Donut Flat Lays: Tips for Better Overhead Photos | Tabitha Park | Skillshare

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Donut Flat Lays: Tips for Better Overhead Photos

teacher avatar Tabitha Park, Product & Food Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Prep and Inspiration


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Composition and Styling


    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.

      Artificial Light Setup


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Improve your Flat Lays with Donuts! In this class I'll be talking through ways to improve your DSLR and Smartphone photos through:

  • Studying images to understand lighting better
  • Utilizing beautiful window light
  • Composition tricks
  • Improving your shooting technique
  • Editing your images with VSCO, PS Express, Instagram, and Adobe Lightroom
  • and a bonus Artificial Light Workaround for pictures after the sun sets

This class has a lot of information aimed at beginner photographers but is also peppered with technical nitty-gritty. Ideal for anyone looking to freshen up their Instagram feed or create captivating product photos.

Or if you're just looking for an excuse to buy a dozen donuts... I get it ;)

Meet Your Teacher

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Tabitha Park

Product & Food Photographer

Top Teacher

Hi! I'm Tabitha and I teach photography classes. I'm a lifestyle, product, and food photographer living in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, our 17 gorgeous chickens, and Smallcat! I love plants and coffee and naps. In my spare time I'm a reckless gardener (irl and in Stardew Valley), and unapologetic hobby starter. Currently hyperfixating on crochet, embroidery, and spoon carving!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi. I'm Tabitha. In this photography class, I'm going to show you how to take better flat lays. Flat lay photography is that clean, classic shot from above style image that you're going to see all over your Instagram feed. We're going to go beyond the typical Instagram usage, and I'm going to show you how you can implement this technique into improving your food blogging or recipes, your travel photography and your projects, different things that you might be working on, as well as product photography and even portraits. I'm going to lead you through ideal lighting setups, as well as camera settings, shooting tips, composition and styling and editing. Throughout this class, I use my DSLR and my smartphone. Whatever you have will do the trick. For the class project, we are going to be taking delicious doughnut flat lays. I'm super excited. I ate a ton of doughnuts in preparation for this class. I hope you're just as stoked as I am about it. My name is Tabitha. I am a lifestyle family and baby photographer, a content creator for Instagram, and I also teach a bunch of classes here on skill share. I can't wait to get started and share all these ideas with you so grab a doughnut and let's begin. 2. Prep and Inspiration: Before we get started, it is important to nail down exactly why you're taking the picture that you're about to take. For this class, our end goal is a picture to show on skill share, or post on Instagram and so we need to keep that in mind. It doesn't need to be taken with a DSLR, it can be taken with a smartphone. Either way, just identifying where the image is going to end up is important. If I was to take product photos for a company, I'm going to use my DSLR because I want the best, highest quality pictures that I can come up with. That's going to be important because those are images that I'm going to sell if that makes sense. If I am just water coloring on a nice Sunday afternoon with my BFF, I can take pictures with my smartphone and share them on my personal Instagram and just that's where they live and die, and I'm cool with that. Thinking about this and tailoring your equipment and your technique to where you're going to end up is important and it's good to think about that and get it in your mind before you get started. Another thing that I like to do is seek out some inspiration. I am a big fan of Pinterest. I don't know if it's obvious, but I love Pinterest and I have been saving some beautiful flat lays in a pin board and I have organized it all for you so that you can go take a look. Typically, when I'm looking for inspiration on Pinterest, it's not so that I can copy the image exactly, it's more so that I can get a similar feel or that look or mood, or even just straight up trying to emulate that same lighting style. A lot of what I do on Pinterest is find images that I like and then try to figure out why I like them and how I can replicate that in my own work. Let's look at Pinterest real quick. All right. Here is my Pinterest flat lay board. I will leave a link to this in the project section so you can come check it out. I've organized each of these sections by what kind of style or type of image it is. We've got repetition, these are the ones that you would use for a recipe, these are your cafe lifestyle inspired images. We've got negative space, these finely, meticulously organized pictures, portraits and travel. Unsurprisingly, travel is the one with the least amount of actual doughnut photos, but you can get the same idea that way. Anyway, so just starting at the top, we've got these are the repetition pictures that I found that I really like. You can see a lot of similar themes. We've got donuts laid out, sometimes they're in a grid and sometimes they're on the diagonal, sometimes are just in a pile, but basically everything in here is going to be your pretty simple layouts with multiple doughnuts. I don't think anything in here would just be a single doughnut. Then over here in our recipe board, this is where you've got whisks and spoons with icing and sprinkles and other ingredients, that type of thing. Then our cafe and lifestyle picture, these are more like really super Instagram kind of feel. You've got your book in the edge of a MacBook, some flowers here sitting in bed with breakfast, that feel and then also a lot of lattes in here. Lattes and doughnuts are BFFs, so they're photographed together quite often. Let's dive into lighting a little bit. I just wanted to show you how I read an image to interpret the lighting. Let's pick up this picture