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27.3.16

Tips for Instagram minimalist-style flatlay's

If you're following me on Instagram (which I know you aren't) you may have (or haven't) noticed a reoccurring theme. Aside from turning my feed into a, and I quote, "flatlay lifestyle diary," I seem to only take shots that are quite minimal. And I mean minimal as in simple with not a whole lot going on. Not in a black-and-white way because, you know, your girl loves her pink accents and pops of pastel colour. 
I just don't think I could commit to a boring, washed-out, colourless theme. So sorry, can't do it. 

Maybe it's because I'm growing lazier and can't be arsed to put on a whole production for Insta. Or maybe it's because I only photograph coffee and flowers these days. But it may also be because I find it pleasing to my eye. Stripping a flatlay down to the bare minimum, with an emphasis on what I'm photographing. And nothing more. 

We all have our own preferred photographic styles and ideas of what we find aesthetically pleasing. But simple, low-key shots of coffee mugs, flowers and food against a simple colour-blocked background, instantly get a "like" and even a "follow" from me. 
And you know what they say; monkey see, monkey do. 

Am I the greatest at the #minimalist flatlay? Probably not. Do my shots get thousands of likes? Hardly. But have I found a simple, fool-proof recipe for putting together a basic minimal Insta shot? I think I may have. 
So. 

My tips for the perfect minimalist flatlay - according to me. 

Step one. Start with what you want to photograph. Obviously. 

This is the biggest no-brainer but also makes total sense. What your subject is, will depend on how you style it. And what backdrop to photograph it against. Something with detail, like an elegant bouquet of flowers, should be shot against a plain backdrop. So you can emphasise the flowers. 
However, a boring coffee cup will be more interesting against a patterned backdrop. 

Step two. Select your backdrop. 

The best minimal flatlay's (IMO) always have a backdrop. Never a busy road or car park where there are too many details. That'll also look really, sloppy and lazy. 
If you're at home, shoot it against a plain surface. A black, white, wooden, marble or subtle patterned table top. Pull out a sheet of cardboard in a colour of your choice, or print out a marble pattern on paper. 
If you're out, find a clean surface or even take advantage of wooden benches to give your shot a rustic feel. If you find a fab, even coloured, wall, hold your subject up against it. 

Step three. Keep it super simple.

Now it's time to lay it down. Keep your shot simple, don't overcrowd it. Either shoot your subject on its own against your backdrop or throw in a maximum of two other props. 
Adding a potted plant or two looks natural and won't look out of place. They may even look like they're meant to be there. Candles are great for this too. 

Step four. Get your hands in the frame (optional.)

This is my go-to. My signature if you will. 
It's not for everyone and it isn't important. But if you want to spice up a basic shot get your hand/s in there. 
Hold your subject, place your hand flat, get a tripod out and hold something with both your hands. Get creative with it, but make sure it looks organic. 

Step five. Create a unique signature for your theme. 

Also optional. But try and create an ongoing pattern with each of your shots. Something that others will be able to recognise, something that resonates with your personality, or something that makes you feel the most comfortable.
Either it's a certain colour you always include a specific angle or editing technique, whatever. 
A little signature will always spice up your minimal shot and make it a little less "boring." 

Notes:

It's always a good idea to have some sort of plan for how you want your shots to look. Before you start shooting. What do you want your results to be like? 
What says "you" the most?
What style of shots do you like, and how can you go about creating them? 

And most importantly, have fun! 

There really isn't much of a "method" to minimal flatlay's. But I have found my little recipe doubles as a checklist to getting the right kind of shot I want. 
Of course, not everyone likes this kind of Insta shot, which is fine, you do you and find what you like the most.

And then get it, girl!

Photos by Sheree Grace
And via Instagram

- Sheree
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Any and all posts that are sponsored or include gifted items will be identified in each post with an individual disclaimer at the bottom of the post stating the nature of it (as either sponsored or gifted.)
All photos are taken by ©Sheree Grace for Kindly, Sheree unless stated otherwise. Posts will always have an indication at the bottom verifying photo credits if sourced elsewhere. Photos by Sheree Grace are not to be taken or used without permission and must be credited with a link if given.