Week 18 - Create a vanishing point

In Angela Pan’s spectacular photo of the Vietnam Wall, all lines lead to the Washington Monument, creating a photo composition technique called vanishing point.

When you create a vanishing point, all the parallel lines appear to converge in the distance. It’s a great way to show depth - a 2D image now begins to have a 3D look and feel.

This should be a simple one to create once you are aware of the effect. You are looking for multiple lines to lead the eye to the same point. In some cases, that might be infinity.

Once you’ve chosen the vanishing point, where should you place your subject? In this photo, we are led to the Washington Monument, but there are times when you can place your subject opposite the leading lines. 

Imagine someone was standing in the left of this photo, right near the camera. That person would clearly be the subject, but the vanishing point would still continue behind in the distance. Nothing wrong with that.

There are even times when the vanishing point happens outside the frame. We see the lines begin to converge, and it is implied they meet outside the borders of the image. Nothing wrong with that either. You get to decide. You are the artist.

Just in case you still have trouble visualizing the concept, I created a Flickr gallery with more examples. 


The Challenge

Create a photo where your leading lines converge at a vanishing point. You can place the subject at the vanishing point or opposite. You can even make the vanishing point outside the frame.


Share your images with us

Once you have a great photo, post it in the comments here or tag it #composition21 when you post it on Twitter or Flickr. Note: Just post the link to your photo, and the system will generate your preview icon.


Join the Composition Challenge

Sign up to join the 21-Week Composition Challenge. Every week, I'll deliver a photo challenge by email for you to shoot and share. Learn more about it or sign up below.

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Note: Angela B. Pan creates stunning HDR photography, which she showcases at www.abpan.com. She discussed how she creates her HDR images on our April 10, 2012 Free Photo Webinar.