right here. One thing that's really nice about doughnut photography in general is that it has this glaze that catches light. That's your first giveaway as to where the lighting is going. We have our highlights and our shadows. The highlights in this picture here indicate that the light is coming from this direction and shining down on the doughnut this way and that is supported by the fact that we have shadows coming off of the bottom of the doughnut. That's how you can tell the light that they're using for this image is coming from this direction. You can see that it is a somewhat diffused. We don't have perfectly harsh straight shadow lines here. They're a little bit soft and so that gives me the notion that it's probably an overcast day or the sun has just set, maybe it's first thing in the morning. We've got some pretty strong light coming in through the window, but it's not direct sun. I'm guessing this is a window. It's just really clean crisp lighting They're shooting on what looks like a rusty cookie piece of metal and that gives it a rustic feel I like a lot. Then you can see they've stacked these doughnuts a little bit right here. This doughnut right here, these little pieces are little bit out of focus, so that is something to keep in mind. If you're working on a flat lay and you've got a depth of field that's really narrow so you're shooting with F 1.8, the things that are closer or further away are going to be more out of focus than what is our main focus, which would be basically anything at this plane, if that makes sense. That one was easy because we had a giveaway in the frosting, but maybe let's do this one. This one is way diffused. You can see this shadows are a lot bigger, but softer. This one, you can see the lighting is coming from this direction based on the angle of the shadows and it is much softer. I would say they probably are shooting through a big white curtains. They have a big window with a white curtain that's diffusing a lot of this light. I wouldn't be surprised if they are also using a reflector. The reason that I am getting this notion is, well first of all, because it's pretty evenly lit throughout. If this was just a window, it'd be really bright here and a lot darker here and so because these are very similar, this is a little darker but not significantly darker, I'm thinking that they're probably using a reflector. If you look on the very edge of this metal tray, you can see it's lit up and that is probably lit up by that same reflector. I'm thinking of a reflector with a big giant window for this picture here. Let's see if we can find something completely different. This one is really moody and it's lighting that's coming from below. That's a little less common usually because if you're shooting this shot and the light's coming from here, you might be in the way. A lot of times this picture would be taken from the side and then rotated if that makes sense. The lighting is coming from the bottom right, and that's supported by these big deep shadows. This one, I would say probably does not have a reflector shining into it. We've got our big bright window, late afternoon light, it's cooler in tone, it's not as warm as it would be if you are shooting midday. Then, because these deep shadows are not lit up and even this stripe of glaze right here, you can see it's lit up by this side really harshly and not lit up at all from the back and so I would say that this shot they did not use a reflector for. I think partly it is because they wanted to show off really contrasted raking light. They're showing off all these textures even with the backdrop. It's super textured, giving it more of a crunchy industrial feel versus a really soft, airy look, like you would get with this one. This one super airy, has hardly any shadow at all, so I would say they've got a reflector shining in there. The light's coming from over here, but really it's just spilling over the entire photo, lighting it up, giving you that bright, clean, crisp look. Feel free to come take a look at my pin board and get some inspiration. One board that I find interesting is this portrait board. This was really hard to fill because portraits are not often taken from above unless they're taken with a drone. I tried not to do too many drone pictures in here because I don't have a drone. I'm guessing most of you probably don't have a drone, but these ones are the focuses on the people. This one I could've saved into the cafe style picture. You can see this is a very common theme. I could have saved it there, but I felt like they are telling more of a story than their coffee is and so that lent it more toward being a portrait. This one is one of mine. I took this one just to fill this pin board. This is my neighbor and he's got the doughnuts on his face and that is taken flat on the ground to support the flat lay style. Same with this one, laying on the ground, we've got hair everywhere and giving that spring feel. There's a lot of different kind of ideas in here, but all of them are flat lays and include a person or animal of some sort. Lastly, the travel board. Again, this one is a mishmash of other things. This one's finally organized and that's a drone shot right there, but this is just to give you an idea. You don't just have to be making pictures for baking, you can incorporate flat lays no matter what kind of pictures that you're trying to take. 3. Lighting: All right. Let's talk lighting. This section is all about lighting. If I can just tell you one thing that is probably the most important thing to getting better images is to not have to deal with mixed lighting. If you've taken any of my other classes, you know that this is like my thing, do not mix lighting. If you are using a big window, turn off all the other lights in the room. Here in my office, it's bright enough that I can just use my window, but I would never ever film with my overhead lights on, or with a lamp on while I'm using the light from outside. Don't mix your lighting because it creates multiple shadows that are different colors, and you have to decide, do I want to white balance my image for the light coming out of the ceiling, or the light coming from the sky. The best day to take pictures is an overcast day where you get those big clouds that cover up the sky and it seems dark and your house and dreary, just pull out your camera and make some magic happen. The best time of day when you have a sunny day to take pictures is first thing in the morning and late afternoon, when the sun isn't straight up in the sky, but more on the side, this creates that beautiful side lighting like I'm going to show you next to a window that we want for beautiful effective images. There's two different kinds of lighting styles that I'm going to talk about in this class, and so the first is called utilizing raking light. Raking light is the light that scrapes across the top of your subject and highlights any of the hard contrast or texture in your subject. If you're photographing cookie and it has beautiful chocolate chips all over it, the raking light, the light that scrapes over the top is going to catch anything that's bumped up and then cast a shadow, and so this is going to give you more textured and crunchy looking images. Then the other lighting style is more diffused, evenly lit images utilizing a big reflector, and so these I would set up really close to my window, and I'd have a big poster board, or a big phone cord that the window light bounces off of and fills in my shadows as best as possible. This is going to give you your clean, crisp images, typically the ones that you'll see on Instagram because they're classic and beautiful and effective. Here's my setup for my textured shot with the raking light, I'm set up on my kitchen table about eight feet away from my big back door window. I'm not in the main beam of diffused light that my window is giving them on the edge, and that helps make my shadows more pronounced and give me the texture and contrast that I'm looking for. One thing to keep in mind, I'm not currently using a reflector in this image, but my walls in my kitchen are a really light gray color. If the light were to hit the wall, it would act as a reflector in those pictures, and so if you're shooting in a really bright room, you need to keep in mind that your walls could be reflectors inadvertently. With this image, it didn't really have an effect and so I was able to get the contrasted look that I was going for without having to add a black film core board to absorb the extra light, if that makes sense. Then this next scene is showing you how to get the clean classic white looks. I'm set up on a role of white banner paper about two feet away from my big bright window. I'm on the floor, so my light can go over my entire donut, it'll hit that reflector, which is just a piece of white film core being held up with clamps. It'll hit the reflector and then it will bounce into those shadows. You can see I have a very small soft shadow and that helps give me that beautiful, clean, crisp image that I am looking for. Hopefully, this was helpful to get an insight into how I shoot in my kitchen, and you can apply these same techniques and tips to getting better images in your house. 4. Composition and Styling : Next I want to talk composition. Composition is one of those things that seems daunting when you first start thinking about it but ultimately you just have to let your brain make these decisions for you. We can look at two images and know which one of them we prefer and a lot of times we don't know why. So composition puts a why to those automatic assumptions that our brain makes about images. One of my favorites rules is the rule of tangents. Tangents are anytime something in the image gets too close to the edge and it leads your eye off of the frame or makes you nervous. We don't want to create tension in our images, we don't want to leave people's eyes off the frame. So avoiding putting anything important that close to the edge where it's touching or there's not that little bit of ease for your eye between the item and the edge is one thing that's going to improve your photos. Another thing is making sure that things don't go directly off of a corner. If you've got a string and your picture, make sure it comes off of the edge higher or a little bit in, not directly out the corner because that is going to lead your viewers eye directly off your image and you don't want that. So tangents are important than there that little trick that I like to use when I'm trying to decide between two almost exactly the same images, if that makes sense. Another thing that a lot of people do is utilizing the rule of thirds. So if you're shooting, you can turn on a grid and it will show a tic tac toe. What you want is to keep the important things on one of the crosses, one of the four different spots where the lines cross on an image. This is also a good way to line up horizons. If you're taking landscape photos, you want to keep your horizon on the bottom, third line or the top third line, instead of just right down the middle, which would cut your picture in half. I feel like nowadays we've got these rules or whatever but the important thing to note is even if you know all the rules and utilize the rules, it's okay to break them sometimes. You know what's best, you can see in your image if that's effective or if that's the story that you want to tell. So it's okay to stray every now and again, if that makes sense. Other ways to have better composition is telling a story in your images. So I've set up here to emulate the look of a coffee shop. We've got the coffee cup, we have some foliage that might be on the table. Her plate, her donut. I realize this bowl of almonds is a little awkward. So I take it out because it doesn't really relate. You can choose whether the items in your picture are there for aesthetic value, to give you a beautiful image, or if they actually serve a purpose in illustrating a moment or telling a story that way. Patterns, when we're photographing our donuts we have a few different kinds of ideas that we can do. We've got the single donut on a plate, a close-up, a bite taken out of it. We have multiple donuts. You can do a donut grid, and this is a very exact, perfect type of photo that is very pleasing to the eye. So when you're taking this kind of picture, making sure that everything is exactly placed and not off or out of line will also be something that's visually stunning to look at. I'm sure you've seen those images where you have a series of items and everything is perfectly laid out and it just feels good to look at. It looks nice and it's beautiful. Then you see the images where they didn't put the manhole cover on straight and there's a line and it's often, it makes people crazy. We don't want to make people crazy. We want to make people experience a mood or a feeling in a story and create beautiful images that are nice to look at. Repetition, that's going into showing a pattern. Having lots of similarly shaped items or objects in a picture is going to be more pleasing to look at. Negative space, if you are creating images that are eventually going to have text thrown on them, it's important to make room for that text. If you're just trying to find more creative picture or ways to style your images, negative space is a great thing. You don't have to fill up the whole frame evenly. You can have visual weight on the bottom third or the top third of an image to get a different look that way. So that's one thing that I like to do is to incorporate visual weight and trying to balance my images that way. So sometimes I'll have a lot of donuts in the bottom of a picture and then some sprinkles gathering up and so it's like a slow fade. A lot of it is just practice. You just lay things out, take a picture, adjust a few things, take another picture. Then when you're going through after you can see what worked and what didn't and what was more effective and why. Another thing that I like to add to an image is a little bit of human touch. You'll see every now and again, you've got just a hand in the corner of the picture holding a donut, or touching the edge of a plate or something like that, or doing things. That adds an element of difficulty to a picture, I feel like. When I see a picture like that, I'm like, "Is that their hand or is that a friend's hand?" I'm one step away from taking a picture like that because it's just me, I don't have a person around all the time who wants to put their hand in my picture. So either they're taking a picture and putting their hand in it, which is tricky to get the right angle, or they've got a friend and they're taking pictures when their friends are there, and that helps create a story that way. I think that it's so important to check the back of your camera as you go. If you're shooting and you're just thinking things are going well, but you don't stop to look, sometimes you'll notice things looking at the picture after the fact versus when you're taking them that you wouldn't have noticed otherwise. If you can catch it while you're still shooting and fix it, you can take better pictures that way without having to go back, look at your pictures and be like, "Why didn't I just move that weird red thing out of the corner of the picture. " You can edit out that stuff a lot of times, but taking the best pictures that you can in camera is going to make your process a lot smoother in the end. Lastly, I like to incorporate odd numbers, so I usually don't photograph something that's just two items because if it's two people have to decide "Do I look at this one or that one, this one or that one." Whereas if you have a third, sometimes it creates like a triangle shape and that leads your eye around the picture. That's not to say that pictures of things of two isn't effective because it totally can be. If you're feeling like your pictures look stale, maybe add something or take something away. Adding items that contribute to the picture or taking away items that don't will help your images be more effective that way. I'm just going to lead you through a simple styling setup that I have done so that you can see what's going through my mind as I'm working and how I am adjusting things to get better shots. Here is my setup. I'm on white banner paper with a foam core board to bring light back into the edge of the photo. I've got a plate, a tittle, a fork. I'm actually taking the edge of a glass to cut off the damaged part of the donut. My cat actually landed in this donut and so I still want to use it so I have to reshape it and make it look pretty again, taking all the cat hairs off and meticulously placing all these little crumbles so that it doesn't look too poised, but still looks natural and gives off a lifestyle feel. So once I have the donut shaped how I like, I can start shooting. You can see here I'm adjusting things as I go and changing my settings. I decided to change it up at this donut box in the corner of my frame. Maybe take out the tea towel, just moving things around and trying different things. I decide to style it without the plate to give it a really clean, crisp natural feel. So I have to position all my little crumbs back in the picture. Then I think I'd like the lighting to hit the bite side of the donut. So instead of repositioning my donut, I actually turn my backdrop completely around, adding my phone cord to bounce that light back in and shoot that way. So here are some of the dynamic images that I was able to get during this session. Different looks without changing a whole lot. This is especially nice if you're trying to fill up a feed, an Instagram feed. You don't have to do a whole lot of work and still get a lot of beautiful images to choose from. 5. Shooting: Let's get into the nitty gritty of actually taking the picture. When we're shooting a flat lay, the key things are: you need to be higher than your subject, and you need to be parallel with the background. We want a nice flat background, and we want to make sure we are taking pictures that, like if I'm using my phone, and this is my background, I need it to be exactly parallel. I don't want to be shooting like this, because then I'm gonna get depth of field and it's not technically a flatlay. We need to somehow get above our subject and not rocking our phone, or camera side-to-side, we want to get a nice flat parallel picture, so that everything in our frame is going to be flat and give off that look, if that makes sense. An awesome little trick that you can use on your iPhone is to open up the settings, go down to your camera turn, on the grid, pull up your camera. You'll see you've got your grid on your screen, but you also have a little white and a little yellow cross-hair. Once they are aligned, it turns yellow and that's how, you know, you're perfectly parallel with your backdrop. I had no idea the setting existed until I was recording this class, and I love it. That's a little trick for you. Another thing to keep in mind is our focal distance. If we've got