The post everybody has been waiting for!!! Okay maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration….but it seriously is the most requested post that I am asked to do. Despite my pleas for beauty related ideas for posts…‘How do you take your flatlays?‘ is the one I get the most…okay I lie..it’s the ONLY post request I’ve gotten. So today I’m going to share my process. Be warned, it’s pretty darn boring…but it’s just what I’ve picked up by reading and also studying stock photos…A LOT.
I am not a photographer by any means and I have no business giving anybody advice on how to take pictures, so please remember this post is based on how I TAKE MY OWN PICTURES. I don’t even know what the wide aperture feature on my phone means for my pics…just FYI!
This one is a no-brainer and probably number 1 on everybody’s list! Natural light is going to give you the best picture. Not the harshest, brightest time of day, or you’ll get glares and it will blow out your lighter colours. Also not the dimmest part of the day or you end up with Exhibit A above. I find early afternoon is a good time for me. This is also dependent on what the light situation is in your house. Some rooms are lighter than others at the same time of day, so you need to play around. I never use my flash on my camera.
In the above picture, do you see what a difference lighting makes? This was taken with an old busted up Samsung S5 and no editing on either picture.
This is where things get really fancy. I use a loose shelf out of my kid’s compactum. True story. At one stage I did use a broken cupboard door that I covered with marble ‘contact’. I picked the marble background up at Builder’s Warehouse. They have quite a few designs, so you don’t just have to choose marble. I also would carry the roll of marble contact to work and roll it out if I needed to take emergency pictures during my lunch time for a post. Cheap and effective. I’m not about spending a lot of money on backgrounds for my pictures.
Use a table, table-cloth, a rug, clothing…anything goes 😉
I find that the less I use, the better for me….because the more stuff I have to move away from Adam…the crazier it gets! I love using freshflowers, from the garden. Usually, I walk around my yard with a pair of scissors and I base my colour scheme around whatever I find. Also I love using roses that my husband spoils me with every so often. Once they’re a week old, I will use them for blog pics. Once I’ve taken pictures with the flowers, I go one step further and loosen the petals and I use that for a different aesthetic.
Otherwise my top prop ideas:
A nice pen (Typo has an amazing selection)
An organiser (The one from Alexa Lily is STUNNING! There’s the cover, the marble design and then the diary portion. 3 (maybe more) Different options within one organiser)
A cup of black coffee or tea (My favourite at the moment…I know you’d never guess with all the black coffee in my recent pictures!)
Macarons/Fruit/Donuts/Biscuits (The bonus here is that you can eat them once you’re done….ha ha)
Some books and/or magazines
Any rings/jewellery you have lying around.
I can’t tell you how many times I just look at my setup, pull my wedding rings off and throw them into the mix!
I love flatlays, but I find with just having a tiny shelf with limited space, I’m very limited with how elaborate my flatlays can get. Angles are a good way to get away from just the same old flatlay. I’m still learning myself…fluke angle pictures become one of my most liked, vs the one I have a vision for…that just does not work out. Move around, take shots from different angles of the same setup….and you create some cohesive pictures that you can use as your very own stock photos.
I personally have an aversion to empty (negative) spaces. Hence why I’ll throw my rings down when the situation calls for it. The problem with this is that my Instagram feed, to me, can seem very cluttered. So I would recommend that you take a few pictures with some negative space to kind of give your feed some breathing room. This is just an observation based on my own criticism of my feed, so please use it, don’t use it!
Despite our best intentions, most times a picture will not just be #InstaReady after you take it. There’s a bit of editing that needs to be done. Cropping, some adjustments…and this is where Snapseed comes in. This app has been a lifesaver. I have tried others, but I just can’t get into them. Snapseed is simple, easy to use and gets the job done. The built-in Instagram filters are also great, and you can adjust your pictures there as well. I personally love to up the brightness and ambiance in my pictures and then play around with the shadows and highlights. Very rarely do I use an actual filter as it is, so that’s why my pictures are not more cohesive. I edit based on how I feel about the picture, not how it fits into my grid. Oi vey.
One last tip…and I’m not including it as a sub heading…but it’s an important one! Please, don’t make the mistake I make 99% of the time. WIPE YOUR PRODUCTS OFF! Dust, fingerprints….all that crap shows up! I even found an ant in one of my pictures once, only after I uploaded it! I almost lost my damn mind…lol.
So, that’s the end of this lesson! I hope you found it helpful and please remember, we all start somewhere. I gag inside my mouth when I look at pictures from over a year ago. A year ago I thought I had improved….and I’m like…Um no girl, it was still bad! Every day I try to learn, google, play around…. I google a lot for inspiration and I save pictures on Instagram for future reference, but I don’t ever try to copy a picture or another blogger’s aesthetic. One thing I can’t do is take good pictures of humans….so it’s on my bucket list.
Let me know what your top tips are for taking your pictures for your blog or for Instagram!
For Part 2 of my tips on how to take amazing flatlays…..check THIS post out.