Blogging Photography: How to take an awesome flat lay picture

Blogging Photography Flat Lay Tips for Beginners

Yesterday I was out to lunch with an internet-turned-real-friend friend (you know who you are!) and she kindly complimented me on how I take my flat lay images for the blog and Instagram. What is a flat lay, you ask? In short, it's pretty much what it says on the tin - an image of things laid flat. A shot from above if you will. And since Tip Tuesday has come around so quickly I thought, why not touch on a little bit of photography advice for this week's segment? So here are my top tips on creating the perfect flat lay.

Focus on lighting

Just like with all good photography, lighting is key. When I started my flat lay snaps I was lucky enough to have a skylight window in my house, which was amazing for taking pictures. These days, I'm left with two options: a standard window or a few soft boxes. Personally I prefer natural light because it looks a lot more, erm, natural (go figure?!) but sometimes the weather simply doesn't want to cooperate. When dealing with flat lay images I've found that the light is best kept above the image you want to shoot. That way it doesn't create any over the top shadows throughout the picture.

Give your pictures a theme

Chances are you'll already have a particular style in regards to what you post on your blog, but to give your images a little bit more of a purpose, try to keep each flat lay focussed on just one thing. For example, if you're going to flat lay your favourite beauty product, try not to snap it alongside irrelevant things, or other products that take away from the thing you're actually talking about. In short, keep it simple!

Switch up your backgrounds

This was one of my main issues at first. Unfortunately not all of us are blessed with marbled top tables (although you can be with my upcoming DIY..#shamelessplug) and shabby chic floor boards, but that doesn't mean you can't fake the look! I tend to collect different pieces of card and material that I like the look of to use as blog backgrounds. I'm serious! To create the look of a white washed floor all I did was take a few slabs of wood from an old dirty crate and give them a few coats of paint that I had lying around my house. Genius. Magazines also make a great backdrop for flat lay images too!

Stock up on props

Oh yeah. People often think I'm joking when I tell them about my blogging props, but I actually have a huge box filled with things that simply look quite nice in photos. Fake flowers, the odd candle, a nice looking plate here and there. It doesn't have to be anything expensive or anything with an exact purpose, but it's always nice to add a little extra to your photos sometimes. Places like Poundland and Wilkinsons are amazing for cheap decor bits that add a lil summin' summin'.

Shoot from above

This may sound pretty obvious, but when it comes to taking flat lay pictures you really do have to get right above the thing you're shooting. This works in conjunction with the lights you've positioned to create the perfect pic. If you're a little vertically-challenged like I am, stand on a stool! Think of it as a little weekly workout.

Up the contrast

Chances are, unless you really are blessed with the best lighting available, the picture won't come out exactly how you wanted it to. But when do they!? We're not Steven Meisel ladies and gents. I edit pretty much every single image that gets posted on my part of the internet, even if it's just a simple adjustment of the brightness and contrast. It doesn't need to be painstakingly edited for hours on end if it's only going on Instagram, but I've noticed it does help to gain a little interest. Not got Photoshop? No worries. You can download image editing apps pretty much anywhere, but if you're working from a laptop I'd definitely suggest trying out Pixlr.

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Shoot any questions down below, and let me know what you'd like to hear about next Tip Tuesdays!

The Utterly Luxury Gift With Purchase

The Utterly Luxury Gift With Purpose

So I'm sure you've all stocked up on those Black Friday deals (yes, we even have it in the UK now..) but for those of you that still want to spend some dollar, look this way. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the latest Gift With Purchase offer that The Urban Retreat Beautique has going on, well, now! As of today, if you spend £150 online (and trust me, it's pretty damn easy to do) you'll receive a free gift bag worth over £110*. Usually I'm pretty aprehensive about these freebie bags, purely because all they ever contain are tiny sachets of celebrity-endorsed perfume and anti ageing creams that - as a twenty one year old - I hardly need. But ohhh no, not with this bad boy! The Utterly Luxury bag quite possibly has to be the most epic GWP I've ever received. Ever. You could even split the products up and give them away as stocking fillers for Christmas - but obviously, I'm keeping all of these goodies for myself. Heh.

Cover FX Illuminating Setting Powder (4.5g)
Thalgo Exotic Island Body Scrub (70g)
MarocMaroc Nourishing Hair Mask (75ml)
NARS Lip Gloss Priscilla (4ml)
Moroccanoil Hand Cream (75ml)
Leonor Greyl Nourishing Shampoo (50ml)
Unite 7 Seconds Condition (1oz)
GlamGlow Powermud (15g)
Guam Cellulite Seaweed Mud (75ml)
Valmont Demaquillant Precieux (10ml)
Valmont Eau Micellaire Precieuse (10ml)


*Until stocks last!

How to get more followers on Instagram

How to get more followers on Instagram

Excuse the lack of blog posts over the past few days! An impromptu trip to London and around 5000 essays due in this week means taking pictures of myself isn't at the top of my to do list - although Instagramming is definitely up there. I've noticed that my follower count has increased so much in the past week (thank you!), and a lot of people have been asking me what I've doing differently. So alas, here it is..

post often, but not too often
The hardest thing about Instagram is knowing when your best time to post is, and how often you should post per day. My favourite thing to use at the moment is Iconosquare (previously called Statigram) because it gives me a run-down of everything I need to know. I've learnt that - for me - twice a day, morning and afternoon is best, but make sure you check it out for yourselves. 

use popular tags
There's a fine line between tagging too much and just enough, so whenever you're tagging a picture try not to tag the most obvious things and instead go for something that you know is trending. I'm a big fan of the old flat lay, so whenever I take a snap from above I make sure to tag it with #flatlay #flatlaythenation and #fromabove. If the post includes brands or people be sure to tag them in the photo to make sure they see it too!

socialise with others
Social media - it pretty much says it on the tin. Don't be one of those people that trawl profiles with 's4s' comments. Instead, be one of those people that actually have something to say about someone's pictures. It might not get you a following straight away, but it'll definitely give your Instagram credibility! 

use unique photos
For the past week or so I've only been using photos that have been specifically for Instagram. So basically, I'm not recycling things that people will have already seen on the blog! They'll have all the more reason to follow you knowing that you post different things each time.

have a theme
Okay, so this is more of a personal thing that works for me, but I've found that taking pictures in a similar style means people know what they're going to get from you. For example, people aren't going to come to my Instagram for fitspo inspiration or selfies (akwaaaaard) - they're going to come for pictures of shoes and daily outfits!

And of course, here's a shameless plugs: follow me on Instagram!

iPad Mini (in love with this case)

Fleur of England Caviar Boudoir Bra

Fleur of England Caviar Boudoir Bra

Avid followers of my Instagram will have already seen this snap, but I couldn't not post it on the blog too! Just like everyone else I've been loving the Fleur of England Boudoir bras and one may or may not have ended up on my doorstep last week. Spoiler alert: It did. There's not much to be said about a bra other than how comfy it is and how it looks - 10/10 for both criterias I'd say. This style is from the Caviar collection, but you can see more here.

(PS: Big thank you to everyone that follows me on Instagram - I reached 10,000 followers the other day woop!)

Caviar Boudoir Bra from Fleur of England