Hey makers! In this blog post, we're going to be talking about the three different arrangements you can use for your product photography flat lays. Let's get started.

3 Ways To Arrange a Flat Lay Linear

Style #1 - Linear

Arrangement style number one is linear.

This is a very purposefully arranged style in which all of the items in your flat lay are arranged in a parallel or perpendicular way with one another. Everything is placed in straight lines and looks very neat and organized. This style is great for brands that really focus on things like minimalism and clean style.

It's really great for products that tend to be structured and geometrical anyway, like a stationery or notebooks for example. Another example is garments that are very simple. Maybe you're a big proponent of the capsule wardrobe. It would make sense for your brand to maintain kind of a minimalistic, simplified arrangement for you product photography flat lay.

3 Ways To Arrange a Flat Lay Logically placed

Style #2 - Logically placed

Flat lay arrangement number two is logically placed.

For this style you want to place things in a flat lay the way that they may actually occur in real life.

Let's say you sell journals. You can set up your shot so that there's a coffee mug within arm’s reach, some cute pens, and so on. If you sell lip balm the lip balm could be spilling out of a clutch handbag with some other commonly found things in a handbag (sunglasses, cell phone, etc). So, you set up the shot to look almost like lifestyle photo, almost like it occurs in a real-life situation.
3 Ways To Arrange a Flat Lay Random

Style #3 - Random

Arrangement style number three is random.

This is where you're going to place your props randomly around your product. For this strategy, you want to make sure that your product remains front and center. It should be more or less the largest thing in the shot. It needs to really stand out. It should be right in the center, and other props can be scattered around the edges. They can even be peeking in from the edge of the photo frame. You don't need to capture the entire prop in the photo, but you need to make sure that your product is entirely captured in the photo.

You should place the props in a strategic way to lead the eye toward your product by pointing them in angles towards your product creating lines that lead the eye towards your product.

The important thing to keep in mind when it comes random placement is that you need to make sure that your product is the most obvious thing in the photo. You don't want anyone to look at those kinds of photos and think, "What's really for sale here? It's not really clear what this person is selling." You definitely want to avoid that for all of your flat lays, but especially for the randomly placed strategy. This placement can look really great, but you do need to be careful about planning where you're going to put your props and how you're going to make your product the star of the show.

If you arrange your flat lay so that your product is front and center, it's the largest thing in the photo, have the props be peeking in from the sides, and have them be pointing towards your product leading the eye towards your product, your product will undoubtedly be the focal point.

And that is the three styles of arranging your product photography flat lays that you need to know!

If you're stuck for ideas when it comes to props for your flat lays, be sure to grab my free 90+ prop ideas download. I have listed over 90 ideas for props which will inspire new ideas that are a great fit for your brand and your styled product photos.

For many handmade sellers, product photos are a real thorn in their side. Product photography can feel overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be! If you master these three things, you’ll have gorgeous DIY product photos every time.

  1. Lighting.

Lighting the the MOST important thing when it comes to product photography. Or any photography at all. Photography literally means “drawing with light” and an photograph is create based on the relationship of light with the items in the image. Without great lighting, your photo will have quality issues, colour issues, and the general overall aesthetic of your photo will be poor.

Lighting isn’t an easy thing to master but once you have a grasp on a set up that works for you, you’ll notice a world of difference. Seek out bright, natural light that is indirect - meaning it’s not direct sunbeams. Areas like the shade or near a bright window in your home are good places to start.

If you don’t have a suitable area for natural light, you may have to introduce artificial lights. Avoid using the built-in flash on your camera at all costs. It creates a bright foreground and a dark background in your image which is unsightly and looks unprofessional. Instead, purchase a simple tabletop lighting setup or softbox studio light kit for your setup, or if you have larger items opt for a speedlight (FYI though, only DSLR cameras can use these though). You can check out my recommendations for lighting and other equipment on my Amazon Influencer page here.

  1. Styling.

Styling your product photos is very important in drawing in the attention of your ideal customers, standing out in a sea of product images, growing your social media following, and being featured by influencers.

The key to good styling is keeping it simple and keeping it consistent with your brand. If your brand is all about being eco-friendly and that’s important to your ideal customer, you won’t want to use cheap plastic props like fake flowers. Customers are super savvy these days and they’ll see that inconsistency a mile away. A misstep like that can cost you sales and social media followers.

