Most popular photos you see when scrolling through many visual feeds these days are flat lay shots (top down photos). Have you ever thought of the process behind how to take a nice creative flat lay? What you see is really just the pretty side of things, what’s real is the mess and things one do for a nice flat lay photo. These are usually not shown publicly and the ordinary everyday people probably can’t imagine.
I am no expert in flat lay photos because I just don’t have enough opportunities and time to shoot proper YET! Things will change soon as I am beginning to explore more of this new way of photography with my team. With my limited experiences and lots of research online, I shared some pointers with a group of friends over at Canon Imaging Academy. It was a fun afternoon and I’m happy many of them picked up useful tips and were able to apply them into their own creative visual feed.
Before the sharing session I did some trials at home on my own and after an hour of back stretching, knee bending and neck aching actions while styling putting random things to fill up the white mahjong paper on the floor, I only managed to get 2 to 3 decent shots that can be used for posting online! OMG!!! Why is this so difficult??
Flat Lay Quick Tips
Use basic background, or something simple so that it doesn’t clutter your entire photo.
Go with natural light, lots of it. Else prepare a few lamps to shine on the area you want to shoot.
Fill in gaps, but leave enough space between every object.
Keep the frame (Square or not) full, take note of corners and sides if you want to have a fuller looking
Think about the hero piece, which is the main object in your flat lay?
Play with different size props, and you need to start building a box of props! Flat lay is all about PROPS!
Pick things that look good from top, example a cup of black coffee vs a cup of latte, or a closed black notebook vs an open notebook filled with writing.
Enhance your photos after you got it right – cos lighting control in the actual shoot can be quite a challenge.
Ideally is to shoot in RAW format and post process after.
Use a tripod so you can ensure your photo is always sharp and clear, and it’ll help relieve those back and neck stretching actions too.
Taking flat lay photos at restaurants and cafe is even more challenging and at times one need to have very thick skin in order to get a decent shot! I have personally not tried doing any styling when dining out but once I was at a media tasting together with two young foodie, I was impressed at their determination and effort. Kudos to Wei Kai and Zong Han I managed to get some nice flat lay photos that day.
Equip with the right gear
A nice photo is a combination of nice objects, nice styling, good lighting and a good set of equipment. Personally I love shooting with my Canon PowerShot and DSLR, but for a flay lay where you want everything in the frame to be in focus, sometimes a very good camera on the mobile phone may just be what you need. Unless you are planning to print the photo out for display, then you will require a decent camera.
If you are looking for a camera for flat lay photo taking, then ensure that the camera has got a screen that can be tilted at least 180-degree so that you can view what’s in the frame while holding your camera up high. Alternatively find one camera that allows for wireless connection to a mobile phone for remote shooting. This way, you can mount your camera on a tripod, placed on the table and still be able to view what’s in frame and activate the shutter from the mobile phone.
Get a steady tripod that allow you to use with a tripod arm. This is on my to purchase list.
Hope the above tips are useful! Check out what my fellow friends who attended the session have shared:
The Mummy day dreams a lot. Really a lot! So much so some nights she will wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare of the things she need to do in order to reach her dreams. And after the awakening moments it usually means she won’t be able to fall back asleep. What does she do next?
Gets out of bed, open her Macbook and work on achieving her dreams.
Well that’s me, that mummy with lots of dreams.
When I was little, I dreamed to become a teacher, because of this woman. I spent too much time watching her on TV. Those in my era will know this show!
After my Diploma at Nanyang Polytechnic, I continued the learning journey at NIE and became a trained MOE teacher for 3 years. It was nothing like what I remembered from the show! Though it was a fun experience and I’m fortunate to have met some cool kids who I’m still in touch with till today. But alas, I craved for new adventures and so I left the service after 3 years.
