Stage the Perfect Instagram Flat Lays to Showcase Your Art | Peggy Dean | Skillshare

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Stage the Perfect Instagram Flat Lays to Showcase Your Art

teacher avatar Peggy Dean, Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.

      Intro Teaser


    • 2.

      Most. Important. Of. All.


    • 3.

      Flat Lay Style #1: Minimalist


    • 4.

      Flat Lay Style #2: Creation Supplies


    • 5.

      Flat Lay Style #3: Nature


    • 6.

      How to Grab the Attention of Big Brands


    • 7.

      Enhance Your Photos


    • 8.

      Photo Editing Apps


    • 9.

      Project Time!


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About This Class

Stage the Perfect Instagram Flat Lays to Showcase Your Art!

This class will have you ready to stage the perfect flat lay to showcase your art on social media, and will be sure to capture the eyes and interest of a much broader audience. You will learn the essentials and the options to include in your flat lay images, along with bonus information on how to effectively target big names for a better chance of exposure. 

My favorite artificial daylight:

TaoTronic LED Desk Lamp (Adjust warmth and brightness)
Daylight Duo LED Art Floor Lamp (FAVORITE)
Ring Light (No shadows!)
Regular Daylight Bulbs

Meet Your Teacher

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Peggy Dean

Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Top Teacher

Snag your free 50-page workbook right here!

Hey hey! I'm Peggy.

I'm native to the Pacific Northwest and I love all things creative. From a young age I was dipping everything I could into the arts. I've dabbled in quite an abundance of varieties, such as ballet, fire dancing, crafting, graphic design, traditional calligraphy, hand lettering, painting with acrylics and watercolors, illustrating, creative writing, jazz, you name it. If it's something involving being artistic, I've probably cycled through it a time or two (or 700). I'm thrilled to be sharing them with you!

Visit my Instagram for daily inspiration: @thepigeonletters, and head over to my blog for more goodies curated just for youuuu.

