So, you have a million and one poorly lit, boring photos just sitting on your iPhone, am I right? Today, I'm going to show you how I edit those boring pics into beautiful Instagram photos, worthy of likes and comments!
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Here's some examples to get us started:
EXHIBIT A: WORKSPACE FLAT LAY
This is a photo of my workspace the day I was working super hard not to catch the cold that my boyfriend had brought home with him a few days prior. It includes my Macbook Air, magic keyboard, magic mouse, some Purell hand sanitizer and a cup of Starbucks' K-Cup chai tea (with a dash of milk, of course!).
EXHIBIT B: DAY DESIGNER FLAT LAY
Here's my brand new Day Designer planner laying next to a beautiful red statement necklace.
EXHIBIT C: PAPER STATIONERY FLAT LAY
Writing a thank you card? I was! This is the day I wrote a bunch of thank you cards for those who gifted me gracious graduation presents.
EXHIBIT D: THE SQUARE HANDBAG ON WHITE WALL
I gifted myself this beautiful, off-white / beige square handbag from H&M and just had to snap a bright picture of it!
EXHIBIT E: YELLOW RASPBERRY WORKSPACE FLAT LAY
These yellow raspberries look almost too good to eat! Paired alongside my Apple magic keyboard, they create a cute workspace vibe.
EXHIBIT F: THE CITY / MARINA FROM UP ABOVE - OUTDOORS
This is my town: Olympia, Washington from above at a fortunate angle. At our port (where the ships come in), there is a large tower that visitors can climb, revealing this gorgeous view of our marina and Capitol building dome.
EXHIBIT G: DOUGHNUTS GALORE! INSIDE OF CASE
Whenever I grab a "inside the case" shot, it's important that I lighten the photo to reveal the beautiful colors and reduce shadows. I mean, they're gorgeous, right?
EXHIBIT H: SALAD AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT - ON WHITE PLATE
Let's be honest: white plates SAVE THE DAY and I'm always excited when I see one at a restaurant! I was sitting by a nice, big window when I got the above shot.*Natural lighting will work wonders on your photos.
Now, just by looking at these photos, you may notice that something looks similar in all of the edits--they have the same deep saturation and color tones. That's because I use a single filter in my editing app, VSCOCam when I go to edit *aaallll* my photos for Instagram.
Also, I edit in batches. When editing, it's incredibly important that all of the photos going into your feed look similar (if not identical) in color and feel, in order to cultivate a cohesive Instagram story. Editing in batches allows me to make sure that the photos look nice together as they appear in the VSCOCam feed prior to uploading on Instagram. From there, I'm also able to move them around and see which order I like them in.
My biggest pet peeve is having too many food images or too many flat lays in the same day/few days, so I consciously try my best to spread out the content. Balancing between white space (flat lays) and busy-ness is also really vital--you don't want to overwhelm your audience, do you!?
SINCE I KNOW YOU'LL ASK... HERE'S HOW YOU MAKE A FLAT LAY:
You're only going to need a few things to make the perfect flat lay, and it's ridiculously cheap!
- The items you want to showcase
- A white, thicker presentation board - I use an Elmer's board found at Target (just under $3!). You can also use a marble backdrop if you prefer it - slabs of faux marble are available at your local hardware store in the "Flooring" aisles for $5-10 each.
- Lots & lots of natural light!
Think about what you want to showcase: is it a workspace? A fashion outfit? Beauty necessities pairing? Every day favorites from around the house? Then, play around with the arrangement on the presentation board until you feel like a good balance has been met.
Now, it's time to snap your photos! Get out of the direct path of light to avoid shadows--use a chair to stand, in order to capture the shot from a higher angle if you have to.
Experiment with the placement of the items in the frame--are they best in the center? Off to one side? I try to gather a few shots of the same layout--some zoomed out, zoomed in, centered, cornered, etc. so I have multiples I can upload to Instagram over time.
NOW, LET'S EDIT!
the original plain jane
2. ADD SOME BRIGHTNESS (EXPOSURE)
3. ADD SOME HIGHLIGHTS
4. ADD SOME TINT
5. ADD YOUR FILTER OF CHOICE
Keep in mind that each step I showed here (the exact amounts of exposure, etc.) may not fit for your filter of choice. You may even need to add or subtract steps--it's all about that trial and error! I have unlocked all the filters on VSCOCam, but feel I resonate best with Q3. I spent months dabbling in different filters, as well as using the A Color Story app before I decided this was it.
My best piece of advice: don't copycat someone else just because you admire their feed. Pick the filter you feel best showcases your personality and works with a majority of your natural photo habits. I've loved deep orange hues ever since I was a little girl, and Q3 certainly shows it. While I may adore the Instagram feeds that are crazy saturated, galaxy-colored (hot pinks and purples), or minimalist with less saturated browns/taupes, it just isn't me.
I wouldn't want to be anyone else!
What changes have you decided to make to your Instagram? Share your profile in the comments so I can go give you some lovin'.