Thereafter, I ventured into various roles in different companies and eventually got tired of working for someone else and decided to pursue my other dream. Become my own boss. I gained a lot of precious experiences and learned a hell lot of lessons from the four years, if I had continued working for others, I wouldn’t have grown to become who I am today. The four years of being boss to myself and a team of awesome people were the best years I had in my career.
I never once stopped dreaming of doing bigger things. And after all these years, my dreams just get even bigger and some I feel are quite impossible to fulfil. Here’s sharing the 5 biggest dreams I have which I really hope to complete (some if not all) before I hit the big 40. (Not a lot of time left leh!)
Dream No. 1 – I want to go back to school
One of my biggest regret in life is not pushing myself to get a paper qualification for subjects that I’m interested in. With my many years of experience in digital and social media, it is time to get these endorsed with some proper certifications. Sad but true, that’s the reality in our society, no paper qualification, big companies do not even want to give you a chance for an interview. And these qualifications will also matter for my next dream.
Dream No. 2 – Let my family experience living in other parts of the world and find new opportunities
This is a long shot dream to reach by 40, but my hub is quite into this dream and we’ve started researching and looking out for opportunities where we can live somewhere else for couple of years where we can let our kids experience different culture and living. But the old-school Chinese in me feel that this is going to be one of the toughest dream to accomplish. Too many pull factors stopping us from chasing this dream. Come what may, we will just try and take a step at a time. Never knows what may come knocking at our door.
Dream No. 3 – To build an app
I have many ideas and concepts! But I CANNOT code! HTML, CSS such basics I can lah, but coding is another game which I’ve yet got chance to explore. I hope I will have time to pick up coding skills one day and build an app!
Dream No. 4 – Own a cosy (fusion) shop
I grew up in a coffee shop where my parents used to sell different kinds of yummy noodles. And it has always been my dream to own a shop or cafe and now I want to do a fusion where people get to meet, chill, get fed with good food and bring home unique buys.
Dream No. 5 – Make my first million bucks!
Who doesn’t dream to become the next millionaire? I tried becoming one with the Changi lucky draw and occasional Big Sweep draws, but I’m still only a thousandaire. I just got to keep dreaming and one day this may just happen! Ha!
Do you have a dream? If you can get $10,000 to fulfil that one dream, which would it be?
Take the first step and submit your dream now!
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Here’s one of my submissions for my girls, help Like (Heart it) ok?
I drag the morning routine A LOT! Getting the girls out of bed every morning is a mind stretching affair and the franticness get worst if I’m scheduled for a morning 10am meeting. And this morning was a classic that I just had to share. Everything went as normal until…
Me while gathering our bags and ready to head out…
Ayra, Zara wear your shoes, we’re late for school! Oh WAIT! Have I trimmed your nails yet? (Ran into room to get nail clipper)
As quick and steady as I could, I trimmed Ayra’s nail while Zara sat on the floor to wear her shoes.
Mummy…. (The usually loud Zara called out to me in a soft tone)
NOOOOOOO!!! Zara why did you do this again?? Three times yesterday and you are doing it again now?
Zara sat motionless giving her most bo-chap look and waited for me. I ran to the kitchen to bring out the roll of kitchen towels and get all the pee soaked up. (Thank you whoever you are who invented super absorbent kitchen towels.) I cleaned her up as fast as I could, carried her into the bathroom, wash, clean up and get her dressed. #toilettraining #FAIL
Oh wait! YOUR TOP IS WET TOO???
Annoyed at missing this, went into the room to get a new uniform top for her to change.
Come here Zara, trim your nails! Ayra please wear your shoes…
Mummy is this side correct? Is this side correct?….
I continued focusing on trimming the nails and ignored the question.
Mummy is this side correct????!!!
Ayra you’re old enough to know which side of the shoes is right, so do it yourself please. Ok Zara, go wear your shoes too.
Oh wait, your shoes are wet with pee! So I went to the shoe cupboard to get another pair. (The girls have a lot more shoes than me!!)
