Yeah, yeah I know what your thinking another blog photography post.... Well actually this one's just about flat lays and how to take gorgeous shots using just your iphone.
Like most bloggers out there blog photography has to be my favourite part of blogging, and for me flat lays are my go to style. There's just something so chic and stylish about a good flat lay. If you have been reading my blog for a while (hey there) or follow me on Instagram you may have noticed one or two flat lays (OK OK make that 5000). And its one thing I always get complimented on/asked about. I actually put off posting this so many times as there's lots of similar advice going around on the web, but some of you guys requested this So here's my take on how I take flat lays.......
I pretty much, 90% of the time take my Instagram or blog photos on my iphone 6s. I have a lovely Olympus Pen camera which I adore and love experimenting with but to be honest if I'm taking a quick snap for Insta it will be my iphone I reach for. The picture quality is so good and I find it super easy to edit using my phone. So to start off with -
1. Clean the lens - no seriously - don't roll your eyes. A quick wipe with a cloth (or your sleeve) makes so much difference to the quality of your picture. Our phones go everywhere with us, handbags, glove compartment, back pocket etc and you'd be surprised how much grime they pick up. Wipe. Done. Simple.
2. OK secondly - set your camera to SQUARE. Always square. this sets such a great format for your flay lay - not to mention that its sits so much better on Instagram. Then you can play around with the angle and composition of your shot. I use an app called squaready for Instagram which adds a pretty white frame around my pics and makes my feed look neat, clean and fresh. If my camera isn't set to square it throws my photo all out of shape.
3. Set up. If I'm shooting for the blog I like to set up using a few props - I favour the normal cliche blogger props.
- Standard marble vinyl sheet (you can find similar here).
- White table from Ikea (this was £5 yes £5 and is PERFECT white background) if you don't have a white table a large piece of card works just as well.
- Fresh flowers. I'm always filling my house with fresh flowers, right now I'm loving tulips and roses and of course peonies.
- Succulents (if I haven't killed them)
- Books, magazines make great corner props.
- Little trays to position products in. The trays I use are from The White Company and Ikea)
- Macaroons - of you can resist eating them.
- Candles - Jo Malone and Diptyque are my faves
- Blue tack is also essential to stop round products like lipsticks or mascaras from rolling all over the place.
I make sure all my props are clean and not damaged and then I'm good to go.
4 Composition and Styling. This is the fun part, I love playing around with the position of props and products and experimenting with layout. It's all a learning curve. Shoot loads of pics have a play with position, and shoot some more. Ensure there's plenty of room for your props to breathe and everything is not squashed. Check back over your photos to see what's working and which areas need tweaking. If its not working, start over. Creating a focal point like a book cover or eye shadow palette can work really well.
Don't be afraid to layer products or add dimensions For example place a lippy on a magazine page, a cup of tea on a book, take the lids of products and place nearby (this works well with Chanel) use different shape products and throw in some rose petals. Draw on some swatches, Get creative.
5. Use the Grid. This can help massively when setting up your composition and making sure there's enough space between your props and products. To use the grid on your iphone - go to SETTINGS, scroll down to select PHOTOS & CAMERA, then scroll to GRID and select box to ON. I've only just starting using the grid but it can be a god send when positioning a tricky flat lay.
6. Colour scheme. To me this is really important when creating a flat lay. I make sure all the products in my pictures compliment each other. For example silver and white go lovely on a marble background, rose gold looks fab on white, pastel shades look beautiful together black and white are a no brainer even better with a pop of colour like a red lippy or pink nail varnish. Colour is key, if there's too much going on it can look busy and messy.
7. Editing. I like to edit on my iphone before uploading to my blog or Instagram. Personally I don't really care much for filters, I just like to make my photos as light, bright and sharp as possible.
To edit using your iphone, open your photo and click edit in the top right hand corner. Next click the little dial icon (3rd from left), click 'Light' and scroll to brightness. Then just adjust as much or as little as required. (I like to max it up). Next click 'Contrast' and adjust as needed. I personally like to add some contrast back in if I have black in my photo (like Nars or Chanel products) as this makes them look alive again instead of being killed by the light. You can also do this by clicking 'Black point'. Lastly I edit the 'Exposure' to ensure my pics aren't over or under exposed. Have a play around and see what works best for you.
There are also some fabulous apps you can use to edit with, Vsco, Squaready for are great, as is Snapseed which has the added feature to remove things from your photos (like a table stain etc) its a bit more tricky to use but fabulous non the less.