Choose one or two props that are consistent with your brand message and are a fit for your product. Be careful not to choose props that will overwhelm or take away from your product. Shoppers should be drawn to your product, not the props! Click here to read my blog post on where to find props for your photos.

When arranging your styled photos, keep your product front and center so it’s the star of the show. Arrange props so that they lead the eye toward your product by “pointing” them toward it or have them subtly interacting with your product.

Possibly even better than styled photos are lifestyle photos. Lifestyle photos actually show your product being used in-action in some way. Lifestyle photos create a strong connection between your product and your customers, making them envision your product in their life and making them more compelled to buy. Most product looks even better and more desirable when being shown in action.  

  1. Editing.

Editing can be enough to make some handmade sellers just straight up say “nope, no editing for me thanks.” The programs can be confusing and knowing how to edit correctly can feel unachievable for makers. But, my friends, I am here to tell you right now that it is TOTALLY achievable.

The first thing to know about editing is that you only need to know a few of the tools. How to crop, how to adjust light and dark tones, and how to balance your colours are the main players you need to focus on. If you focus on just those tools, editing suddenly becomes a lot less overwhelming.

A quick note about editing programs: Make sure that your photo editing program enables you to embed a colour profile. Programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom, Affinity Photo, and Snapseed all embed color profiles. Programs like Pixlr do not.

When it comes to cropping, you should crop your product photos at a 5:4 ratio (for Etsy) or square (for your own website). Your photos should be 2000px at least along the long edge.  Next, adjust your image tones. Using the levels adjustment, drag the sliders around until the tones are bright with appropriate amount of contrast. Be careful not to over-do it. Next, balance your colours using the color balance tool. Then, save your product photo (with an embedded color profile!) and you’re good to go!

--

Now that you know what you NEED to know, you’re ready to go out, learn, and conquer your DIY product photos! You’ll find loads of information about these topics here on my blog, in the free Facebook group, in my free webinar and trainings, and of course in my masterclasses and courses.

Got a question? Drop it in the comments!

Last week I answered question of “do you really neeeed a white background for handmade product photos?” and the big answer was NOPE. You do not. But, you do need a simple, neutral background.

Those kinds of background don’t have to break the bank either. Here are 5 ideas for cheap or free backgrounds for handmade product photos.

1. A desk or table top

When I bought my desks (I have two), I bought them both with product photography mind. One is a natural wood, and the other is slightly glossy white. Now you don’t have to go out and buy a new desk (that would hardly be cheap or free, amiright?), but take a look around your house. You may very well already have a cool desk or table with a suitable surface for your product photos.

Hardwood floors may also work. Just make sure that the wood you’re using (regardless of its source) isn’t tinted or stained to create colour-affecting undertones. If the wood is reddish, yellowing, greenish, etc that can seriously impact your photo in a negative way.

2. Contact paper affixed to foam board

One of my favourite DIY background hacks! You can buy contact paper (intended to line shelves or drawers) or even wallpaper and stick it to rigid foam board for a great DIY product photography background.

Don’t forget - you’re going for neutral and no busy patterns. Keep it simple! Avoid glossy finishes (they will make glare-free photos virtually impossible), and opt for patterns that could be table tops, like marble, woods, slates, etc.

3. Posterboard for a seamless background

Ever see one of those product photos where it looks like the product is floating in nothingness? Those are seamless backgrounds. You can buy paper roll seamless background for a chunk of change at a camera store, or if your products are smaller, you can grab a piece of posterboard from the dollar store and make your own seamless background.

To do this, take your posterboard and stick one side of it (the short side if it’s rectangular) to a wall and allow it fall straight down the wall, curve toward the floor (or tabletop) to lay flat on the surface. Place your product on it and start shooting!

4. Scrapbook paper

If you have small products like jewelry, scrapbook paper can be a great option. They’re smaller, easy to store, and inexpensive. They come in a wide variety of patterns and are pretty easily replaceable as well.

Same rules apply as with contact paper and wallpaper. Keep it simple, neutral, and avoiding patterns. Seek out marble, woods, slates, and maybe even a linen texture. Experiment! With scrapbook paper you can afford to.

