I confess. I am pretty much addicted to Instagram. Not in an endless scrolling way: this is my best source of photography inspiration. The latest filter trends, layering effects, clever angles… or simply trying to perfect a technique. I spent quite some time analysing flatlays and learning how to recreate them… Here are a few tips to guide you through them:
Start with a simple, white background
The more patterns you introduce in your picture, the harder it will be to balance. White will make your accessories stand out beautifully. You can simply start with a white plank of wood/shelf from B&Q!
Natural light rocks
If you master the manual settings on your camera, electric light is no problem. If you are still on a learning curve mode, stay with daylight. It will save you much time editing your picture! You still will have plenty to play with and experiment: crisp winter mornings, warmer end of afternoon tones…
A bird’s eye view works best
Which is why you often see influencers stepping on a chair in cafés and restaurants! At home, I either set up my white background on the floor or use a coffee table. Smartphones are light enough to handle but I do use a tripod when using my DSLR. It will save your wrist from shaking after the weight if the photoshoot lasts a little too long, let alone lock the perfect angle while still allowing you to reposition objects again and again. If you are thinking of adopting flatlays as your signature, try one of Panasonic’s (professional) full-frame mirrorless cameras. Think 30k optical zoom, 4K photo and video all in a sleek compact design… Perfect for travel, blogging, food and making memories on the go!
Create the perfect harmony
If you do not know where to start, give yourself easy challenge and pick a theme: a colour palette, shells collected on the beach… The secret? Choose your star item, unfold a story around it and leave a little space between each object. You only have a few seconds to capture a viewer’s attention on Instagram and they must understand the scene you are creating at first glance.
Looking at your setting, you might describe it as a cup of tea, a scone on a plate, a folded napkin. Close your eyes, start again. Think of lines instead. To me, the folded napkin is a triangle, the cup a circle, the plate the perfect frame for a cake… It’s much easier to bring structure to your picture this way!
Accessorises do not need to be complicated
Nor expensive! I often see as a tip “Build a props box” and yes, of course, I have collected an insane number of spoons, vintage saucers, adorable tea towels along the years. Sugar sprinkles, pretty leaves and petals, feathers… will work wonders too.
Do tag me on your best shots >> @chocoralie on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with!