Dynamic Diagonals

This is all about diagonals which I have been studying in the exercise
of  Dynamic Diagonals as explained by Kat Sloma 
"Come Exploring with a Camera".

The delicate silhouette sign with star hanging against a blue sky is a "secondary" diagonal 
 which goes from bottom left to top right. 
It is perceived as "uphill".
Although this diagonal does not completely fill the frame,
if I drew a line with a ruler, it would cross the lower left-hand corner
to the upper right-hand corner.

"The Basics of Diagonals:
Diagonal lines are effective because the viewer's eye will follow them through the phtotograph.
How the eye moves through the photograph is based on how we read,
 which in Western cultures is from left to right."

This scene has both a secondary diagonal with the slope of the street from left to right
and also primary diagonals which we see in the slope of the roofs


Although the diagonals here are discreet, they are my favourite ones:
the primary diagonal from left to right which we see in the shadow on the wall
 of the glass door in-between the two columns on the left.
Then the climbing wisteria on either side of the door creates a twisting
zig-zag up the main trunk.
The bars on the upper part of the door are both parallel and and zig-zag diagnonal lines.

Here is a lovely stone-carved spiral staircase which is a "downhill" diagonal
and on the far left is a plain staircase also going from upper left to lower right.

A clear-cut example of a primary diagonal

Uphill and downhill lines, crossing in the middle in a graceful movement.

A "primary diagonal" filling the frame.

This is my little helper - pointing out diagonals everywhere to me and I'm hoping that this one
is what is known as a converging diagonal created by the handheld stick with its reflection
in the puddle and creating two diagonals in line with the legs.

"There are often multiple diagonal lines in a photograph.
You can have parallel or non-parallel diagonals, along with converging and zig-zag lines.
According to Michael Freeman,
'A variety of diagonals gives the greatest energy to an image.' "


  1. Great post on diagonals, Sandra! Your examples are wonderful -- I don't know which I like best. Having a special fondness for spiral staircases, I am really drawn to your two staircases in the church, and love your first image with the beautiful silhouette (with spirals). The tree limb with the delicate white blossoms has a powerful diagonal line, and the composition of this shot is just perfection. Clever shot of your helper with the reflection carrying out a contrasting diagonal. Well done, mi amiga!

  2. Very nice pictures with good compositions Sandra,
    i like your style of photography.

    The last one has a lovely reflection.

    Wish you a nice evening.

    Greetings, Joop

  3. yes, I like your converging diagonal in that bottom shot, And love the swirly diagonal in the first

  4. Sandra,
    I really am enjoying your images, and all these examples of diagonal lines! I also like that last one with your Helper. I noticed there is yet another diagonal in that image, created by the grass along the edge of the road in the background. Great set!

    1. You're right about the diagonal created by the grass along the edge of the road! Well observed!

  5. These are fantastic Sandra!
    I especially love the "Primary Diagonal Filling the Frame."
    It is just beautiful!

  6. What a fascinating and very interesting post. I love all of your pictures but I think my favourite is the one with the door and climbing wisteria. You obviously enjoy 'exploring with your camera'. :))

  7. Interesting diagonal images! I like that you tilted your camera in some of these, to create even stronger diagonals. Thanks for joining in with Exploring with a Camera!

  8. An interesting post, Sandra. Your shot of the flowers against the branch took my breath away.

  9. All lovely images - love the last one of the boy and the puddle!

  10. love, love, love your discussion of diagonals here! i'm drawn to photos that include them, and like shooting them too. your examples here are beautiful. :)

    1. Many of the words were quoted from Kat's excellent tutorial and examples on "Dynamic Diagonals" on her website under "Come Exploring with a Camera" Thank you for your friendly comments! on Dynamic Diagonals

  11. Hi Sandra, this is a very interesting and informative post/lesson. I enjoyed reading about it all, as well as looking at your photos. I agree with Connie, that the tree blossom photo is breathtaking. I do particularly love angles in photos, as we learned in our Journey to Recognition with Kat. You really captured the deep meaning of her challenge and excelled in this post! :)

  12. Great photos with diagonals. Where exactly where they taken?

  13. Thank you for your comments. The pictures were taken in Lausanne Cathedral.

  14. What an interesting post! Diagonals are really very powerful, aren't they?

    It is an excellent set of examples. Many thanks for explaining it. Next I I am out with the camera, I will be looking for diagonals.

  15. These are really great example of diagonal lines! I love the spiral staircase!

  16. Great set of images, I love all your church interior shots, beautiful stonework and diagonals. Love the shadow diagonal too.