5. Nature backgrounds (slate, moss, a log, etc)

While not suitable for every brand, this may be one of my very favourite  free or cheap backgrounds. I love incorporating nature into product photos. It creates character, interest, and deepens a connection between the product and the shopper.

Seek out things like slabs of slate, bark, logs, stone, and moss for your product backgrounds. This approach is really only suitable for brand that embrace things like eco-friendly lifestyles, rustic vibes, adventure, and wilderness. But for those brands, this can be a super option.

Now that we’ve outlined some great free or cheap backgrounds for handmade product photography, let’s talk about some backgrounds you want to steer clear of.

- Anything cloth. Cloth is extremely wrinkly and nearly impossible to make look smooth, polished, and professional.

- Bright colours. Unless this is a stand-out characteristics of your brand, you’ll want to avoid bright colours. Colourful backgrounds take away from your product, and can distract and  overwhelm shoppers.

- Patterns. As I’ve mentioned a few times in this article thus far, patterns should be avoided. Patterns clutter up your photo, make it look chaotic, and will make shoppers just keep on scrolling. Your product should never have to compete with the background.

And there you have it! Some awesome free or cheap background ideas for your handmade product photos.  Have a question or comment about backgrounds? Drop it in the comments!

Got a question or comment? Drop it below!

One thing I hear a lot from makers is how difficult it is to get a white background for their handmade product photos. And it’s true, it IS really difficult for the DIY product photographer. But the first thing I asked them is, do you really need a white background for your product photos? The answer usually is “I think I do… Don’t I?”

In short: No. You don’t need a white background.

Back in the day when Etsy first became a thing, the recommendation was that you should use a white background. However, they very quickly changed their tune and dropped that recommendation. If you visit any of their “Editor’s Picks” featured collections, you’ll see a variety of different backgrounds, many of them not white.

First let’s figure out when you do and do not need a white background, then I’ll give you some ideas for some awesome alternatives.

When do you NOT need a white background?

  1. When you sell on Etsy, Handmade at Amazon, or your own website.

There are no requirements for a white background on any of the aforementioned websites. So you’re off the hook!

  1. When it’s not really your brand’s vibe.

Your backdrop for your products should support you brand’s overall vibe. Unless your brand is super clean and minimalistic, it probably doesn’t warrant a white background. Even then, a dark grey background may give a better look. For more info on how branding plays into your product photos, click here.

  1. When your products are white or light in colour.

It can be SO tough to get white or light coloured products to pop on a white background. A camera’s limited dynamic range make it difficult for it separate the tones of your product and the tones of the backdrops. I can be done with a lot of editing, but why make more work for yourself?

  1. When you just CAN’T get it right!

If you’ve tried every which way to get a beautiful white background and you’re about ready to pull your hair out, then know this - you don’t need a white background. You can switch up your background, save yourself the frustration, and make your photos look even better with a different background.

When DO you need a white background?

  1. If it is 100% your brand’s vibe.

If you’re confident that a white background is what you need to express your brand properly, then a white background you should have.

  1. If you sell on regular Amazon.

And I don’t mean if your handmade listings show up in the regular Amazon feed. I mean if you straight sell on regular Amazon, and not Handmade at Amazon. Regular Amazing does require a white background. Handmade at Amazon does not.

  1. If the website/publication/etc requires you to do so.

There are some website aside from Amazon and some publications that may want to feature your products that do require a white background. Read the fine print before you submit to make sure. Also keep in mind that there are loads of websites, publications, social media influencers, bloggers, etc that will want to feature you even without a white background. Maybe especially because you didn’t use a white background, and your photos have more interest and are more editorial.

Okay, so now that you know you don’t have to use a white background - what should you use?

Here are some great guidelines for select a background for your product photos:

- Choose a background that is neutral.

There are many great options out there for background that are simple, neutral and won’t take away from your product. A brightly coloured background can distract from your product and make the photo more about the background than your actual product. The background should be a supporting character, not the star of the show.

- Textures are awesome.

Marble, slate, white washed wood, dark wood, beadboard, shiplap, linen, and so on are all great neutral textures for your products. It’s important to pick one that is a fit your for products, otherwise it’ll feel odd and out-of-place

- Avoid fabric.

