Monday, 23 May 2016

A guide to taking instagram photos

A selection of my favourite flat lays for inspiration! *All pictures pulled from Google, if any are yours feel free to message and I will add a credit here!*
If you're a blogger, it's likely that you'll know the feeling of cramp in your back from trying to take a perfect flatlay only to get a dark, blurred and lacking image in return. We've all been there. Don't worry, the masters of instagram don't have thousands of pounds to chuck at fancy cameras and equipment, nor do they have fairy dust up their sleeves, but what they do have is a little bit of knowledge about nailing that perfect insta pic. I've compiled a quick list of tips that work for me when I'm trying to capture the perfect flatlay. By no means am I claiming to be this spectacular instagram star but my photography has came a long way since I started and I give all the credit to these quick tips.

Lighting is everything.
Like any photography, lighting really is key, natural lighting is the best, usually in the morning or afternoon as midday can sometimes be a little too harsh. If you don't have the luxury of being able to shoot whenever you want, it's not the end of the world as you can buy photography lights that will pretty much mimic natural lighting. When I'm not getting the lighting I want, or if I only have time to shoot when it's dark, I use *these* soft boxes which are relatively inexpensive but make a massive difference. Using artificial lighting, however, will create shadows so investing in something like a reflector can really make an impact and they can be as cheap as £10. I'm still learning about lighting but it's the thing that's made the biggest difference in my photos.

Use a light coloured background.
Using a white or light coloured background just makes your overall photo look so much brighter. It's also so much easier to see the products if there isn't much going on in the background. I actually have a huge marble tile that was left over from when we decorated the bathroom which I use for all my flatlays and blog photography but you can buy sticky back plastic from amazon and make your own version with a piece of cardboard. I'm going to do something similar as my tile just isn't quite wide enough and my friends laugh when I'm taking a huge marble tile from university to home! Having a white background in all your shots also gives you an instant theme to your instagram which overall just makes it a lot more aesthetically pleasing.

Shoot from a birds eye view.
Might be a silly thing to say but flat lays are pretty much all taken from above! Either set out your picture on the floor and stand whilst taking the photo or buy a small step-ladder to get the height you need.

Don't use instagrams filters.
Clean and crisp images are all the rage on instagram right now and it just makes the photo look so much brighter. Unless I don't have access to my blogging equipment (which is a problem I'm currently having as I'm at university and left it all at home!) I edit my photos on my laptop in Photoshop and then put the picture onto my phone and just brighten up the background using the whiten tool on the app Facetune. It's supposed to be meant for whitening up teeth in selfies but it's also perfect for brightening any shadows left in my pictures that I may have missed in my first edit. Below you can see the differences each editing stage makes to my photos.

No edit > Edited in Photoshop > Background whitened with Facetune
Although Photoshop is a nice, it's not necessary and apps such as VSCO and Afterlight are perfect for brightening and sharpening up an image. Below is an image I took using my iPhone 6 and edited on my phone contrasted with the original image.
Unedited, original image > Edited using Afterlight, Facetune and Juno instagram filter.
Although the final picture still had shadows and was slightly dark, that was more my lighting situation than editing but as you can see, the editing process which I use makes a huge difference to my original image. I find that instagram filters just can't do as much correcting as I need and therefore rarely use them, the only one I'm fond of is 'Juno' and even then I turn it down to around 30%.

Blue tack and double sided sticky tape is your friend.
Can't get a product to sit where you want it to? Use double sided sticky tape or blue tack! It works perfectly to keep my products in the exact position that I want them to lay.

Don't be afraid to use props.
Now this is one which I need to do myself! Props can really transform an image, so long as you don't over do it. I'm really loving using magazines as my main prop at the minute but fake flowers also look gorgeous - I've even used my cheerleading bow before! Some of my favourite instagrammers use furry rugs or confetti which look gorgeous also. Try to avoid things with strong colours, words, photographs of people (ie: in magazines) as these don't usually translate well in a flatlay.

Products do not need to all be in a perfect formation.
Feel free to experiment with a messy, more cluttered look! Personally I love that style a lot more than perfectly placed pics anyway and it's so much easier. I know of people actually measuring their products to make sure the space between products is exactly the same, they're perfectly straight, etc. so when you choose to messily style your photo it gives you a lot more room for mistakes.

Practice makes perfect.
Remember, practice will only improve your photographs! My work improves so much with every photo I take, it's all about learning what styles you like and finding things that work together. For example, I love using products with black packaging (such as Nars or Bobbi Brown) as the contrast against my white marble looks gorgeous and makes my photos look that tiny bit more professional!

Aaaaand now you're practically a pro! Remember to follow me @alyspace and to leave your instagram accounts below. Happy snapping!


  1. Now that it's summer here, I feel like the sun is harsher and it's making my pictures come out yellowish. It's very annoying :(
    These are great tips, lovely pictures!

    Nereyda│ This Girl Is Obsessed

    1. So annoying isn't it! I swear by my soft boxes, they give me such freedom so that I can take pics whenever I want to :)! Thanks for your comment.

      A x

  2. Great tips! Thanks for sharing

    Take care doll!! Ps: I'm hosting a Giveaway. I'd love if you entered!

  3. Totally agree with you. Making high-quality content should always be. Otherwise, your page will not be interesting. This is what would make the photo brighter here as for me it is better to use filters. I use the services of this website and all very much. Photos all bright and quality.


© ALYSPACE | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig