Social Media Photography 101: Shooting Flat Lays with an iPhone
Teresa Earnest Photography is now Teresa Earnest Social (I can’t believe I just typed that!) This shift in my business has been a long time coming. From learning about storytelling from Libbie Summers at the 2017 Summit to the first time I heard Waiting on Martha speak about social media in 2016 (twice!) I knew that I needed more social media in my business.
In the past 3 years I’ve mentored college students, friends and other entrepreneurs about their own paths…and encouraged at least half a dozen of them to begin a social media marketing firm. I’ve followed other firms I admire closely and even partnered with some for my own clients. And then for 9 months last year, I worked with a client and was solely responsible for their Instagram, from creating the content, posting and engaging with the audience. It wasn’t just a photography business any more. In that time, the account grew from less than 100 followers to 50k. I realized that the combination of creating fun, original content–using photos and videos–paired with the management and engagement on social is the magic sauce. So TES was born.
I get that hiring a firm for content creation and social media management isn’t for everyone–or not at first at least. But from my experience, I can promise that there are fun, simple things a brand can DIY to create good visual content…and push that content onto their social channels, which is want to share with you.
“There are fun, simple things a brand can DIY to create good visual content…and push that content onto their social channels.”
Through a series of articles, I’ll be sharing some photography tips on how you can begin making your social media shine a little brighter! Some topics we will discuss:
- How to take the best selfie you’ve ever taken. Ever.
- Shooting food and cocktails with an iphone (and then I will drink the cocktail, duh)
- Having fun in Stories, because honestly that’s where all the fun is!
- Shooting interiors with a real, actual camera (gasps).
But first I want to delve into how you can start shooting flat lays of your products…at home. With an iPhone. I’ll be demonstrating these tips live on The Southern C’s Instagram on Friday, July 6th, but if you missed it or simply want a recap, I’ve included them below.
Tips for Shooting Product Flat Lays with an iPhone
- Keep it simple and clean; less is more with a flat lay image.
- Use a clean white surface or marble counter top (inexpensive faux vinyl marble works well too!) Some of the ones I personally use for commercial clients:
- Always shoot in natural light when possible.
- Keep a piece of white foam core or poster board close by to reflect light and fill in shadows.
- When using an iphone you can tap different areas on the screen to “expose” areas of the photo and make the image brighter or darker.
- Use 1-2 small props for interest, like a small succulent or item that goes well with your product.
- If your product wants to roll away from you, use small elastic hair ties or pennies to keep them in place
- Once you have captured the photo you want, edit in your favorite app. I use Snapseed and prefer “tune” where I typically increase exposure and sharpness.
- I will often use the camera in stories to grab a photo, swipe to a favorite filter, and save the image to my camera roll. That is quick and easy and I feel like I get more image that way!
- There are great apps like Facetune that allow you to erase shadows, if needed.
If you have any questions on shooting flat lays, please let me know in the comments below!