Instagram and The Vanishing Point

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A rather insightful article on the Mastering Photography website highlighted the impact of images with converging lines in photography. The article by Richard Gray was principally covering what makes people ‘like’ Instagram images and one of the things that stood out was that images depicting converging lines were amongst the most popular.

As a trainee draughtsman I was taught the importance of the vanishing point and perspective style drafting of buildings, how to calculate vanishing point and use it in the days before CADCAM. The article struck a chord with me and I began taking a fresh look at some of my more popular images.

Indeed, the theme runs true, not just in my personal iPhone images, but in commissioned work and stock library images that have proved popular. There was no doubt, our eyes like the effect of converging lines, for whatever reason. Here’s a few examples.

In some converging lines are the principal element of the shot, in others it’s not the main subject, but an element of the shot that adds interest.

Digital Photography School has written an article with some useful tips on photographing converging lines

Blurred English country road against green countryside and fields.
This one is pretty obvious. Rigged on the front of a car, this drivers PoV shot is a typical converging lines image that is popular. It’s even been sold as a print.

The James Bond Hiller, an Aston and a vanishing point

This shot was pre planned with Rob, the helicopter pilot. Access to airfield runways doesn’t happen every day, but these converging lines are Sherburn in Yorkshire’s main runway when breifly closed to traffic. Read the full feature over at Historic Racer

Tracking shots and converging lines

Tracking shots nearly always have converging lines, it’s just that viewers don’t immediately see them, as you’re looking at the car. However, my most popular tracking shots are indeed the ones that show the road leading into the distance

Back on the Elvington runway

This one is obvious. Another runway, this time the vast expanse of Elvington’s 10,000 feet strip, the threshold in the foreground.

Jaguar XK-R against the vanishing point of the runway

And here’s another Elvington runway location. This time showing the brilliant Jaguar XKR-S featured in Historic Racer recently.

Seaside piers are an obvious choice. It’s pretty much impossible to photograph a pier without showing this aspect.

These two were shot using the iPhone and a fisheye lens adapter. A few years old now, you can see that iPhone lens technology has moved along since then.

Converging lines and barrelling too…

So something that I did because my eye subconsciously told me it looked right turns out to have a common design element running through it. Personally, I blame my draughtsman tutors, it’s all their fault…

Next time you’re out shooting or you see a shot you’re going to grab with your iPhone, take a moment to stop and examine the composition. Chances are, if it’s a spontaneous shot, there’s be a vanishing point in it somewhere.

Author: Neill Watson

Neill Watson is a professional writer, photographer and driver coach. He is the founder and editor of Historic Racer and the popular Car Photographer blog. Learn more about him and connect with him on the social media channel of your choice using the symbols below or sign up for Neill's regular email newsletter.

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