Lead Room: How To Use Them In Your Photos

By Amy

Jan 18

Give Your Subject some space! 

Building off of last week’s blog post on negative space, we are going to talk about lead room today.

Lead room in photography is where you have a still or moving object placed in the frame and the placement making it appear as though it’s going to be moving to or from the open space.

For example, if your object appears to be moving from left to right, you’re going to have a lot of space to the right of the object to appear as though that object will move to that space.

This is a great way to also use negative space so you can have an area to put wording for your blog image or Facebook ad or whatever the image is going to be used for.

lead room photo basics

Lead Room For Your Blog Photo


I personally can’t think of a time where I used this technique as a blog image (before the image for this post), but for my niche it really has not come up.

Maybe your niche is a family blogger or a mommy blogger, and your kids are on the go.

This would be a great feature to use because if you snap a picture of your child running towards something, for example his favorite toy or his favorite outdoor play thing, you will have this motion as they go through it.

It would be a great way to give the impression that the kid is moving towards this item by having open space in front of him as though he is moving, while keeping him in focus.

Provided the area he is moving towards is not cluttered with items and distracting backgrounds, you can use this space to add your fonts and create a killer image for your blog.

Where They've Been​

Conversely, if you have a lot of room behind the person, this will give the sense that they’re leaving or walking away from something.

This is to give the viewer a sense that they have come from somewhere.

Like before, this type of photo can use only the extra space to convey motion or you can use the slower shutter speed to capture blur of motion.

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lead room photo basics

Use Motion Blur for Movement


So to take this a step further, you can actually show motion too.

How do you do this?

You’ll set your shutter to a slow shutter speed, meaning it will stay open for a fairly long amount of time relatively speaking.

The actual length of time would depend on how quickly that subject is moving, so it varies based on the actual situation.

But by opening up the shutter so it’s open for a longer period of time, the item or the subject that is moving and will get blurred out and will not only give the illusion of movement, but will without a doubt show movement.

You will then convey that feeling of motion much more strongly.

Just be careful!

When you’re taking a photo of the motion blur, you still need to keep your overall composition in mind. You don’t want them too close to the edge or it will feel too uncomfortable for the viewer.

Is he coming or going? Find out how to use lead room to convey motion? http://wp.me/p7IY3K-hC

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A great reminder and tip to use here to follow the rule of thirds and put them on the left or the right vertical line so that it’s still a good composition and yet you can convey that motion whether its them coming or going.

Avoid The Shakes While Getting the Blur​

If you're experimenting with getting the motion blur, try using a tripod.

This will allow you to get your background in focus while allowing the object moving to blur.

You don’t want the background and the subject blurry, or the viewer may just think you can’t hold your camera still and miss the idea of motion all together.

So let me see what you come up with. Post it here when you’re finished or join the Facebook group (the link is below) so you can share your picture with me and the group.

Happy Snapping!

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About the Author

Amy is the owner extraordinaire at Learn Blog Photography and Amy Paris Photography. She's a single mom to an amazing teenage son. She's passionate about photography and skiing (downhill), the faster the better! Sign up for a FREE 30-min call to light up your photos & biz! bit.ly/2udzBXB