everything on a flat surface and we have a plate of cookies here and a tall vase of flowers here, and we're shooting like this, the vase is going to appear closer to the camera than the cookies. If you're focused on the cookies, the vase is going to be out of focus. It might create a sore spot for your eye if you're looking at this scene and you've got this big blurry vase in the side of the picture and then everything else is in focus. It's important to keep all the important subjects on the same focal plane. If I'm shooting here and I've got a plate that brings my cookies up a little higher and I've got a fork that's a little bit higher, I want everything that's important to be on a similar plane, so that I don't have things that are focus and out-of-focus, if that makes sense. Depth of field is something to consider, when I'm choosing my lenses and I'm taking a picture like this. If I'm doing a really, really sharp, beautiful close-up picture and I'm using my macro lens, I need to make sure that everything I'm photographing is in that same plane. Otherwise, I'm going to have really, really blurry background, which can be effective in these kind of images, but it's just something that you need to consider. For a lot of the pictures that I take with my DSLR, I'm using a prime lens. I typically shoot with the Nikon or the Sigma 35-millimeter lens. It's 35, it doesn't zoom in or out, it's just the one focal distance. If I want it to be further away, I have to back up or get closer that way. A prime lens is going to be faster and sharper, it typically is able to offer you wider apertures. You can go down to like 1.4 or 1.8, and this just means that it lets more light in. Because we're doing a lot of our flat lays inside using a window light, it's nice to know that you're using a lens that can keep up with you if that makes sense. A prime lens is always my first suggestion. Using a 35-millimeter or a 50 millimeter, you can still get a good crop without having to be miles away from your picture. I'm thinking with using an 85 millimeter or 105, you are cropped in a lot closer at the same distance, and so you have to get higher, to get the whole scene and really just sticking with the 35 or the 50. If you go lower than that, if you're using an 18. If you have a zoom lens and you're zoomed out to 18, or maybe you're using a wide angle, you're going to start to see like your feet or the step stool that you're on. A lot of that tends to show more of what's in the picture than what you want. Trying to keep everything that you want in the picture and nothing that you don't, is one thing that you have to keep in mind when you're selecting a lens. If you're using your phone, you're stuck with whatever lens that you have, if you've got the new iPhone, you've got the portrait mode, which is awesome. I know a lot of other phone companies have better lenses. I'm just working with an iPhone 6S Plus. I just used what I have and do what I can to create best images possible with that. A lot of times it works out really well, so don't discard your phone even if it's not the brand new or fanciest one. You can still get effective images if you've got beautiful lighting and great subject to photograph. Another thing that's important when you're shooting is to make sure that you have crisp focus. If you're holding your phone over a subject and you're trying to get it perfect, and your arm is shaking and it's a little bit dim in your room, your pictures are not going to be crisp and it's not going to be something that you want to share on Instagram, or print out and put in a portfolio anywhere. It's important to hold really still, or have enough light that you can use a faster shutter speed so that takes that shakiness out of the way. You can also set up a ladder and rest your arms on the ladder and take a picture that way so that your arms are more stable. I know that especially with DSLR's, they can be very heavy and hard to hold perfectly up. Mine has a little viewfinder that adjusts so I can click it out and then look into my viewfinder. I know if I'm straight up without having to peak over the edge, if that makes sense. With a phone, the screen is big enough that typically you can see if what you're going to get is exactly flat in the frame and everything is in focus. If you want to shoot with a tripod, if you want to get a hand in the bottom of the picture and you don't have a friend, or you're taking a series of images and this is going to be easier if everything's the same, you can set up a tripod, but you have to keep in mind that you need the legs to be far enough away that they're not going to be in your frame, and you need your camera to be close enough to get those out, or crop them out later, but try to get them out of the frame when you're shooting. A tripod can be really helpful, you set up on the floor and you put the tripod over it and you aim your camera at it. Depending on your focal length and your distance from your subject, you can really get effective images this way. You can actively adjust and look at your viewfinder and make sure things are going how you want, without having to hassle a camera around your neck and set it down and pick it up and move around. A tripod is definitely an extra hand in a session. If you want that, that's always an option for these kind of images. You can always set up on a table, but keep in mind if you're setting up on a table, likely you're going to have to get up on the table to get the shot that you're looking for. One thing that I like to do is to set up on the floor. I'm sure you've seen those like, "Here's me just sitting in my bed enjoying my morning coffee and reading a magazine," type pictures. You can stand on someone's bed and try not to get the bed wobbliness in the picture, and straddle them and just get that shot that way, or you can just lay a comforter out on the floor and pretend that you're in bed and get that fluffy comforter look without actually having to be in the bed. Comforters are also a lot more portable than beds are and so if the lighting is better outside on an overcast day than it is in your house, drag the comforter on your lawn and take pictures that way. IJust know that if you're photographing on a lawn, you'll get a lot of green light reflecting onto your picture, maybe stick with the driveway. If you can't set up on the