It’s not enough to just take a picture of a Christmas tree, slap on some filters, post it up on Instagram and call it a day anymore. If you want to get those likes coming, you’re going to need to pay a bit of attention to how you carefully compose your images and curate those flatlays.
To help you get started, we asked these influencers on the details we need to pay attention to in order to make our pictures Insta-worthy. Here we go!
1. Three C’s: Condition, Content, and Creativity
We picked the brain of flatlay genius @walids on how to create flatlays as good as his – the Christmas version. The first C is condition, which basically means the condition of your surroundings. “Lighting is important to create the mood for the photos.”
The next C is content. “Of course, you’ll need the Christmassy stuff to make it an Insta-worthy photo,” says Walids. We’re thinking Christmas tree baubles, fairy lights, gifts, some dried pine cones – the works. You don’t need the entire Christmas tree inside, in fact. You can even make do with just some branches.
The final C is creativity. “Be creative with your photos. Make it a grid flatlay or even a chaotic one. Don’t be afraid to play with colour.”
You heard the man!
2. Lighting is key!
Estee, or better known for her Instagram handle @msbulat, has many cute drawings splashed on her profile which are juxtaposed with other objects, which creates an overall aesthetically-pleasing and cute feed. Her first and most important tip to nailing that shot is lighting. Specifically, natural lighting.
“If possible, shoot with natural light. A poorly lit photo is pretty hard to save (in terms of editing).”
3. Neutral colours for your backdrop
“Use neutral colours such as white or brown for your background, so the hero of the photo won’t be overshadowed,” says @msbulat.
“Then, complement the overall look with some colour to brighten things up without making your photo look too cluttered.”
4. Be adventurous
“Decorate your photo with whatever elements you feel represents Christmas. It’ll make your photo unique, with a touch of your personality,” advises @msbulat.
5. Have a clean background
A quick peek at Geraldine's (@aegou) Instagram and you will see that the lapel pin designer and mural artist is a huge fan of minimalism. It’s no wonder that her first tip to us is to have a clean background. “Focus on only one to two items or persons.”
This way, the most important feature of your image will stand out profoundly.
6. Play around with colourful Christmas ornaments
On the flip side, if only focusing on one or two items is too little for you, be sure to play around with plenty of Christmas ornaments. “Mix matte, glitter, and shiny pieces together,” says @aegou.
Time to get our hands all glittery, then.
7. Focus on red coloured items or elements
Food stylist and photographer Eunice’s (@euniceeunny) feed will certainly make you salivate. Not only do her images look aesthetically-pleasing to the eyes, they’re also easy on the palate. For Christmas, she suggests focusing on the colour red.
“For example, if you’re cooking this festive season, use red cherries, strawberries, and rhubarb to make your food revolve around the colour theme.”
She adds, “However, you don’t have to feel restricted with just one colour. Be bold and mix with other colours that pair well with red (making red the dominant colour), such as white or green to make it feel more Christmassy.”
8. Incorporate relevant Christmas props
“Add in Christmassy props and foods such as a Christmas tree, gingerbread men, a gingerbread house, and wrapped gifts!” says @euniceeunny.
“The size doesn’t matter – big or small, these will instantly add a Christmassy feel to your pictures.”
9. Use fairy lights
“It doesn’t matter if it’s taken during the day or night, whether it’s twirled around a Christmas tree or messily tangled – just switch it on and take a shot!,” advises @euniceeunny.
“You can even use it as a backdrop with your food, stationeries, or people – basically anything and everything!”
10. Wrap gifts with neutral coloured paper, but highlight with colours
Yen Fong (@tabiyo_yf), owner of stationery place Tabiyo Shop and professional gift-wrapper is the person to go to when it comes to ideas to spruce up your presents. We asked, and she answered. “Wrap your gifts in plain, neutral-coloured paper. But highlight it with ribbons, twines, or tapes in Christmassy colours such as red, green, or gold.”
Once you’ve got those beautifully wrapped gifts, be sure to place them under natural sunlight and on a white background to capture your hard work. Up it goes on Instagram!
11. Create a “beautiful mess”
Wedding photographer, calligrapher, and hobbyist artist Sharon of @ronnycakes encourages you to go all out and put everything that means Christmas to you in one picture. “Fill the frame with lots of things to make your composition interesting!”
12. Arrange the main subject first
Art director, illustrator, and blogger Chee Ching (@cheechingy) has a great Instagram feed depicting her travels, food, and slice-of-life shots. One of her favourite things to do when it comes to curating the perfect shot is to arrange the main subject first.
“For example, it could be a Christmas turkey. When you have that inside, you add the complementary decorations such as cranberries, or a simple white and red table cloth. Think Christmas!” she says.
“However, ensure that you do not overcrowd the decorations until the image loses focus on what’s most important.”