Design · Reverse Engineer Posts

Make Photography Look Like Magic!

That’s right. Those instagram pictures that your friends post always seem beyond your ability, but if you follow these three, simple steps, your Instagram pictures will become visual masterpieces that even your frenemies will admire.

Rule of Thirds

Photo taken from Darcy Jacobson’s article on

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When the image is sectioned into these nine, equidistant rectangles, the symmetry is clearly identified. The building is evenly lined up with the left vertical line, and the horizon of brush matches the bottom line. Even the mountain peak fulfills the rule of thirds.

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Photo by Kaylie Minson

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This image also clearly follows the rule of thirds. The column on the right hand side follows the right vertical line, and the various bamboo trees support the vertical repetition. The bottom line shows the support that the base of the wall provides for the picture.

Leading Lines

This image is found at; the photographer is unknown.

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The leading lines are excellent in this image. The focal point is clearly the building in the center of the image, and all lines lead to it. This includes the windows on the buildings, the street down below, and the rooftops and balconies of lower buildings.

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Photo taken by Kaylie Minson

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This image also follows the rule of leading lines. The fountain, wall, and bush all point to the central point on the image–the statue. The angles in the image help make it look clearer and more edgy.

Depth of Field

Photo found on

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The depth in this image creates emphasis on the Golden Gate Bridge. Because the focus on the camera is on the bridge, the flowers in the front are still visible, but only after exploring the image for a few seconds. It creates a depth perception and helps the viewer realize how far away they actually are from the object in focus.

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Photo taken by Kaylie Minson

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The depth in this image is slightly more gradual, but it still enhances the viewer’s ability to focus on the bricks stacked on top rather than the background parts of the image. The focus was achieved simply by honing the camera in on the item. On an actual camera, this is usually accomplished by holding the shutter button down a half a click on the part of the image you want to be focused on. On an iPhone camera, like mine, it is done by simply clicking on the part of the screen you want focused on.


Visually appealing images are very easy to capture when you know the right tricks. When the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, and Depth of Field are applied to the image, it will stand out more to the viewer. The image will have more contrast and more appeal. Following these guidelines will improve almost any Instagram post! Try it out, and watch the magic happen.


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