Fabric almost always appear wrinkled, messy, and unprofessional. Use thick cut paper or poster board, vinyl, foam board, or specially made photo boards instead.

- Don’t go seamless with a texture background.

Textured backgrounds are meant to emulate things like table and counter top, floors, and the like, so setting them up as a seamless background looks unnatural and unprofessional. The line in the textures don’t curve well and it looks awkward. Use the texture for the bottom only, and use something separate like a white or black foam board for the “wall” behind your product (or an actual wall - that works too).

There you have it! You are now free to drop the white background.

Got a question or comment? Drop it below!

Hey there handmade seller!

If you’re just joining us for the first time, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Amy and I’m a product photographer and educator teaching handmade sellers just like you how to rock their own product photos for their online shops.

‘Cause here’s the thing - I’m about to break some serious news here - without great product photos, your online shop probably won’t succeed. I know, that’s some tough love right there. But I said it because I want you to succeed and because I believe in you. (read all about why product photography is so important in this post)

The good news is that you are not doomed to a life of dreadful DIY product photos and no sales. I’m here to help you transform those “meh” product photos into photos that’ll have shoppers hitting the add-to-cart button faster than you can say “cha-ching”.

The topic of product photography is vast, overwhelming, and often confusing. There’s sooooo much information out there and, let’s be honest, it’s really not directed to you as a handmade seller. That’s why it’s full of technical jargon you don’t understand.

Every resource you’ll find here on my blog and on my YouTube channel was developed with you in mind. It’s the nitty gritty - no muss, no fuss, just exactly what you need to know to start taking great DIY product photos, and quickly.

Because, guess what? Product photography doesn’t have to be super complicated. Once you learn a streamlined and simplified photography process, you’ll be amazed at how your photos will transform.

So let’s get started!

Step #1

You MUST have great lighting.

When it comes to photography, lighting is everything. Literally. The word photography is derived from the greek “photo” meaning light and “graphy” meaning drawing - so, drawing with light. Hence its importance.

But it’s not just words. A photograph is made from the light that comes through the shutter of a camera to hit the sensor. So, great light = great photo.

Light should be soft and even, plenty bright (but not too bright), and the right colour (ie, daylight). Try photographing your product next to a bright window with white foam boards bouncing the light back towards your product. (pictured below)

Step #2

Choose your background.

News flash: Your background doesn’t have to be white.

So many makers think that their backgrounds have to be white, and it’s simply not true. Neutral? Yes. White? No.

If you like a white background, and you’re able to capture it well on camera, that’s great! Don’t change a thing. But so many handmade sellers struggle to take a great photo on a white background and if they’d just let it go, life would be so much easier. So I’m giving you permission. Let it go.

When choosing a background, pick something that is neutral and subtle. Textures are also a nice. Backgrounds like dark wood, white washed wood, marble, slate, beadboard, etc are all great option.

When determining which is right for you, think about your products, your branding, and your ideal customer. Your background should be a fit for all those things. (read more about how your branding play into your product photo in this post)

Step #3

Choose some props.

When it comes to props, you need to keep it really simple. One or two props are plenty. When it comes to social media and brand photos, you can incorporate more props, but for product listing photos it’s important no to do too much.  Too many props confuse buyers, clutters up your shot, and will have people moving on pretty fast. You want your props to be “supporting characters” to your product, not steal the show.

When it comes to choosing props, the same rules apply as they did for the background. They should be a fit for your product, brand, and speak to your ideal customer.

Want to grab my list of 90+ Prop Ideas? Click here!

Step #4

Arrange your shot.

Take care to photograph your products at the correct angle. If not composed properly, the angle can distort the image and make your product look strange or misrepresent it. Photographing your product as a flat lay (“bird’s eye view”) or straight on (“eye level”) is a good place to start.

When arranging props, keep them off to the side and/or in the background. It should be very clear what is for sale in the image and your props shouldn’t take attention away from your product.

 

Step #5

Edit your photos.

Yes, you must edit your photos. A photo isn’t truly complete until it’s edited. Back in the film days, the development process was when images were fine-tuned. In these digital days, the editing process is the same idea. Sure, your digital camera does a bit of this work for you. But it’s just a piece of equipment and its abilities are limited. You don’t let your washing machine pick out your outfits do you? I didn’t think so.

