Instagramming beauty products can be particularly challenging—often bland and oddly shaped, the packaging isn’t nearly as photogenic as a piece of avocado toast. Since we’ve all been there on the bathroom floor trying to artfully arrange our makeup to mediocre results, we checked in with Sarita Coren, the green beauty blogger behind Edible Facial, who’s managed to overcome the obstacles and snag a ton of likes on all her posts. Next time you feel the urge to share the contents of your makeup bag with the world, try these tips and learn how to finally stage the perfect product pic.
1. Natural light is prime for pictures, but cloudy days are actually your best bet. Coren says you want the photo to be bright but not in direct sunlight—that’s actually when you’ll end up with a shadow. Opt for those overcast moments when setting up a picture or head into the shade.
2. Brighter shots get more likes. Coren says that she’s found the brighter the shot, the better it performs. And that’s kind of the end goal, right? If you take a look at her account, almost all of her photos have that backlit glow. Move your shoot outside or adjust the brightness manually in an editing app such as Camera+.
3. The best flat-lay pictures are taken from above with steady hands. While Coren takes a lot of pictures and grabs a chair, she has another trick for keeping her hands from shaking. “Sometimes I put my elbows against my body to stabilize my hands a little bit,” she notes.
4. Blur the background with your phone when taking pictures at a straight-on angle. Coren says this gives the product a sharper focus and a clearer view. You can do this by choosing the tilt shift option in your Instagram tool bar.
5. Textured props bring balance to your photo. So if you’re taking a pic of glass or plastic bottles, try adding in leaves or flowers like Coren does in many of her snaps. She also uses Washi tape to add visual interest. Since things look different to the naked eye, Coren will also double check to see if she likes the arrangement through the lens.
6. Use an interesting background. That means picking up wooden boards from arts and crafts stores, picking up cool patterned fabric from around the house or even creating one out of Washi tape. “I’ve actually gotten upcycled trays from Etsy, and I think they make amazing backgrounds,” notes Coren.
7. Mirrored compacts and silver labels will be your biggest problem. Make sure the compact is closed enough so that you don’t capture any unwanted reflections.
8. Go #NoFilter and use manual adjustments instead. Coren says she doesn’t use filters at all! Instead, she makes sure her photo is lined up in the square and uses the built-in Instagram options such as brightness, contrast, warmth and structure.
9. Photographing body butters is the easiest option for newbies. Corin says all you have to do is take off the lid, and they’re set for a photo. You can also use sticky tape to stop bottles from rolling all over the place.
10. Remove products from their containers. Try snapping scoops of cream on wooden spoons or oil bottles with the droppers, two of Coren’s favorites. But she says that anything can make a pretty picture if you’re clever about the presentation.
11. Take a lot of photos. You’re probably not going to get the winning shot the first try, no matter how skilled you are. “For every great shot, I have ten really lousy ones,” she admits. So try a ton of different angles, play with your props and keep snapping. It might just mean making room in your phone’s storage first.