I find it quite fun creating little flat lays for Instagram! It's kind of like putting together a real life collage. Having a few cute props and little pieces can really enhance your photos and takes it from just another photo, into a bit of an art piece. Instagram was originally created for sharing beautiful images and for photographers but it has evolved a bit since then. It's now also a great place to find your tribe - whether you like baking bread, knitting socks or patchwork. There is a lovely bunch of people on there and I recommend it to anyone in the crafty way of things who'd love to connect with and be inspired by other wonderful makers across the globe.
I now keep all my photo props in this basket, after getting tired of the amount of time it took me to run about grabbing random objects and then having to put them back after I had taken photos. Since I usually batch take and edit photos on my phone, by the time I had done that, I usually just heaped all the props on the work table to put away later. Sometimes I didn't get back there though, until I wanted to sew or cut orders, and then I'd have to either push it all aside creating more mess or waste time doing a job that I should have done earlier. Instead of trying to change a bad habit, I decided to short-circuit my fault and created a prop basket. It's been the best thing I did and I recommend it to anyone who regularly takes these type of photos. Having all my things on hand while I photograph has made things so much faster and when I'm done, I pack it all up and put it back in one place. Some of these things I had on display, some I had in stationary drawers and some I had with my ribbons and trims. However I was using the same items so often, it made more sense to devote them to full-time photo propping and I have appreciated de-cluttering some of the house while being able to still use the little bits and pieces I so dearly love! (PS. using props also gives one an excellent excuse to bring home other bits and pieces some may deem as useless!)
For some people, the photo side of things can be a little tricky sometimes and is something I used to struggle a lot with. If you have an interest in building a gorgeous Instagram profile, then thinking of it a bit like an online art gallery can help you achieve this goal. As with anything, a bit of consistency and keeping the colours and style flowing are important to creating a lovely collage of images. When people first arrive at your profile, they will quickly scan the collection of images you have displayed and quite often, make the decision on whether or not they want to follow you. It's less about having 'the perfect gallery' and more about whether your posting style is consistent enough. In a quick example, I have seen really pretty flowers or a craft project on instagram but upon visiting the actual profile, have found the images I am personally interested in are few and far between - jumbled up with food and more personal family shots. This totally fine and there is nothing wrong with that at all, however if you are looking to have a certain group of individuals follow you then you will need to think about whether you are posting enough of the images that you think they'd be interested in.
You don't have to have a fancy camera to create a nice photo or instagram profile - you can use your phone! When you are taking a photo, think about it in the same way you think about your projects - making sure all the colours are in harmony and it's styled the way you want it to look. Believe me, sometimes I try and take a quick shot at night, under the fluro lighting and it just doesn't work. Not only do I not exactly love the photo sitting in my Instagram feed (if I end up posting it) but it kind of feels like I am doing my work an injustice. I have spent so long on making the item, to slap dash a photo together for the rest of the world to see seems a little unfair to all the time I have spent on it. Waiting for the right time of day when the light is good and taking a little care to style it nicely produces a much better result. The house, even during the day, is just too shadowy most of the time so I take my photos on the verandah outside. I then edit them on VSCO Cam or Instagram. The following is for Instagram, seeing as it's likely the platform most are using.
Giving them a quick edit is like putting your lippy on before you leave the house. It just brightens up the image and makes it a bit nicer to look at. If the image is bad, no amount of editing will help it. You are better off just taking another shot, even if you have to wait a day if the weather and light isn't obliging. Good daylight is best for photos, you don't want it in the full harsh sunlight and you don't want shadows casting all over your items. Most photos can do with a bit of 'Brighten' and 'Contrast' - try to just touch it up a little. Think of an elegant woman who knows how to do her make up, not the girl in her teens who in experimenting, still cakes on her foundation and wipes on the bright eye shadow. You want the editing to enhance your already nice photo, not mask it completely.
If I have a day where I need to use a bit more brighten and the colour of fabric gets a bit washed out, that is where the 'Saturation' can come in handy - try moving the circle right to increase the intensity of the colour or left if you feel it needs toning down. To make the image a bit clearer, bump the sharpen up a little - not too much because the image will become grainy. Try also touching up your Highlights and Shadows. The Warmth function is also handy if you think the image is looking a bit cold, just bump it up a little and you will see the difference.
When it comes to effects, if you like to use them, try to pick just one that you use all the time. This will keep the colouring of all your images consistent in your overall profile, too many different effects produce a hodgepodge result. Remember less is more, so again just a little of an effect if you must.
At the most, in all of the above, you are only bumping things up the teeniest, tiniest bit.
If you are using a camera and require a computer for editing, Picmonkey is an excellent free program that offers the same features I mentioned above.
With these simple adjustments, a bit of time spent chasing the right light and giving your projects the respect they deserve, you will be surprise at the difference it will make to your photos and Instagram profile. Give it a go, it's quite fun to challenge yourself! And make sure you tag me @dollyhenrymakes on Instagram with your newly edited shots!