Proceeded to take out the wireless vacuum to suck up all the nails all over the floor. Washed my hands and ready to head out.
Come Ayra and Zara let’s go to school now. We are so late! Your class went outdoor without you already.
Girls took their time to step out of the house and giggled while walking out to the lift lobby.
Say Good morning teacher. (Silence)
See your classes both went outdoor without you already! Next time please wake up earlier can so you don’t miss the outdoor fun. (Silence)
Ok go in to your class and bring your bags please. Mummy will see you later ok? Good bye. Love you!
Bye Mummy. (At least Zara reacted)
Ayra gave me her sad puppy eyes when I turned to close the school gate.
Go in to your class Ayra. Mummy got to go work now. See you later ok. Love you.
And I was 10 minutes late for my first appointment today.
Oh! This article relates to my life so well, must-remember-to-blog my reflection.
OMG! The food here is so good, my girls cleaned their plates and I did not even have to feed them. Must share on my blog!
New playground in town! Got to bring my girls there to check it out soon and blog about it!
Oh yeah! Family staycation and must take lots of nice photos and share our experience on my blog.
Attended this cool product launch and I love the products. Must-share-about-them!
And the list just continue to grow and grow and grow… and… vanished!
That’s a fast forward version of my life as a blogging mum. All memories and experiences documented in my mind and camera rolls, but almost none (sometimes a lucky few) got published on The Loving Mum. I wish I could say that I am just too lazy to get things moving in this blog of mine, but reality is NO TIME! I’ve tried staying up as late as I can till my eyelid couldn’t take the screen backlight anymore, or even tried to squeeze time out while in the loo to get photos edited and uploaded. There’s only that many things I can do in a day, with my new role with Alvinology Media and juggling the other commitments I have and spending time with my family… well… I really just want to do everything I want to do at the best I can.
Sooo… what it means as a blogging mum (to me) and am I still considered one?
Blogging to me means to share the good things and fun experiences, be it an invited opportunity or self-paid experiences etc. Let me flash back to that one week where I felt most like a blogging mum… just because that week I tried packed in as much as I could to kill-many-birds-with-one-weekend.
March 24, Thursday
One of those rare days where I feel like a blogger again (after being on the other side of the fence for work since September last year). Took up a review opportunity with an automotive brand and had their latest Sports MPV for the long weekend.
And that evening I oversee and also attended as a blogger for a client’s event for the launch of their new headphones. Since I got the car at 11am my mind had been doing mental note-taking throughout the car walkthrough and quick training, video recording the session, check out as much features as I can while snapping photos of the car the moment we drove out of the showroom, and then repeat the same cycle again for the headphones. By the time I reached home, my mind was overloaded with blogging notes, work schedules, to-do lists, the nephew’s 1st birthday planning and the constant nagging behind my mind “See lah! Why your backside itchy go accept to do so many of these blogging things. Regretted already right?”
And then Good Friday came along… March 25, Friday So after the long late night I thought I could sleep a little more that morning since the girls do not need to attend school. Oh boy I was so so wrong! “Mummy I want milk!” this came just as I was slumbering into a good deep sleep. Sheepishly I crawled out of bed to the kitchen to prepare two bottles of milk for the girls. Assuming they will continue to sleep in that morning after milk. But instead of their usual we-don’t-want-to-get-up-for-school mode, both of them jumped out of bed once their bottles were cleared. “Mummy wake up! It’s time to play!” (Play the familiar tune from Frozen… and yes with the plying of my eyelids by the littlest Zara.) And so my day started way too early for my liking.
With a great car loaned to us for review, comes greater responsibility… to bring it out for a photoshoot of cos. As we had a long day out in the car with the two girls, I had to ensure sufficient activities, snacks and hydration were packed while trying to get them both ready to head out. Oh no this wasn’t as easy too, that day they preferred playing with their LEGO builds then to head outdoor with us. “Come let’s go shower now… don’t you want to see the big car and go for a ride?” … cue sound of crow … I shall not bore you with the rest of the day since it was mainly the family chilling inside the car while the mummy me sweat it out under the crazy sun taking photos and videos of the car. The other drivers passing by us at the carpark must be thinking what this crazy woman is doing stretching up and crouching down with the cameras around the car.