I'm the author of the best selling... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro Teaser: Hey, guys. I'm Peggy Dean, founder of the Pigeon Letters and author of the Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide and Botanical Land Drying. I got my start on Instagram. With today's technology, the opportunities are limitless because the reach is limitless. Instagram really gave me a window to access hundreds of thousands of people everyday, literally. As of today, I have about a 130,000 followers on Instagram, and that number is growing every day. This class will help you with the key element in growing your Instagram. I'm not going to lie, there's a ton of factors in growing your audience. But one easy way to ensure a loyal following is through the images that you post. So this class focuses specifically on Flat lay photography. What is a Flat lay? You might be asking yourself. Have you ever seen those eye-catching images from above that hosts a collection of objects that are neat and tidy? How about minimalistic but stable-making? Have you thought about attempting this look, but not really knowing where to begin? I'm going to show you the ends and outs on how to set up the perfect Flat lay for your photos, including objects to add in to bring your art to life. So let's get started. Shall we? 2. Most. Important. Of. All.: Hello again, welcome to the class. This class will have you ready to stage the perfect flat lay to showcase your art on social media. It 'll be sure to capture the eyes and interests of a much broader audience, ready to begin. First things first, lighting. This is your number one resource to having nice crisp images. You don't want it to fight weird shadows, pixelated images or those dark, warm, yellow tones. You have under two seconds to capture someone's attention in a photograph. You want to make sure it stands out and it's nice and clear. We're going to go over the first part of lighting requirements in this segment and later in the class, we'll cover how to further enhance your photos by adjusting their exposure, their brightness, contrast, color balance. More on that later. For now, here's what you'll need. Your best light is natural filtered light. By filtered I don't mean you want direct sunlight because it'll blow at your image and casts shadows. Have you ever heard that overcast days are the best days for portrait photography? Well, overcast days are the best days for any photography. If you can set up just under a window that's your best bet. The next best thing lies in LED lights, daylight bulbs. These bulbs are bright, white. If you use them all the time, it would feel like you're inside a doctor's office and you notice how not sterile everything in your house is. But they're an acquired taste. I've been using them for a while now, mostly in my workspace and almost prefer them because I'm always creating. They help a lot in determining color tones. Let's talk shadows. It's important to pay attention to all corners of your image frame. Sometimes you think you have a well-lit photo, but then you find out it's got an ugly fall off on the bottom right corner, even in the best lighting conditions, this is just sometimes unavoidable. Here are some tricks to fix that. Number one, use poster board, you know, the trifled ones that we used in school and got first place instead of grand prize in the science fair. I'm not better. I'm pretty sure they only gave me first place because I brought my cat in his little crate as a part of the exhibit. Sure. We'll go with that. The poster board will allow you to lift up a flap, taking the incoming light and bouncing it off the side, causing a reflection of the light onto the surface. No more shadows. Trick number two, insert a thin object underneath the corner that isn't cooperating. This could be anything, a marker, a rock, your keys, lifting the paper up slightly, will make it appear more surfaced to the light that's hitting it. Trick number three, add some artificial lighting from a day light bulb. If you're under a window and there's a weird dark shadow, grab a lamp and bring it super close to the image frame where the shadow is. This will even out the lighting on the paper. Trick number four, which really should be the first thing that you try. But it's to adjust the paper itself, rotating it, bringing it closer to the light source further away, experimenting with different angles. This will help you discover the best lighting source available in your home. Maybe there's a different window in your house that gets better light. Maybe there's one that gets less light, but it's more evenly distributed. Play around, you'll find it, I believe in you. When you feel like you've got your lighting source figured out and nailed down, ready to go. Let's start talking about different flatly styles. 3. Flat Lay Style #1: Minimalist: You've seen these photos everywhere for all products. The first style of art that we'll talk about is pretty underrated. The thing is, you don't need a lot of buzziness in your image to make it great. It can be incredibly simple. A piece of art on a white surface can scream 'look at me' and a single object added to it can start invoking moods. Ooh, how fresh? One with nature. On the go. Whimsical. Magical. See what I mean, one object guys. Change the color of the background by throwing a 12 by 12 solid color paper underneath. Color also invokes mood. Want to go wild while staying simple, use grass or wood as the background. Notice as you change locations, the entire image has a whole new vibe. What mood do you want your viewers to feel when they look at your image? 4. Flat Lay Style #2: Creation Supplies: What should you add to your photo to give it some more oomph? Listen, is that even a question. What's sitting near you? How can you incorporate that into your photo? Don't think you can? Trust me, you can. You name it, it can be inserted into your photo. It's just about how you compose it. Photographs are supposed to tell a story. We'll start with supplies that we actually use in the creation of our art piece. This shows a finished product that includes the process or includes what comes next. You can add envelopes for a pop of color and the idea is that the artwork that you created will then go inside of those envelopes and be delivered to a lucky recipient. Adding a ribbon or a piece of twine adds movement while also assuming that it will be packaged beautifully. A strip of washy tape adds a color or a pattern. Some of the most obvious add-ins are the tools that you use to create your art. You can lay pens neatly or randomly, take a cap or two off. Pen tips are eye candy. Same with paints and paint brushes. Show the artistic mess that was experienced in creating the piece itself by including a messy pallet. Was there something that inspired your piece? Show that in your image. 5. Flat Lay Style #3: Nature: Let's go back to the roots, literally. What can you find outside? I'm biased because I live in the Pacific Northwest and I love being surrounded by nature, but nature can be really great, if not the best prop to add into your art. Here are some ideas. Go outside. It's almost impossible to not find a leaf unless you live in the middle of the most arid desert. But even then, you still have plants, so grab a twig. Try a few different ways of placing the leaf or twig in your image. This can be on the paper, or next to it, above it. Composition should really be a part of the creation process because you're experimenting with what you like best. You can do the same thing with a simple flower. Again, underrated. You can celebrate the holidays by simply adding a pine cone or a piece of an evergreen branch in. Lay your piece on top of a woodblock. This goes with that minimalism that we talked about while adding some dimension in color and depth. When I get serious about some flowers, trim the bouquet down to about two inch stems and arrange them around your art piece by tucking them underneath the edges. You now have a color explosion. You can make these a theme. You can do romantic by adding roses and babies breath with some greenery. You can do wildflower, you can use nothing but leaves, o play with that. Plants can be added in by draping them across or focusing on the top from above. This is great