As drawing imaginary lines to form a grid for the compositional technique known a rule of thirds, lines used as design elements to direct a viewer’s attention are commonly referred to as leading lines. Leading lines are used to draw the viewer’s attention into the image and to the focal point, while also setting the tone and feeling of the image.
The dirt road is the leading line that draws the eye into the image and on to the mountains in the distance
Using graphic design principles (and psychological overtone theories), horizontal lines represent stability, relaxation, calmness ( as in sleeping, lying down); while vertical lines (up!) can show action, standing tall, and can represent strength. Diagonal lines suggest movement and activity. Curved lines represent gracefulness.These principles can also come into play when deciding whether to take a picture horizontally, or vertically.
In this image of an abandoned shack the fence on the right serves as a line to draw your eye along the entry way leading to the house.
You can usually find leading lines by just making yourself more aware and purposefully looking for them. As you take a few moments to access the scene you want to capture, see if there are elements present that you can use to direct the viewers eye to your point of interest. Sometimes, something as simple as changing your viewpoint (such as shooting from a lower or higher angle) is all you need to do.
The lines created by the rows of grapevines lead you to the house and mountains in the distance