So edit those photos! One of my most commonly asked question is what editing programs and apps I recommend. I recommend Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, available for $9.99 USD a month through the Adobe Photography CC subscription. They are the industry standard when it comes to photo editing and they allow you to embed a colour profile, which is extremely important when it comes to product photos.

Edit your photos for correct tones, size and ratio, and white balance while avoiding faux pas like oversaturation and harsh contrast (read about other editing mistakes in this blog post).

---

And there you have it! You’re already on your way to better DIY product photos.

Got a question? Pop it in the comments!

Until next time,

Amy

Having great product photos for Etsy and your handmade shop is really important. Like, really.

If you want to run a sustainable, legit handmade business, good product photos are one of the major keys to your Etsy success. Other things are important, like SEO, customer service, and actually having a great product, but without good photos none of those things will matter much.

Here are 6 reasons why having awesome product photos is so important for your Etsy shop:

1. They replace the in-person buying experience.

When someone walks into a store and finds something they want to buy, think about what they do. They pick it. They feel it. They turn it over and look at it from different angles. They might smell it. If it opens, they’ll look inside.

Your photos should cover all of those different things that you think a person would do if they were buying your products in person. Help them imagine the feel of your product by capturing the texture of it in a close-up shot. Take photos of it from a variety of different angles. If it has a sense, style one of the photos with something that brings to mind that scent.

2. They communicate quality.

Your product photos are subconsciously (if not consciously) telling your customers what they can expect from the quality of your products.  You may have the best quality product out there, but without high quality product photos no one will ever know.

When shoppers see  a beautiful, well-lit, tastefully styled, and properly edited product photo, that screams “HIGH QUALITY, BUY ME, I’M AWESOME!” Poorly light, strangely styled, and improperly edited (or not edited at all) photos say “I’m not even worth a decent product photo. If you buy me at all, don’t pay more than a few bucks.” That could be farthest thing from the truth, but in the online space, people really do judge a book by it’s cover. In a sea of shops on Etsy, you want to be sure your product stands out.

So essentially, for better or worse, your product photos are speaking to quality of your product. What are you photos saying about your products?

3. They make you stand out.

In the vastness of the worldwide web, people are inundated with images non-stop. You can’t even scroll Facebook without having an ad pushed in your face every sixth post.  Mediocre photos will quickly get lost amongst the noise of the internet, causing your photos, your products, and your shop to be overlooked. Your images need to stand out and make you recognizable - in a good way!

4. They get you featured.

Some of the biggest breakthroughs for small businesses come from being featured, whether it’s by Etsy, a blogger, or an influencer. Some of my own students have had massive success being featured by bloggers with millions of followers. Those kinds of opportunity can be real game changers for your handmade business - but good photos are a must.

Just like customers are attracted to good product photos, so are those who looks for products to feature. Having good photos makes is easy for influencers to feature you. They can simply share your already awesome photo.

5. They attract (the right) customers.

Not only do great product photos attract customers in general, they attract the right ones. Properly styled photos, high quality photos will exude the vibe of your brand and call out to customers who will want to buy your stuff. From the props use you, to your background, to your lifestyle photos - if all of your photos are consistent in their brand messaging, you will consistently attract your ideal customer.

For example, if you ideal customer is adventurous, outdoorsy, and environmentally conscious your photos should include environmentally-friendly props, lifestyle photos outside, and other tools that outdoorsy folks are into to compliment your product. Then, the next time your ideal customer is browsing Etsy (or Pinterest, or Instagram, etc), your photo (and product) will jump out at them.

6. They reduce your chances of returns and unhappy customers.

Having photos that are clear, well-lit, properly edited, and portraying the colours of your product accurately makes it easy for customers to get a accurate sense of your product. Without those qualities in your product photos, customers can easily be mislead into thinking your product is different than how it really is.

For example, if the colours in your photo are off due to incorrect white or a lack of embedded colour profile, your customer may think they’re ordering a purple shirt when it’s really a blue shirt. Before you know it you’ll be facing a return and/or a bad review.

Colour is only one way you need to properly showcase your product. You also need to demonstrate qualities like texture, additional details or features, and the size of your product. You can do all this with different camera angles, special techniques, and by styling your product photos with a prop whose size is commonly known.

