perfect the technical skills to take a well exposed photo. It’s your flair for composition that will set your photos apart from the crowd.

The difficulty is, while technical photography can be taught using concrete rules and numbers, composition is a little more ‘artsy.’ A lucky few are born with a natural sense of visual style and balance. For the rest of us, it takes plenty of time and experience to develop a talent for composition.

Photo by Krivec Ales on

Luckily there are a few tips and guidelines that can make the whole thing easier. One of these, the Rule of Thirds, I have already mentioned in a couple of previous articles. There is another principle of good composition that can add real impact to your photos; it just doesn’t have a name.

Today I want to write about using straight lines, or some type of lines in a composition to lead the eye of the viewer. This is a simple technique that helps to control the way the viewer sees your photo. You can use lines to lead the eye of the viewer within your composition, and even add impact to a particular part of your photo.

Imagine a photo with a panoramic landscape. You could think like a tourist and just snap the landscape with no thought for creative composition. But as a creative photographer, you have a better idea. You find an outlook that offers the same scene, but with a fence in the foreground.

For your first shot, you photograph the fence running horizontally across the foreground. In this situation, the fence is like a barrier between the viewer and the subject. It does not help the composition; in fact it’s probably an annoying distraction. People are likely to think, “Nice photo. It’s a pity the fence got in the way.

“Snowdonian sunset” captured by Philip Male

Next, imagine the same scene shot from a slightly different angle. Now the fence runs diagonally away from the camera toward the landscape in the distance. This alternate view (if done well) will create a completely different impact. The eye will be caught by the prominent subject in the foreground (the fence), and it will follow the line of the fence posts into the picture.

In this way the two elements of your composition work together to make a stronger picture. The fence is no longer a distraction; in fact, it adds emphasis to the background subject by leading the viewer in that direction.

Photo by Irina Iriser on

The lines should be long (a line of two fenceposts won’t do much for your photo; twenty fenceposts will).There are many situations that can use this simple technique. A bridge, a jetty, a line of telephone wires, even railway tracks. There are all kinds of opportunities to use the lines of everyday objects to enhance a composition.

There are three things to look for when using straight-line objects.

  1. The lines should be long (a line of two fenceposts won’t do much for your photo; twenty fenceposts will).
  2. They should be receding diagonally away from the camera (remember our example).
  3. And it helps if there is a repeated pattern in the lines which diminishes as the object recedes away from the camera. In our example, the fenceposts will appear to get smaller as they progress into the distance. This will create a sense of perspective that makes your two-dimensional photo seem quite three-dimensional.
“Forest lines” captured by Stephen Bowler

Whenever I teach a photography class, there is a simple rule that I try to get across:

Anything that doesn’t make your composition better makes it worse.

A photographer in our hypothetical scenario should be applauded for choosing to use the fence to add interest to the landscape. After all, most good landscape subjects have been photographed a million times before, so the trick is to look for a more interesting angle. But having decided to use it, it is essential that the fence works with the rest of the composition. Otherwise, your picture may be better off without it.

As a creative photographer, always remember that nothing should appear in your photo by accident. All the elements of your photo should not only add interest, but also work cohesively to add impact to the entire composition.

About the Author:
Andrew Goodall writes for and is a nature photographer based in Australia. He manages a gallery in Montville full of landscape photography from throughout Australia

Here are some more examples of photos taken by professional photographers, using leading lines. This way you can view these photos and learn from them, developing your own skill!



This is the day of Halloween in most parts of the world. I had to try to find photos of the most “Halloween-like” photos I could find that would be worthy to be called: PHOTOS OF THE WEEK – FOR HALLOWEEN: 10/31/02019

Nothing can quite intrigue and horrify us in equal parts like a town that was abandoned in its entirety.

Whether you’re looking for a creepy, off-the-beaten-path way to spend a day or a backdrop for a chilling photo series, we’ve rounded up the 13 most photogenic and terrifying ghost towns around the world.

Craco, Italy
This hillside ghost down was founded in the 8th century, and sits on a cliff that’s 1,312 feet off the ground. The city emptied due to various natural disasters. In 1963, many evacuated after a landslide; in 1972 a flood made conditions even more precarious; and in 1980 an earthquake caused the town to be abandoned in its entirety.
A locked gate surrounds the city, so visitors must book a guided tour. Thanks to a miraculously unscathed statue of the Virgin Mary, the town hosts various religious festivals throughout the year. And despite the fact that the area is a ticking time bomb, the city has been used for several films, including “Passion of the Christ.”
Photo by: Stee/ Shutterstock

Kennecott, Alaska
This mill town produced millions of dollars worth of copper between 1911 and 1938, but once the supply was depleted, the remote town had little to offer.
Residents started to leave en masse. By 1950 there wasn’t a soul left in town, and it’s been a ghost town ever since. When it became a National Historic Landmark in 1986, the National Park Service took over most of the land and started offering tours.
Photo by cybercrisi / Shutterstock

Kolmanskop, Namibia
Kolmanskop was at its liveliest in the early 1900s, when German miners came to the area to hunt for diamonds. With them, they brought German architecture, giving the desert area an opulent, out of place look. The town featured a ballroom, a hospital, and a bowling alley among other amenities.
The town’s decline began shortly after World War I, but the final nail in the coffin was the 1928 discovery of a diamond-rich area along the coast. Most of Kolmanskop’s residents hurried to the new hotspot, leaving their belongings and the town behind.
Kolmanskop has been slowly getting eaten by the desert ever since. Tours to Kolmanskop can be booked in the nearby coastal town of Lüderitz.
Photo by Romain Veillon

Hashima Island, Japan
Hashima Island was once known for its undersea coal mines, which began operations in 1881. The island hit peak population in 1959 with over 5,000 residents (mine workers and their families), but once the mines started to run dry in 1974 most people left.
The once thriving island is now completely abandoned, with the exception of the sightseeing tours that drop off boatloads of tourists each day who come to see the abandoned homes, stores, and streets.
Photo by: Sangaku / Shutterstock

Thurmond, West Virginia
Thrumond isn’t technically a ghost town, but the nearly deserted spot is still a sight to behold. Formerly a coal town with a bustling population, it boasted a whopping five residents at the 2010 Census. Once a popular stop on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, its depot is now a museum.
So while there are inhabitants in the town, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s often hard to tell as there is next to nothing to do, see, or even hear.
Photo by: Boyang Wang / Shutterstock

Ross Island, India
Vegetation has all but consumed the remains of the the island, which was once referred to as the “Paris of the East.”
In its prime, the island was home to British government officials, as well as a penal settlement set up after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The British residents made it their home with extravagant dance halls, bakeries, clubs, pools, and gardens, until 1941 brought an earthquake and an invasion by the Japanese. Ross Island was then alternately claimed by the Japanese and British, until 1979 when the island was given to the Indian Navy, which established a small base there.
Today, tour groups visit the island almost every day.
Photo by: Matyas Rehak / shutterstock

Terlingua, Texas
When the Chisos Mining Company opened in the mid 1800s, workers and their families quickly relocated to Terlingua, Texas. The population was around 3,000 at its peak in 1903, but, as of the last Census in 2010, only 58 people remain.
Those who still live there reside in “Terlingua Proper” and make good business off of the frequent tourists who stop by to see the abandoned churches and buildings that still stand, as well as visitors to the surrounding Big Bend parks.
Photo by: Barna Tanko / Shutterstock

Calico, California
Similar to Terlingua, this empty town started with a mining company in 1881. When silver was discovered the town boomed, becoming home to over 500 silver mines and 3,000 residents, but once the mines were depleted and the price of silver dropped people left.
By 1986 the town – which featured hotels, general stores, bars, and restaurants, as well as a newspaper and school – was empty. But Walter Knott (of Knott’s Berry Farm fame) bought the town and restored it, and today it’s a registered Historical Landmark that’s open to the public and even features a museum of the Old West.
Photo by: mariyakraynova / Shutterstock

Pripyat, Ukraine
This city in northern Ukraine is probably the most famous ghost town in the world. It was home to almost 50,000 people before everyone was evacuated in April 1986, when part of a nearby power plant – the Chernobyl Nuclear Station – exploded.
The Chernobyl disaster caused such high levels of radiation that people were forced to evacuate immediately and leave non-essentials behind. It’s those items, which include dolls, gas masks, clothes and furniture, that draw in photographers and thrill-seekers year after year.
The radiation levels have finally dropped enough for scientists to mark the area as safe to visit, meaning that you can explore the creepy town and its many schools, hospitals, stores, gyms, cinemas, factories, and even its amusement park to your heart’s content.
Photo by: Tatyana Vyc / Shutterstock

Garnet, Montana
Garnet is another mining town that has seen better days. The leaning log cabins are all that remain of the early 19th century town that was once home to 1,000.
Garnet is now known as Montana’s best-preserved ghost town, and can be explored for only $3. There are campgrounds nearby for people looking to get an overnight experience.
Photo by: Mishella / shutterstock

