Behind the Lens: Instagram and Flatlay Photography
Lighting, position, and styling can make or break the formula for capturing the perfect photo, especially for the Instagram flatlay.
We sat down with Cee Fardoe of Vancouver blog Coco & Vera to get an idea of what goes on behind-the-scenes during a flatlay photo shoot and to get a little taste of how fashion bloggers use Instagram to create unique content.
What’s your process for creating great Instagram content?
I make sure my Instagram has content that’s unlike anything I post on my blog or other social platforms. I have pictures that I share on my blog, which are usually taken by my husband with his DSLR camera, and photos that I share only on Instagram.
Every photo I share on Instagram is taken with my iPhone. I don’t ever share the same photos on Instagram that I use anywhere else because I want my readers to feel like they’re seeing something new. Why would anyone follow me on Instagram if it’s the same photos I post on Facebook or my blog?
Do you have a schedule for posting content or is it impromptu?
I always schedule my content ahead of time to coincide with my blog posts, unless I’m at an event. Sometimes I set up specific shot, like a flatlay, which involves a bit more preparation and styling.
Other times, it’s the spur-of-the-moment shots that turn out surprisingly great. I get all of my photos for the week on the weekend to schedule my content ahead of time.
Do you have any apps that you would recommend?
I use PicTapGo by RadLab for all of my photo editing. Not many people have heard of it, but I’ve had it for years. It’s my special secret for great Instagram photos! I love the preset filters, there’s one that I use for all of my photos. If you scroll back far enough in my feed, you can see when I started using PicTapGo because the filter changes!
How would you describe your Instagram photography style?
Minimal, clean and bright, with lots of pastel colors. I like to show bits of my travels to Paris to keep with the Parisian theme on my blog. I only post once a day, so I make sure the photo I select fits in with my personal photostream and is really good.
I’m really picky about what I post, and I won’t post the photo unless it compliments the rest of my photos in the set.
Tell me about the process of setting up a flat lay photograph.
We have a lighting set specifically for flat lay photos in our apartment and although it takes up quite a bit of space, it’s great for shooting flat lays. I’ll set up a the photo with all my props and get the lighting exactly how I like it, and stand on a stool and shoot on my living room floor.
[quote align=”” name=”Cee Fardoe”]If I’m in the photo, my husband is the one behind the lens, but we always shoot flat lays with my iPhone camera with the light boxes. It sometimes takes half the day depending on what’s going in the shot.[/quote]
What are some of your Instagram best practices?
I curate my feed to share a story and really capture the essence of Coco and Vera as a Vancouver and Paris-based style blog. I won’t just post anything, I have a personal account that I use for my day-to-day.
These tips have helped me build a really attractive stream of photos that compliment each other:
- Pick one filter and stick to it. You can choose a set filter or create one yourself, but consistency is key.
- Create a uniform color scheme. I love pastel colors and brighter tones, which is evident in my Instagram feed.
- Shoot in natural light. Natural lighting adds a soft filter that makes the skin glow. I always feel like I look much younger with natural lighting! I’ve set up props the night before and rose at the crack of dawn to get the perfect shot with natural light.
What’s the reaction when setting up an impromptu shoot in a restaurant?
People love me in restaurants! In all honesty, nobody has ever said anything. I’m not super obvious about what I’m doing. I’m not disruptive, but I will rearrange the food and make whoever is with me wait until I get a few shots. However, there was one incident where I was out to dinner with a friend and I had moved all the dessert onto my side of the table, and she looked terribly concerned that I was kidnapping the dessert when really I just needed to get a photo!
Where does your Instagram inspiration come from?
I defer to Pinterest for photos that are really stylized and pretty, but Instagram has really inspired me to get better at photography and comfortable taking photos. I would never have grown to be so good at capturing moments or editing had it not been for Instagram and my iPhone.
Who do you post for? Do you post to get ‘likes’ or followers?
I think about my readers whenever I create content, but I curate my Instagram for myself. I don’t care about how many likes a photo gets, although it’s nice to get feedback! I don’t get hung up on how many people follow me or how many ‘likes’ a photo receives. I post for me and enjoy the entire process.
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Header image by StockSnapvia