---

If you’re feeling a bit panicky about your product photos right now and the thoughts “I’m doomed” is running through your head - don’t worry! I’ve got your back.

Stay tuned to this blog, my YouTube channel, and join my free private Facebook group for more tips, trainings, and tutorials on how you can rock your product photos for Etsy.
Happy snapping,

Amy

I hear this all the time from creative entrepreneurs: "Taking photos drives me crazy. I don’t know what I’m doing. Why do my photos look like crap?"

I know your frustration. Honestly, I do. It’s how I feel when I try to DIY my own website. Sometimes I get a little ragey. One day I will have a web designer on staff so I never have to look at code again. But in the meantime, I’m asking the experts how I can do better. And that’s what this blog is all about: To help YOU do better with your product and brand photos.

There are many components to taking a good brand photo. So much content is going to be shared here in this blog (and let’s not forget my upcoming webinars and e-course) so I want to keep the information in simple, broken-down chunks. Streamlined information will make your life easier and will allow you to implement these tools with more ease.

Today we will discuss the ever-popular flat lay and how you can start styling your flat lays like a pro.

What is a flat lay?

A flat lay is an image taken straight down from above. A birds-eye view, if you will. While technically speaking a flat lay can simply be a photo of a single thing laying flat, the real bones of a flat lay comes in the styling. By styling I mean the props and items that you add to the photos to give it a more branded and editorial feel, to provoke more interest.  At the bottom of this email you will see a link for a free download that includes a styling planner for your flat lay and a list of over 90 props ideas, so be sure to grab that.

With those suggestions in mind, let’s move on to our top five tips for styling an awesome flat lay.

1. Keep your branding at the forefront of your mind.

Your brand vibe & values are of utmost importance when selecting props and creating your flat lays. If your vibe is very earthy and natural it is unlikely that you will style your image with say, bottles of nail polish. Consider some words that come to mind when you think about your brand – Modern? Comfort? Luxury? Feminine? Alternative? Edgy? Your brand should always guide your prop selection.

2. Use props that make sense.

When styling your flat lay, keep in mind what makes sense. If you’re a blogger having a day at the beach and you want a pretty flat lay to go along with that, consider what makes sense for a beach day. Sunglasses, yes. Towel, yes.  Beach bag, yes. Stilettos? Nope. A purse? Naw. No one takes their purse to the beach. That’s what the beach bag is for.

Carefully consider the “genre” or category that your flat lay would fall into and ensure you’re selecting props that would also belong in that category.

3. Carefully select your background.

Your background can add as much to the flat lay as the actual props you use. It can also detract from the image if it’s not a great call. With current trends followers, clients, and customers tend to be most drawn to white, wood, or marble backgrounds. White backgrounds can be created with white bristol board or foam board. Wood backgrounds can be a desktop, a wood floor, or a deck surface. Do be careful of the tone of the wood – some wood, like hardwood floors in older homes, can be very yellowish and does not translate well in a flat lay. The important take away here is that the background should be simple, clean, and allow your products and props to do the muscle work.

4. Carefully arrange your props.

First, consider the dimensions of your image. Is this shot for Instagram and will be square? Perhaps it will be a Facebook cover photo and will be very short and very wide. Or will it be a more standard 4:6 ratio? Planning ahead will help you arrange your props appropriately to ensure you get the most out of your image.

Next, consider the feeling you want your image to give off. Clean, organized perfection? Effortlessly chic and casual? You can either arrange your props in a linear fashion with right angles, or you can arrange them as if they just happened to land in that way and look perfectly fabulous. Both options are great – just depends on how you want the feel of the photo to roll out.

5. Keep it simple.

Perhaps my most valuable tip – keep it simple. Your flat-lay does not need to have 10 different items. Some of the most beautiful flat lays contain just a focal point (ie, a product), and one other styling element. The more you add, the busier it gets, and the more places there are for the eye to go. When it gets too overwhelming to look at, your audience is going to shut off their interest and move on. It’s much more valuable to pick one or two perfect styling pieces that compliment your focal point to keep your audience coming back for more.

Bonus flat lay tip!

Proper lighting is everything.