floor, or you can't get far enough away, it helps to have a step stool or a ladder. Just be careful if you're leaning precariously over things not to fall onto your subject, and hurt yourself. Obviously observe safety precautions. You don't want to drop your camera or your phone. You want to have a very sturdy stance. One thing that I like to do is just separately keep my legs like a tripod further away, so that they're on either side of what I'm shooting, and it feels more sturdy. I'm not on my tiptoes leaning forward, I'm grounded and I'm shooting down. That's one thing that I like to do that makes things a little easier. When you are taking pictures, it's good to mix things up. If you are setting up next to a window and you want the lighting to come down over your subject, obviously you're going to set up so that your windows here and your subject is here and the light comes over the top of it. If you want the light coming at an angle, so you've got shadow's going down, turn your subject if you can't turn your light source. If you're shooting with window, you can't turn your light source, so you have to turn your subject. Being able to be dynamic and working with your chute, changing your setup. If you set up on a board, that's a lot easier to turn that if you set up on the floor and then you have to turn each individual piece, if you want to change the angle of the shadows. That's just a tip that I like to use if I set up on paper or if I set up on chalkboard, I can turn the whole board if I need to. If something is getting more shadow, then I can adjust things that way and then utilizing reflectors and bouncing light back in as much as I can that way is a way to create effective images. Then I've said this before, if you watch classes, if you're wearing brightly colored things and the light is hitting you, it's going to bounce back onto your image. It's effectively the same as having mixed lighting because you're casting weird colors into your image that you can't really edit out later. When I shoot, I like to try and where all neutral colors or put a hoodie on that's black, or white, or gray and shoot that way so that I don't have to worry about that kind of stuff. 6. Editing: So for me, editing is huge. I never share images that have not been edited. I always edit my pictures, I take as best of clean crunch images as I can in camera, but then there's so much more that you can do to make your picture stand out. Just with editing, even just a little bit. So things that I like to go over is making sure that my exposure is nice and bright. A lot of times when we're shooting with our phones are in dimmer situations, you can tend to get a little bit dark photos and so being able to bring those up to their correct whiteness and lightness is going to make them a lot more beautiful and strong. I like to increase the contrast, make things that are black blacker and things that are white whiter and then I also like to sharpen my image, especially when I'm posting on Instagram. Like your image gets soft and with retina screens now like you want your picture to be the sharpest possible. Often times I'm drawn to a picture just because I'm how crazy sharp is that picture? I look at it and I'm like, how did they get it so sharp? It's a series of sharpening, It's using the right lenses and holding very still when you take your picture, sharp pictures are beautiful case and it's important not to over sharpen especially if you've got a picture that's not, it's a little bit soft if you over sharpen, it can look crunchy and fake, so you've got to find that sweet spot between over sharpened and perfectly sharpen if that makes sense. For all my DSLR images that I take, I just like pop my memory card in my computer and edit them all with lightroom. If I have any major photo changes that need to happen, I can pull the image into Photoshop, but typically everything that I do can be done in lightroom. If you're using your phone, there's a few apps I'm going to show you that I like to use. One of which is the Photoshop app. It's Photoshop Express, PS Express. I like using this app and I just started using this app because it has a Spot Healing Brush. When I took these pictures of powdered donuts, I had all these little grease spots for my donuts because I moved around my scene a lot and I was like, 'why don't they just roll out a clean sheet of paper?' Well, I already ate that donuts so like I couldn't shoot him again. I could spot heal and so you can just sit and tap your screen and it will take out those extra little grease spots and give you that clean, crisp, impossibly perfect picture that you're looking for. I also like to edit using the VSCO app. I don't know if it's via VSCO or Visco. I've heard both. I usually say Visco, but then my sister corrects me so I don't know. The VSCO app, Visco. I use the apple app because it has a lot of strong editing capabilities and I can end up with a picture that I like after I'm done. To get started with VSCO, I just open up my camera roll and after I've taken a bunch of pictures that are all the same, I like to go through and favorite the ones that I will use by just hitting this little heart button at the bottom. Once I have all my pictures favorited, they go into a separate album just your favorites right here there's there all the hearted to images and so I can easily access them through the apps. Here in the VSCO app, I hit the little plus sign and then I want to choose through my favorites. I pick the favorite album and then I scroll till I find the image that I want to edit. Let's work on this picture. Nope, change my mind, this one. I highlight it and then I hit the check mark, it imports it. Now I want to hit the sliders. Right here I get to choose between a filter, you don't have to apply a filter if you don't want to. Sometimes I like to just to add a like a stylized look but I never apply a full filter. We're going to stick with A6, we're going to tap it again and bring it down. So you can see if I hold it down, I can see the original and I let go and I can see how much is applied. We're going to add just a touch, this one's nice and contrast which I love. I'm going to hit the Checkmark to accept it and then go to the slider to adjust individually. I'm going to start out with exposure. Bring up just a little, I want my whites to be nice and bright. Checkmark, when