March 26 – 27, Saturday to Sunday: Weekend Celebration and Family Staycation!
After months of planning and preparing for it, the nephew’s first birthday celebration finally took place. You can read about the party preparation and the day’s run-down over at Punggol Babies, my other blog baby. (Yes I know! Crazy Claudia got how many sites har?) If you’ve seen the blog post, you would have seen the video and the photos from that day. If you’ve seen me that day at the party, and don’t know I’m part of the family, you would have thought I was a hired photographer cum videographer for the celebration. I did however have a friend to help out with taking photos for us; just so I can have many varieties of shots! (Thanks Soon Koon!)
Blogging Mum 101: Always try to capture everything (as much as one is capable of) cos you want to ensure you’ve got the best shots and right moments captured for your blog, Instagram, Facebook page and personal Facebook album. And because it’s not interesting if everywhere shows the same photos right? So keep calm and snap on! Usually for our staycations, I will be documenting every single thing we see, try and experience. But because this is the third time we stayed at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway, so I was a little less “snappy” and took everything slowly and tried my best not to go at my usual flash speed every second of the day.
To kill more birds at the same time, I redeemed some free ice popsicles from 313@Somerset since they sent out media vouchers to us. So while the rest of the family were enjoying their dip in the hotel pool, I head out to check out this new dessert place and brought back sweet treats to cool down the heat. And also managed to do some quick shopping too at Muji. Women are natural multi-tasker!
March 28, Monday: Back to work and continue contemplating
Really? It’s Monday AGAIN? Relaxing weekends are great and I love them. But that also means I did not get any time over the long weekend to catch up on the always-growing-to-do-list! Whenever I start planning my day’s tasks, I’ll pretend those blogging topics were invisible till I really die-die-must-publish-it-else-someone-is-going-to-come-after-me kind. Just like THIS post which you are reading now. I started the link-up right? Cannot last minute pull out say no time to write right? (For record, time now is 1.15am on 1st April, and this post is to go live on 3rd April.)
The backlog of posts is Un-un-un-un-un-belivable! With multiple sites which I’m contributing to, and the many events for work and as a blogging mum that’s happening every week, what gets posted first greatly depends on the following:
Is it time sensitive? If not, push it down the to-blog list.
Is it breaking news? One that no one else has published yet and I want to be the one to first post about it? If not, push it down.
Is it a paid assignment that has a deadline? If not, push it down the list.
Is a post really necessary? If not, remove from list and maybe share about it on social media.
And all other personal posts that I want to write about or milestones to record, these are almost always never get to see the light.
March 29, Tuesday: Rushing out a video and post
After the nephew’s celebration, I’ve planned to cut a video and dedicate a post on the day of his actual birthday. And the lousy GuGu got the dates mixed up, thinking it was 31 March, when the actual date is 30 March. So after dinner on Tuesday, I sat at my desk and get the video, photos and post ready. From about 8pm till 12am, I shut myself out as much as I could from the daily routines with the girls and left my hub to shower, change and put them to sleep. My only focus was to get the post up by midnight, and I did.
The night did not end at 12am, I then recalled of this link-up for the Singapore Parent Bloggers group and my promised to have the community site updated by 1st April. Horrible horrible me been pushing back this tasks for too long. So I started installing the new plugins, setup the theme, get the site deconstructed and slowly (until today), I am still trying to get it done right.
Sorry to everyone in the group, tahan for a little more, I promise I will make the site a better place to help us and the community grow together. Time to schedule our next catch-up lunch!