Virginia City, Montana, U.S.
This former gold mining town, which was founded in 1863 and once housed 10,000 residents, has been completely preserved as a National Historical Landmark.
Instead of deserted streets and rolling tumbleweeds, tourists who visit will get a taste of what life here was really like, thanks to unchanged store fronts, houses, and buildings teeming with performers who bring the history of the town to life. There’s even an opera house that performs vaudeville theater.
Photo by: Magmarcz / Shutterstock

Animas Forks, Colorado
What was once a bustling mining town on Colorado’s Alpine Loop is now a desolate patch of land scattered with a few decrepit buildings. At its peak, the town had 30 cabins, a hotel, a general store, a saloon, and a post office, but these days only nine rickety cabins and a small jail remain.
Photo by: Robert Bohrer / Shutterstock

Rhyolite, Nevada
Some claim that this town once housed thousands of people, but you wouldn’t know by the looks of it today. This old mining town was a hotspot for miners and their families in the beginning of the 1900’s, but by the 1920s the population was close to zero. However, Charles Schwab invested a lot of money into the town in the hopes of finding gold, meaning that it boasted a school, a hospital, stores, hotels, and even a stock exchange and a symphony.
Briefly a set for old Western movies, today the ghost town features an outdoor sculpture park and tons of outsider art.
Photo by: Paolo Galo / Shutterstock

Now you know what is really scary about this whole presentation? There is exactly 13 photos of these scary towns !

A special thanks to Amy Daire for putting this together on And thanks to her sponsor for sponsoring this article:



And other great Holiday photos too !

Ahh, here it is, Halloween.  An interesting holiday if you live here in Northern America.  If you do not, it is probably a hard holiday to understand.  But, now it has become one of North Americas 2nd most popular holiday next only to Christmas.  Only Christmas has more money spent per household than this Halloween holiday.  And it seems to get bigger and bigger every year.  Parties, and even grown-ups are becoming more involved in this holiday than ever before.  And as you can imagine, more opportunities to take pictures.  

Years ago when I took a photography class from the New York Institute of Photography, they spent some time specifically on this subject, or this type of subject in general.  There are 3 things that make picture taking work right for this type of holiday, or 3 questions you have to ask yourself:

1- What is the subject of the photograph?

2- How can I focus attention on that subject?

3- How can I simplify the subject?


What is the subject of this photo?  Is it the girl?  No, it is the teeth!  Aren’t you focused on those teeth?  Yes?  Is it a simple picture, and no distractions in the background?  Yes?  So, all three of those questions are clearly met.  

The three Guidelines are only part of the story on how to get great Halloween photos.  The Second key, really, is to get into the “spirit” of Halloween.  Halloween is about fantasy, fear, the supernatural, the eerie.  The best thing you can do to make your Halloween photos even more dramatic is to use good, dramatic lighting.  Since this seems to be a nigh-time event, and the ghouls are out for this holiday, it often means the lighting just has to be eerie, itself.  Takes some great practice to get just the best effect, too.

Now, because we are talking about taking pictures at nightime, in the dark, do you forsee any problems?   Ohhh, having worked at a camera store before, and seeing the pictures come in and so many disappointed people with their Halloween pictures, let me warn you now, the number one problem?  Flash pictures will just take the effect away.  So, shooting in the dark without flash is the best, but, it is hard when your camera is screaming at you that you need the flash.  For sure, it’s even harder when your little boy is dressed in black and it is pitch black outside.  So, figure some light that you can use to highlight the subject to give it some definition so you can still see what is going on with your subject:

See how in this photo there is just enough lighting to highlight the subjects and tell the story, yet, keep it very interesting.  

But, of course, more than any other photo that is taken at Halloween is just all the cute kids that are dressed up in their costumes, ready to go “trick or treating” to all their neighbor’s homes.  You have to get some photos of the kids.  I am just going to include a few ideas of some of the great photos of some of these type of photos.  Using what we have learned above, see if these follow those rules:

So, the idea with Halloween, is learn to be creative, have a lot of fun, but, you do have to take some great photos. 

Here are some other great Halloween photos, just to give you some ideas:

Decorations are sometimes great photo opportunities

Get photos of the great makeup on your family and friends

Who has the scariest place in your neighborhood?

Are you sure you want to go to that house?

Family photos are the best.

just for kicks