I can guarantee that if you’re reading this article RIGHT now, you’ve had a moment in your photo-taking-life where you thought
“NO, I can’t stand up to take a photo of my food/table?! I don’t want to be THAT girl!”
Well guess what, we’ve ALL wanted to be that girl, and in our opinion, THAT girl probably has a bangin’ Instagram feed.
Speaking of bangin’ Instagram feeds, we all have our favorite fashion, foodie, travel bloggers, etc.. who always seem to take the most perfectly placed and thought out flat lay photos the world has ever seen… but how? How do they achieve this level of perfection on a consistent basis? The answers lye below. Follow along as we breakdown the “Top 5 Tips for Taking the PERFECT Flat Lay Photo.
Have a theme.
Each flat lay photo should have some type of theme or story behind it. Whether it be “look at this beautiful spread for lunch” or a well planned “OOTD”, each photo should describe a moment in time. Having a theme will also ensure that any article you include in the photo is there for a reason and adds to the overall composition. Having a hard time figuring out a theme? No worries, pick a color scheme and roll with it!
Simple backgrounds are key.
The worst thing you can do to a beautifully laid out flat lay, is have a super distracting background. Keep it simple yet significant! Simple backgrounds, such as tabletops, wooden floorboards, white cardboard, bench tops, marble tiles, shaggy rugs and clean bed sheets work well in almost any situation.
*Editing tip* You’ve probably noticed the white backgrounds in some of your favorite bloggers flat lay images look REALLY white. You can achieve this look using the “whitening tool” while editing your photo in InstaSize. It’s the perfect desaturation tool.
It’s time to be THAT girl.
So you have a beautifully laid out flat lay, what comes next? The aim of a flat lay is to shoot from above the layout, so get up high if you need to and stand on a stool or ladder. This is especially fun if you’re out dining in a nice restaurant and decide “wow, everything on this table looks too beautiful to eat..I should take a photo”. Commence being brave and standing up to get the shot.
*Pro tip* Setting up your flat lay on the ground will help you achieve the “shooting from up above” angle, just stand up!
Natural Light aka Your New BFF.
We’re sure you’ve heard it once, maybe twice, but when it comes to taking any type of photo, natural lighting is always best. Shooting in natural light eliminates shadows, so shoot somewhere that is drenched in it, we suggest by a window or outside.
Get Inspired + Tag Away!
Spend time time checking out your favorite Instagrammers and how they flat lay before venturing out on your own. Once you have your photo ready for posting, make sure you tag all the brands being featured, you want your photo be seen by as many eyes possible, right?!
Here are some of our flat lay favorites:
Feeling inspired to set up a flat lay of your very own? DO IT. Make sure you edit using InstaSize and tag us in your posts for a feature on our Instagram page! #InstaSize
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Full time photographer, content curator, and now dad, Jeff Mindell truly does it ALL. His feed is the perfect combination of professional + fun and his shooting technique makes the everyday seem a little bit more colorful. We’re honored to feature Jeff on the blog to discuss his “eye for happy vibes” and what he’s learned along his photography journey when it comes to networking with brands and his audience.
Hello Jeff! Tell us about yourself and how you got into photography.
Hey! I am a freelance photographer and content creator based in LA with my wife, son and tiny chihuahua. Photography has always been a hobby for me – I’ve loved taking photos and getting creative ever since I was a kid. I just never really considered it as a career until we moved to the west coast in 2011. After a couple years, I quit my 9-5 job to pursue my creative work full-time!
Describe your style of photography. What is your favorite thing to shoot?
I really love to capture beautiful color, interesting composition and an overall upbeat and happy vibe in my images. My absolute favorite thing to shoot is interiors – a clean design and well-lit interior just makes me so happy. I also really love capturing people, which is funny because I never really share images of other people (other than my family) on my social platforms.
Where do you pull inspiration from?
I guess the most obvious would be from other people whom I look up to, be it other photographers or creatives. I also LOVE to travel and exploring new places I’ve never been is one of my favorite things to do. I end up seeing things that might open my eyes to new aesthetics or trends, which in turn end up inspiring me in one way or another.
We notice you work with a ton of brands and your photos are always so creative, what advice would you give someone who’s trying to network with brands?
Thank you! My biggest piece of advice is always to just be yourself. People say it everyday, but it’s actually worked for me since day one. This isn’t an industry that has many pre-conceived parameters for right and wrong since everything in this world of social media is so new. For example, I was taught what a “proper” pitch or email looked like in business school, but I had no idea back then what my life would look like now. That my wife and I have created a life and businesses for ourselves out of literally just being ourselves. So when I’m composing an email or corresponding with a big brand, I’m just me. I’m casual and easygoing and I will probably open with “Hey!”. At the end of the day, a brand might be working with me because I’ve put myself out there as someone who might be relatable or honest and so I’m just unapologetically myself at all times. Be 100% you and no one else.
Your Instagram feed is so clean, we’re big fans over here at the InstaSize HQ! How do you maintain your photo aesthetic?
I know what type of images are going to do well for me and which ones don’t. I also end up just posting what makes me happy. The number one thing I try to keep in mind before I post something new is how it’s going to look in my overall feed. For example, I won’t post two sky photos next to each other. I tend to stick to cooler colors in general and like to have an even mix of lifestyle, personal/family images (which weirdly do way better than anything else I share), food, fashion, and behind the scenes of my creative work. You will also never see me post anything red or orange. I really dislike those colors haha.
What are some “pro tips” to managing your social media content?
Take it seriously, but not too seriously. I’d be lying if I said Instagram hasn’t exploded my business and changed my life, but it’s good (and healthy!) to have some separation of social media and real life. I obviously share a ton of my life with my followers, but there is also a whole bunch that I choose not to share. So I think setting boundaries for yourself is important. I’d also suggest having a plan for your content. Figure out the best time for you to post based on your engagement and decide how often you’ll be sharing on social. For some people that’s once a day and for others, it could be five times a day. When it comes to planning, you can make a content calendar that can help out visually if you are trying to manage multiple posts or platforms!
“I’m just unapologetically myself at all times. Be 100% you and no one else.”
How have you utilized Instagram stories? Have any tips or tricks you’d like to share in regards to creating content for IG stories specifically?
I love IG Stories. I’ll admit I wasn’t the quickest to jump on the bandwagon, but I love Stories now more than the actual photo part of the platform. I post on my Story all throughout the day and share with my audience what I’m up to, what I’m working on, behind-the-scenes, or literally just me hanging out at home with my kid. It’s a really authentic way to connect with my followers and my engagement over there is ten times as much as I might get on a photo I post. I think the trick for me has been to make an effort to connect with as many people as I can and respond to as many comments as I have the time for. People are always shocked when I respond, but I think the one-on-one connection is what has really helped me up my Stories game!
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Go out and practice your craft every day. Even if you have a few minutes, try and take a photo that might push you creatively or otherwise. You’ll get comfortable with your camera and how to operate it. Also, take on every job that comes your way. There’s no better way to step outside your comfort zone than by taking jobs that you feel like you can’t do initially. You’ll then gain the confidence to go out and take on the world.
What is your favorite editing feature and/or filter on InstaSize?
I love the cropping tool! More specifically, the pre-determined proportions I’m able to crop to. Sometimes, I want to post a square image, but more often now I’m also loving the portrait option that IG allows so this makes it super easy to do that ahead of time!
Find Jeff on the Interwebs:
Website: Jeff Mindell