Back in April I did a post with my top tips on how I take my flatlays. I still however get loads of requests for tips on how to take flatlays. I thought I’d sit down and start drafting a post, and maybe some other practical tips would come to me. Tips on how to actually get the process started. Basically this post will be my process, from start to end. Now I’ve always maintained:
I am no photographer.
I do not think that I am terribly creative.
There is no fancy camera or lights.
Firstly I have to consider what product it is that I am shooting. For the purposes of this post, I’ll be talking about beauty products and maybe book flatlays. So…the product. Will I be reviewing this independently or will it feature as part of a theme? Some examples:
All products that are the same shade range…everything pink or turquoise. Those are the colours I love to shoot.
Reviewing all the day creams/night creams/face masks that I have.
Will this be part of backup stock photos just for social media? Or for a blog post?
With books, I prefer books that are alive…out and about in a coffee shop, in the kids hands, etc, but if you need a flatlay in a pinch that also works. Follow book hashtags and there’s LOADS of inspiration for taking cute and really easy book shots!
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I can use all the props in the world, but my heart lies with roses and macarons. If I’m feeling uninspired, I will usually Google: ‘Roses and face cream flatlays’, as an example. Usually I will screenshot pictures that really stand out to me or I’ll go to my Instagram profile where I save beautiful pictures that inspire me.
You don’t need to do this for every single time you take pictures, because a lot of the times I just shoot. When I have more time though, I like to try and think it out a bit more. So if something really grabs me…I’ll make an effort to go look for props that will help me attain the look I’m going for.
So we know….roses and macarons…. expensive shit! When it’s dry-salticrax-time-of-the-month, I ain’t got money for roses and macarons. Usually I’ll just grab a magazine and some flowers/leaves/branches from my garden. You do not NEED 1009 different props. I literally started buying ‘props’ in the last year. Up until then it was my cupboard door and whatever I could grab. My favourite prop shop is Typo. I know they’re a bit pricey…..and as much as I am not somebody with mountains of cash (or limitless credit cards), I don’t know where else to tell you to go. Perhaps Mr Price has a stationery section? If anybody has budget prop shop ideas, let me know in the comments. The items I feel are a must have (if you want to spend a few bucks):
A nice notebook/organiser. Preferably in the colour scheme that you associate with your branding.
Pretty stationery. Gold paperclips and pretty pens have changed my life!
Otherwise, fruit, biscuits….a nice bowl. I listed quite a few prop ideas in the previous post, so some of this is repetition. Also, get cheap white bowls and paint them gold or pink or black if you need something different and not white.
Putting it all together
In my first post, I spoke about the importance of good light. That will always be my number 1 tip…irrespective of your camera or your props…good light! There’s nothing that kills it more for me than seeing a well thought out flatlay….IN BAD LIGHTING!
Tip: I’ve found that pictures taken in bad lighting do not look half bad with the preset ‘Bright’ filter on Snapseed.
I put everything on my bed and that’s where I shoot. No backdrop? I prop a pillow behind my pictures and then just try to prop big eyeshadow palettes or bags as backdrops. The above picture eventually became THIS picture.
I had these images of all the beauty bloggers with their studio lights, their stunning beauty rooms and thought I’d never be able to produce a picture half decent. Yet here I am, writing a post that has been requested, because some people seem to think I take half-decent pictures. On my bed. If I can do it…I swear even a monkey could do it.
The first 2 bloggers who left an impression on me w.r.t their photos were Luzanne from Pink Peonies and Nisa from Belle Blushh. Luzanne always had the most crisp pictures…whitest whites and pinkest pinks. Nisa and all things gold….. those are kind of what I associate with their styles. Things may have changed over the years, but that is what I remember.
Don’t Over Edit
Besides bad lighting, an over edited picture is also not necessary. In this world of fake followers, fake engagement, fake friends…. let’s not create this crazy pictures where we can’t tell what the product (or person) actually is, because of all the editing. I spoke about the app I use, Snapseed, in my previous post, and nothing has changed since April.
I never wanted my Instagram to represent a perfect life….of beautiful pictures….but with my house permanently being a mess, I don’t mind you all thinking I have my shit together. LOL. I definitely don’t….I like nice pictures, but I never strive for perfection. Don’t take life (or Instagram) too seriously! I used to go nuts over dust and prints…but you know what, my life is NOT perfect, so I am really not going to stress about fingerprints and making sure my eyeshadow palettes don’t even look used.
That’s it for today’s post….. if I think of anything to add I’ll definitely do an updated post. Let me know if these tips helped you….and if you have any tips of your own!