I did that, it washed my image out so I'm going to make it a little more contrasted. This will make my darks darker and my lights lighter. Great, next I'm going to hit sharpen, pull this up so I get a nice crisp edges check. I'm going to make it a little more saturated, not too crazy. I'm also going to bring up my shadows because they are little dark. There we go. The picture I feel like the temperature in this picture is alright. Sometimes I like to click on it and just adjust it anyway just to see if I prefer it. So I definitely prefer the cooler image and I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't tried. So we're going to accept that. I think that's good. I have gone to all the sliders, like to do one more pass and just look at it. I wish the darks were a little darker, so I'm going to pull up my contrast just to touch maybe bring out my exposure just a teeny bit and my saturation. Awesome, so I'm going to long press this is before, this is after. It's a pretty intense edit, but I really like how it turned out. So I'm going to hit the save button at the top then I'm going to hit the dot at the bottom, save it to camera roll, actual size, and now it is ready on my camera roll for me to share on Instagram. In the Instagram app, there's actually a lot of really strong editing capabilities that I like to use. A lot of times I will edit a picture in lightroom on my computer, email it to myself to post on Instagram and then when I'm in the Instagram app, I'm like, I can make this a little more saturated or little more contrast sharpen it tries teeny bit like I just do these very subtle things to just help my picture stand out a little more on the feed. Next I'm going to show you how I edit an already edited image. Just bring up the contrast a little more in Instagram. This is a picture that I took with my DSLR and I'm going to edit it with the Instagram app, so I click on it and I hit next. This brings up my filters. Usually I don't use filters, but sometimes I do. Let's see if we do Clarendon bring it down to like nine long press to see the before and after. I can add just a teeny bit more. This will just make it a little more stylized. I hit done then I go to the Edit tab. I'm going to adjust the brightness, make it just a teeny bit more bright. Maybe you only like five. Then I'm going to go contrast, bring that up just a little. I don't want to do crazy edits because I've already edited the picture. I don't want to go overkill, but I just want to make it as good as it looks on my computer on my phone. I'm going to make it more saturated and I almost think that it needs. Structure is like clarity Ads like this crazy crunch genius to it. Sometimes I do just a teeny bit of structure same with this little sun at the top sometimes lux is like exactly what the picture needs and sometimes it is not an, in this case, it's not. So I'm going to leave it at zero. We are going to bring up our shadows to teeny bit. Awesome. Then, of course, sharpen, just like that. Okay. I think this picture is a little too warm, actually. Bring the Warmth down just a little and then long press to see where we were. Just a subtle edit. Not too much but it's enough that it gave the picture a little something extra. Then, I would just hit "Next" and post it on Instagram. All right. I just wanted to show you my typical Lightroom edit. This photo was taken with my DSLR and it was shot in RAW. A RAW photo just has a lot more information than a JPEG. It tends to look a little grayer but it has a ton of information and a lot of potential for editing. To start at the top, I want to crop my image, this picture I want to post on Instagram. I am going to hit this little crop tool and I'm going to change Original to 1 by 1. This will give me a square. If I click inside the square, I can drag it around to get it to where I want. If I click outside the square, I can change the angle. I don't really want to change the angle so I'm just going to leave it, and then, I'm going to adjust the edges to bring this in. I want the picture to have a lot of information down here, and then leave this information empty up here. I am just going to move my cropper around until I'm happy with it. Okay. I like that. Then I hit this rectangle again to keep it, and then, we start at the top. I like to just go ahead and start with Exposure first. This picture seems a little dark to me, and so I'm just going to turn the Exposure up so that these are nice and bright. Then, I like to pull the Contrast up too. I like an image that's really, really bright, and also has lots of dark, lots of information on both ends of the spectrum. I'm going to pull my Shadows up just a little bit, and then my Whites, I'm going to pull up also. This will make the picture really bright. Then I'm going to take the Blacks and bring those down. It seems a little counter-intuitive to have the Shadows up and the Blacks down, but I just found that it makes a really well-rounded image. Next thing, I want to make the picture just a teeny bit more vibrant. That frosting is already pretty bright. If I pull the Saturation up a lot, I'll get these crazy doughnut, so I don't want that. I usually stick around five. It's under 10, typically. I don't want my image to be too crazy. I want it to still look like it was real. Next, I'm going to go down to the tone curve. This is just the same stuff as we just edited up here, but more. It's just a little more. I'm going to bring my Darks up just a little, my Lights up just a teeny bit. Lights tend to go a little crazy so I just keep them at like two. Then I'm going to bring my Shadows down. This will just give my picture a little more depth. Then, I want to sharpen. I'm going to skip over the Hue, Saturation, lightness, and I'm going to go right into this detail section. This is a close-up of a spot in the picture so I'm just going to zoom into a spot that has a little more detail right there, so we can see what's going on. The Sharpening is interesting. If you just drag this up, it'll sharpen the whole image, that percent. You can see this changed a little bit. It might be teeny bit small for this video, but it made it a lot sharper, and you can see a lot of the grain. If I just want to sharpen the edges of a picture, what I want to do is adjust the Masking slider. If you pull in the Masking slider and nothing happens, that's