Hectic and Challenging Week
The rest of the week really just flew by with meetings, proposals, pitches and all the crazy stuff at work and at home. The week was also challenged by an unwell child, Ayra was almost admitted to the hospital for observation as she had been complaining about stomach pains and vomited a couple of times during the week. But the doctor wasn’t able to detect anything wrong from her tests and checks, so we made our own decision to monitor at home. She’s well now.
So just from this one week, I’ve got two more to-blog posts added to my super backdated backlog of posts. And this weekend is going to be a long one for me, but a fun one for the kids. Blogging mums and dads are really a bunch of very hardworking group of loving parents, who will do our best to give our children many happy times and fulfilling weekends. And documenting all these experiences in great detail for sharing online, creating usable and sharable content that become good resources for other parents.
Thank you to all awesome content creating mums and dads! You make the internet a better place with your published pieces of content, well tagged photos and uploaded videos. Because of your selfless sharing, everyone on the internet get to search and learn about new places, activities and things to do with their children and family.
Keep on creating. Keep on sharing. Because we can.
Next up is Andy from Sengkang Babies. The wonder Dad who shares lots of fun things his family experienced. I want to be like him when my kids are older, packing our weekends with activities for the children and family, and sharing about them on our blog. I hope he shares how he maintain his blogging-stamina!
It’s December and Christmas is in a few days time, over the years of working life, this year is the only year where I am still working my ass off till the very end of this holiday season. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining here but more so a reflection on how things have changed and it’s no longer days where I can just call a day off whenever I like.
For those who have been working for yourself, including those who doesn’t own your own company not business but works on a own time own pace kinda arrangement, you will know working more means higher returns and taking a day off means there may be missed opportunities or clients may not get their requests met. To whom may be very upset you didn’t reply their email within the day and start to message you on Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Oh how I hate technologies on certain days when I truly just wanted a quiet day off.
With the possibility for emails to be linked to mobile phone, being out of office or away no longer have the same effect as in the past. Right? I see many of us replying an email within an hour of receiving their automated away message in the mailbox. But hey! They are still checking and replying to emails. Don’t we ever really go on leave anymore these days?
I’m guilty of doing the exact same things. Because I work for myself and technically I do not have annual leaves nor medical leave to apply for, I am ALWAYS working. Even on weekends! Up till a point when my hubby has to send me a Whatsapp message from the living room to remind me it’s time to spend time with my girls (it was 8pm in the evening). My heart aches. A LOT!
I vowed to myself two weeks ago that I shall tear myself away from work this week and just focus and do things for and with my family. And just enjoy the holiday season like how I had been doing for the past 13 years. And look where I am now! In the train to a whole day of meetings scheduled and typing this post while traveling. I hate myself!
Just two more days I said. And I will SET THE DAMN AWAY MESSAGE and ignore all emails till after Christmas. I don’t care if you need the list of influencers for your pitch, I don’t care if you needed to report for your management and I don’t care you needed that very last minute urgent requests carried out. I don’t care because it’s Christmas! All of you have to take a break too and recharge for an even more productive 2016! So come on let’s turn on that automated away message and BE AWAY 100%! Our mailboxes should take a break too you know. Ha!
You know how after you’re married and have kids, woman may tend to become less focus on self and spend all our energy on our family? We care lesser about how we look, the way we present ourselves in public or even the way we react to situations when our kids are around. For me, I was like that. I became a mother who couldn’t be bothered with how I looked and dressed. Not until now.
Since my getting back to shape journey, I started to want to look better; more so to dress better. I still couldn’t be bothered with make-up but I started buying fitter clothes, more dresses and better looking “going out” clothes. Then I started my new career adventures with AM; that’s where I got a little more aware of how I look when meeting clients and at events. But still I felt make-up was really not necessary and quite a chore for me. And then…
After I started taking too many selfies with the ASUS Zenfone Selfie!