I won’t delve into too much depth on this subject, because I covered it a bit before in this blog post and will be getting into the more technical aspects of lighting in future posts. But I would be remiss if I didn’t stress it again here. Proper lighting is absolutely instrumental in creating an attractive flat lay. This can be achieved with natural or artificial light, but it must be bright and diffused, meaning the light must not be direct from the source. Some examples of great light sources include next to a bright window (without a direct sunbeam streaming through), a lightbox with lights shining through thin white material, or lights with softboxes. If all this lighting talk feels overwhelming, don’t worry – there are future posts coming your way that will help you master great lighting.

Hello creatives.  Instagram can be quite the powerful selling tool.  There’s something about going to someone’s Instagram page and being sure of exactly what their brand and vibe is all about.  I don’t know about you, but I loooove beautifully branded Instagram accounts.  The best part?  You can totally have one too.  It’s not even as hard as you’d think.  Just following a few guidelines makes a huge difference.  Here are 5 steps to a beautiful, breathtaking, and branded Instagram account.

octoberjuneblog

Lizzie | Creative Life + Style  //  @octoberjuneblog

1. Pick Your Style.

This is where the ‘branding’ part comes into it.  You know your brand and what you’re all about.  Is your vibe elegant? Earthy? Vibrant? Know your brand characteristics and make sure that your images reflect it.  Is your brand kind of vintage?  Make sure that you images support that with the way you edit them to how you style them (more on those things coming soon).  If your brand is vibrant and fun, you’re going to want to include colourful images with fun styling.

jlynndesignery

Jenna Murillo  //  @jlynndesignery

2. Edit your photos consistently.

Avoid major shifts in your editing style from one photo to the next because it disrupts the cohesion of the images on your Instagram page.  For example, if you use a filter that tones down the colour and darkens the shadows to create a bit of a rainy day mood, that’s totally cool (if that works for your brand – see step #1).  But don’t turn around and post a vibrant, bright, and playful image right next to it.  Choose an editing style or filter and stick with it.  It’ll create a cohesive collection of images that fit your style.  I’ll be writing a future post on my picks for the best photo editing apps for smartphones, but now here is one of my faves – A Color Story.  It’s fantastic, allows for lots of flexibility, and you can save your editing steps to be applied to future images.

hayleysolano

Hayley Solano  //  @hayleysolano

3. Style your photos carefully.

Keeping in mind your branding and plan out your styling.  Choose a few items that will compliment your products or images.  You might find that some plant material (leaves, herb bunches, lavender, moss, etc), a unique piece of pottery, a vintage camera, or some cute cookies might really add to your image and make your audience swoon over what you’re selling.  I know I swoon. I’m definitely a swooner.  Just make sure that it's clear from the photo what the product is that you're selling. Also, showing some life in your image from time to time makes an impact as well.  A hand, some wool-socked feet, your face, whatever works.  Style up it, add some life, and watch your collection go from meh to daaaamn.

crownflora

Crown Flora  //  @crownflora

4. Keep is simple.

Having just discussed the value of styling your images, I also must stress – keep it simple.  Too many elements in an image might be okay as a one-off but when you put them all together as they appear in your Instagram feed, it’s just way too much.  It looks busy, chaotic, and just too much for the brain to process.  Your audience is going to click through your account, take a look, and say… Nope. You don’t want to overwhelm your potential followers with too many details.  They should show up, see simple, beautiful images and want more.  Some ways to keep it simple include sticking to a general colour palette, keeping your styling minimal (but intentional and carefully selected), and being consistent with your editing as mentioned previously.

mamableudesigns

Laura Clauson  //  @mamableudesigns

5. Always (always) use high quality images.

There’s nothing that messes up a gorgeous collection of images faster than one low-light, grainy, or out of focus image.  There is just something about one crappy quality photo that brings down the whole works and says your brand may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.  I know, that’s a lot of pressure.  But that’s why you’re here, right?  You know how important high quality images are.  If you have a DSLR camera (and know how to use it), you’re going to get the best image using that.  Use your highest quality camera as much as possible.  If you do use your smartphone, just make sure that you’re using good lighting and edit the images carefully and appropriately.  You can check out my post, The Key To Taking Better Photos With Your Smartphone, for more info on how to do that.

There ya go, friends!  I hope you find this helpful.  You can do this. I believe in you!

If you have any questions or additional tips, please share them in the comments.

Until next time,

Amy

Let's Meet on Instagram

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.