normal because the Masking slider will only preview if you hold down the Option key on the keyboard. I'm holding Option now, and when I drag, it changes the picture from bright white. Anything that's white gets sharpened all the way to really, really dark. Basically, you're adjusting anything you want sharpened, you leave white. I leave it about halfway, and then, I pull the Sharpening up. This will keep my sharpening just to the edges of things rather than sharpening the frosting, which we want to keep smooth. That's just a cool little trick that I like to do. Then, this picture, I skipped over the Temperature. This picture seems a little warm to me, especially right in the glaze right here. The glaze was white. I know that the doughnut is kind of golden and it's showing through the glaze there, but, overall, I want the mood of this to be just a little cooler. I'm going to bring my Temperature slider down just a smudge. Awesome. Then, I'm just going to check that. Usually, I go over to my History and I click back and forth just to see if what I did made a big enough difference, or if I prefer it the way it was. I'm going to bring my Temp up just a tiny bit. Yeah, just up to. Yeah. Then, usually at this point, I like to do a spot check. I check my whole image and I make sure there's no weird spots or [inaudible]. I don't like this little bubble right here, so I'm going to take it out. Up in this little menu, we've got the circle with an arrow, that is my little spot healing brush. I click on it and I get this little circle. I can adjust the Size with my scroll wheel. I'm going to place it right over this little bubble, click on it, and it will just automatically sample a spot nearby. Sometimes, you have to move it. Sometimes, it does a good job and so you can leave it. Here's another little bubble. I'm just going to take that one out also. Then, I'm going to hold down space bar to get the hand, grab the picture, and pull it around, let go of space bar, and now, I get my cleaning tool again, just clicking around trying to remove anything that might be distracting. Here's another little bubble. Just minor stuff. This is what I would use if I was editing a picture of a person, I would edit out any blemishes they have on their face, or anywhere like leaves that are distracting in the background. Yeah. Because these pictures have hazard, I feel like I don't really need to touch up the backdrop really because it's part of it. I'm going to click on the little circle to get rid of it, and I think, my picture is done. I'm going to right-click on this, hit "Export" with the dot dot dot. It'll pull up my Export window. I'm going to put in my sub-folder Donut, I'm going to call it PINKEDIT, number 1. I'm going to scroll to Image Sizing. Since I know this picture is just going to be for Instagram, I like to resize it so that it's 2500 pixels at 240 resolution. I am going to limit my file size to 1800 K. This just keeps it a little bit small so I can email it pretty quickly, or share it on Skillshare and it doesn't say that it's too big. Then I'm going to Sharpen For, Screen, with a Standard amount of sharpening, and then hit "Export". This picture will end up in my exported folder. I can email it to myself, or I can use AirDrop since I'm on an iMac. AirDrop is right here, there's my phone right there. I had to unlock my phone, and then I can click over, find the picture that I just edited, PINKEDIT. There it is. Drag it over my little face, and now, it's on my phone. I can just immediately share it to Instagram just like that. This is my typical Lightroom edits. 7. Artificial Light Setup: Lastly, I feel like I have to touch on this because I get so many people who are like, "What do you recommend for artificial lighting set-ups?" I can't just say don't shoot with artificial lights. Sometimes that's the only option that you have. If you are shooting at night and the brownies that you just made are fresh now, you want a photograph now, but there is no light. I get it. Sometimes you have to use artificial lighting. I tried it out just to see if I could find a hacky way to create the look of window light without actually using window light. Here you can see I have a light, it's just like a lamp and it has three of the same identical bulbs in it. They are all daylight white. It's okay if you have warm white bulbs, just make sure all of your bulbs in your lamp or the same color. This kind of lamp, I can angle it, which is nice and so I just shine all of them over my subject. This creates a lot of light all in one spot. I turn off all the other lights in my house and I shine my light on my subject. This is going to create hard shadows. I need something to diffuse it. In this example, I just used some wax paper. I've had my husband hold the wax paper up while I was shooting the chocolate. Even later when I looked back through the pictures, I was like, where's the ones I took with the lamp? Because they look the same. They look like the window light. If you've got correct white balance on there and you're defusing your light to get soft shadows, you're bouncing light back in using a reflector, you can get the same look without actually using a window. It takes a little bit of tweaking, make sure your lights are coming at an angle not from above. If they're coming from above, you would get that awesome rectangle shadow from your phone that we all just love so much. This is a little bit of a work around that you can use that's artificial lighting that's not having to invest in a full studio setup light box type thing. 8. Final Thoughts: Thanks so much for taking my class. I hope you found some of this information useful and I can't wait to see your class projects. So please, post all your beautiful donut flatlays so I can come take a look if you share on Instagram, tag me my handles just tab of the part and I will totally come take a look. I love that by the way. If you have any questions or need extra help, please reach out in the discussion section. Just throw me a line and I can help you work through any photography related issues that you might be having. And if you want to get an email next time I post feature class, make sure that you are following me, tap that little blue button and you will stay in the loop anytime I post future content.Thank you so much for sticking around I really appreciate it.