I started to ask myself this… “Hey! I can look that good?! Like really?!” All the likes and positive comments I’m getting with my new profile photos online makes me become even more self-aware that I should really start loving myself again. With proper make-up and a little more effort before heading out, I can actually look as good as those beautified (not a lot lah, just a little bit) taken with the ASUS Zenfone Selfie smartphone which came with dual 13MP back and FRONT cameras!
Since the day I got my hands on the phone, I just couldn’t help it but take selfies… more selfies… and A LOT more photos of myself! Up to a point I felt I was becoming overly obsessed with the “real” me in the photos. #truestorybtw
Taking good photos is now an essential part of every smartphone experience, but most devices deliver better results on the rear camera than the front. Because of this, selfies are often grainy, noisy and underwhelming. The ZenFone Selfie is bringing ASUS’ high-end imaging performance – known as PixelMaster 2.0 – to both sides of the phone with a killer combination of top-notch hardware and software to get you amazing images every time, no matter what.
On the front camera, there is the top-of-its-class 13 megapixel Toshiba sensor with an 88-degree wide-angle Largan lens for the most detailed selfies of any phone on the market. And with Real Tone dual-LED flash and an aperture of f/2.2, you’ll be able to get clear shots when there isn’t much light around you.
There’s also 16 additional modes to take advantage of the super cameras on the ASUS Zenfone Selfie – selfie panorama (for 140-degree angles), auto, manual, HDR, super-resolution, low light, night, depth of field, effect, GIF animation, miniature, time rewind, smart remove, all smiles, slow-mo, time lapse. My favourite mode is of cos the beautification mode! Where you can to see real time even before you touch on the shutter to snap the shot. And the setting is also saved so once you set the level of beautification to your desire, EVERY single shot you take will make you look stunningly good!
The dual-LED Real Tone flash, which is on both front and back, delivers a fantastic combination of yellow and white light to produce well-lit shots that capture your real skin tone.
Thanks to all the above unbelievable shots taken with the ASUS Zenfone Selfie, I am going to start practicing my make-up routines again. And on days when I really need to look my best, this pale face of mine will be looking as good (i hope) as the photos I post online. Going to attack cosmetic counters in malls this week!
A recent scene at a food court during dinner peak hours got me feeling rather upset and angry. It’s not the hysterical crying from my grouchy toddler nor the mess she created on the table with our Salmon Pepper Rice. What got me very upset was the stare and dagger eyes I received within that few minutes from people around us.
You do not know me nor my child. You do not know what went on before the scene nor why I am doing what I did that very moment. You do not know that the little one was exhausted and grouchy due to lack of sleep for the day. You really do not have the right to stare.
Zara is in the period where she is learning to cope with her emotions and anger. Her form of telling us she is not happy or wants to do things her way but got rejected is to throw her biggest fit anywhere anytime. Doesn’t matter if we were in a crowded mall, if she doesn’t get the attention she demanded she would simply throw her butt onto the floor and give her loudest cry.
If she’s restricted to movement and has no way of throwing herself to the ground, she would start her hysterical crying and screaming that will send any embarrassed parents carrying her away from the crowded public space.
But for me, I do just the opposite. I let her be. Because she will eventually stop. She needs to learn that crying or throwing tantrums doesn’t get things fixed. She will just get overly tired after the outpouring of emotions and she will feel worst than before.
We have been doing this to her since she turned two in August. Her period of terrible two is triple times more than what we had to encounter with Ayra. Our number two is much more strong headed and I may say much smarter than how we thought she really is. She know how to take over our mind and drive us crazy just so she gets what she wants; all the time.
Though I really am not bothered by how strangers think about our actions and way of handling the situation, but I just can’t stand them whispering amongst their companions and the stabbing dagger stares from them. You may be an expert in child discipline in your own rights, but please mind your own business and keep your eyes away from us.
I wonder how would they feel when they are in the same situation themselves and being starred at for the whole duration. #notsoniceright