I receive a lot of question about how I make my flatlay pictures on Instagram: from styling them to the camera I use. Every time I tell people the same, but I don’t have great tips for how to make them look good, only about how to make it easy for yourself. Creativity is the key, but even I do struggle sometimes with coming up with new things for my Instagram. Well, today is your lucky day! I will reveal all my secrets of how I create my flatlay pictures with just my simple iPhone Xs Max.
Yes people, I make my flatlays with an iPhone and not an expensive DSLR camera. It’s of course your decision if you want to take a lot of time with editing your pictures or that you post them immediately without editing. For me it is all about the setting and I have the same kind of “theme” or “vibe” for my Instagram feed, so editing my pictures only costs me a lot of time. On Instagram I follow a bunch of super creative people like ohuprettythings, georginaloasby and geekyposhe who are making their Instagram post with a DSLR camera and editing them to their preference or depending what they are photographing. I must confess that I’m lazy and that I want to post a flatlay every day, which would be impossible for me to edit them all on my iMac and then post them.
The new iPhone Xs Max is a huge upgrade for me because before this phone I made my flatlay pictures with an iPhone 7Plus. I noticed a huge difference in the amount of mega pixels and the colors in my camera. Even on cloudy days I feel like that the iPhone Xs Max grabs all the light in the room, which makes it easier for me to make the flatlay look whiter and even. I know that there are also other great phones on the market which are better than the iPhone, but I prefer having an Apple because all my devices at home are from them (my fiancée likes to call me a brand slut).
Step one for a perfect flatlay is to have the perfect angle! The iPhone has a great function to make it easy for you to see if you are exactly right above your table. Head over to your Options>Camera and turn on Raster. When you open your camera, you can see 9 squares with an + in the middle. When the + turns yellow, it means you are right above your table which will give you the perfect flatlay angle. You can always play with your angles and sometimes I like to switch to a low shot instead of a flatlay to give my feed more dimension.
Step two is to decide what your theme or mood will be for the shot. For example: I like to pick a color and grab all kinds of products with the same color or make a stationary theme and get everything that is related with office gear. For all the beauty people out there, I would suggest: lipsticks, colors, textures, tools or one product in the center. This process can be a mess because I literally open all my drawers and pick all the beauty stuff that are related with the theme I choose. Usually I look at my feed and think about what kind of products or colors hasn’t been posted for a long time, that’s were I put the attention.
Step three is to create an invisible square for yourself. If you like flatlays that are filled with products, you want to make sure which products do show up on the camera when you take the shot in a square (Instagram size). For me those kinds of flatlays are the hardest because you want to fill the whole square and the setting must be perfect. That’s why I prefer flatlays with a more blank background. You can decide how much you want to use of your square and the invisible square will become a less important thing.
Step four is looking for some set props! Props can help you to give your setting more life or the right mood. I always use flowers, ribbons or jewelry. Sometimes I like to grab some magazines, candles or my glasses to make it feel more like a desk or home situation. It all depends if you like to fill the blank space in your flatlays or go simple. Also, lately I’ve seen some amazing skincare accounts that use water as a prop. Be creative in what you shot has to say or the feeling it must give to your follower! The best thing is that people see your shot and they immediately can tell: that is her work!
Step five is maybe the funniest part: place, replace and place. Throw all the stuff you collected for your flatlay on the table and start setting them up on your invisible square. Sometimes I only need 10 minutes to create the best flatlay, other times it can take up to 30 minutes. This is something you must practice, and it may take some time, but after a while you get the feeling and setting up your flatlay will become a bit easier. Are you going for a chaotic flatlay without any blank space? First place your main items on the table and fill the blank spaces with your props. Are you going for a simpler flatlay? Then I usually start with the props and then I place the product(s) along the props. Go for a simple setting like a vertical, horizontal, diagonal or center. Look at my Instagram, you can immediately see by looking at my feed what my simple settings are.
Last step is making the picture. Grab you phone or camera, place it at the perfect angle and height and take the shot! Always make sure to look back at your pictures or maybe quickly edit it to see if the shot turns out well. I always struggle with bad lightening in my room, so I make sure to add the brightening up and to see if it still looks great. Play with the placing of the camera, turn it 90 degrees or replace some items that don’t look well in your invisible square. Don’t forget to take a lot of pictures, so you can decide which one is the most perfect for your feed.
I must admit that creativity is lacking so much lately. Sometimes I have to look back at some old flatlays from a year ago to come up with new things. But he, it is never wrong to recycle your shots or old settings. No one can come up with something new every day! I even introduced the hashtag #recycleyourflatlay for days when I don’t have any idea what to post and then I grab an oldie or a shot from the same flatlay but in a different angle.
What is your signature style when it comes to making content for your blog/Instagram?