for succulents, those flat ones that have all that personality when you look from above, get creative with nature. It's made for it. 6. How to Grab the Attention of Big Brands: Two words, product placement. This is super easy to do. You can look next to you and you probably see something lying there that you can pick up, add to your photo, tag a brand, and then you're good to go. I mean, you name it, it can be incorporated somehow, whether it makes sense or not. You ever see those watches. There are so many watches all over social media. Some of them are influencers and some of them are simply just to throw a watch and have it be a fashion statement that is included in an art piece. I mean, why not? Who cares? It's a watch, it's cool. So this is just an example. I myself have participated and some paid campaigns and have also posted some unsolicited products. The more that you do things like this, you will be more recognized because the chances are putting them out there, make your image that much more likely to be noticed. You can do this easily with the art supplies that you're using now, just make sure you tag them in the photos that you include them in. From brush pens to watercolor to paper that you're using, paint brushes that you're using, any of these things can be tagged. These are the three elements that you want to make sure that you're including when you are trying to do some effective product placement. The number 1 is the hashtag, so you hashtag the brand. But the biggest tip that I have for you is to go to the brands Instagram and oftentimes in their bio, there's a hashtag that's specific to the brand and that's something that they search which will make you more discoverable to the brand and if they love your photo, chances are they might share it, which would be amazing because then you'll have this entire new audience that you never thought that you would reach and then it's BAM in one photo. That's the first thing. Second thing is make sure that you tag them in the caption as well. If you're talking about what you're using, you can even skip a few lines up. Do you say the blurb that you're saying and then just mentioned. I often do a little icon for paints and then I say, at whoever it is and then say what type it is. That's a way for product placement. The most important one I think is to tag the brand in the actual photo itself. The reason for this. These larger Instagramers that have a lot of followers typically don't see their notifications. Instagram only shows you the last 100 notifications. This means that if you weren't included in probably those last five minutes, if not less, it will not show up to them unless they specifically search that hashtag. But if you tag them in the photo itself, they will have a separate icon which you may be familiar with in your own experience that shows them that they have tagged images and they might get those coming in all day long, so they might miss those, but you never know. Those are the three things that don't hurt to try. The types of products that you can throw in there are literally anything. You can do jewelry, you can do clothing, and magazines. People want to see your creativity so that they can then re-share on their social media platforms. Especially when you're doing artwork because people want to incorporate this beautiful work of art with their product. Then when people see that, that like those products, they might not think that they are looking for art, they follow this brand but then they see your art hence connections, all the things, product placement. 7. Enhance Your Photos: Enhancing your photos doesn't have to mean using filter upon filter. The goal is to add brightness and contrast where it's appropriate to increase its likeliness to stand out. I'll take you through my process that I go through every time. Quick note, I'm using an iPhone. If you're using an Android, you'll still have access to these controls, they just might be located somewhere else. You're probably familiar with them, but just play around with settings. You'll find the enhancement or editing areas. After taking a few photos with my phone, I'll find my favorite. If I didn't take the photo in a square frame, I'll first crop that photo to be a square. Then I go to Exposure. I use exposure instead of brightness because exposure will act as though the camera is letting in more light than it actually was while brightness looks almost like you're adding layers of fog to brighten, and it fades it quite a bit. You may notice after increasing exposure that the rich black of your art has lost its depth. Not to worry. The next step is to go to the black point and increase that. It brings back that rich darkness. The final stuff that I do is to change the color temperature. I noticed that in most cases, a lot of photos have that yellow hue to them even when they're taken under nice white light. I like my photos to be crisp and clear, and adjusting the white balance does the trick. The temperature scale goes from cool on one side and warm on the other side. I just go into Color and then Cast. This might be under temperature depending on what you're using. Then I drag the slider to the left, which gets rid of that yellow hue. You'll notice that if you go too far, it begins turning green or blue. That means too much. The sweetest spot is right in the middle of the cool tones and warm tones. That's all. Your photo is now ready to post. 8. Photo Editing Apps: You can start playing with some fun apps. My favorite go to app is Color Story. It has an abundance of preset filters along the filter packs that you can purchase. I am guilty of late night shopping from the couch or from my bed, and may have bought all of the packs when they are on sale. Of course since then, there are many new packs that had been released and I haven't explored them because I'm trying to be good. I will say if you spend money on a photo app, you can feel good knowing that you're doing it on this one. We'll go into everything, but I'll pinpoint a few aspects that I love. First of all, you can save any filter in your favorites for quick application to your photo. This saves a lot of time. My favorites consists of Punch, Crisp, April, and Ice Ice. These can be found amongst all of these categories. The categories you have Essentials, Good Vibes, Blush, Seasons but for example, if you click on "Seasons" and you'll see that it has January, February, March, and as you click on these, it will change the appearance preset just like you're probably used to, but there are so many options. You can go back and explore the different categories. Fresh has got these nice crisp white tones, things like that. Another great app is VSCO. If you like those darker, moody tones, you'll find this app to be your best friends. When using this app, my go to filters are HB1 and HB2. These are also editable. Lastly, if you want to add a really simple watermark just with text, there are a ton of apps that will let you add font as an overlay to your image. I use an app called Intazz for two reasons. The first reason is that I really like the default font and I never have to adjust it and shortcuts to save time is my jam. The second, a lot of these apps will have limits as to how smaller you can make the font, but this app does not. It allows it to get very, very small, so it doesn't look like a major eye sore right across your image. You can move them around too so it's super helpful. That's it, quick and easy for the most part. Obviously, you want to play around with the levels of editing for each photo that you take, because no photo is the same but hopefully, this helps open a door to some new options for you. 9. Project Time!: So that's it, you guys. I hope you enjoyed the class. I've been really excited to share all this with you guys. Anyway, you get it, I'm excited. I'm always so excited. For this project, in this class, I want you to use one or five or 10 different techniques or ideas that you have discovered that spark with creativity. I want to see these images that you create with your [inaudible]. So please share them. When you share your project, let me know if you want some feedback and I'd be happy to provide it. So get creative. Really excited to see you. Sorry I keep saying I'm excited. Let's go.