Today we are going to look at composition and styling. These are the two things that are the hardest for me to teach people. Partly because people like different things. Composition and styling are subjective. And partly because both of these things take lots of practise. I am improving and developing my skills all the time and I’ve been taking photographs for over 30 years. 

But, what I can do today is give you my top tips and also show you how I put together a flat lay. Flat lays (images taken top down) are really popular on Instagram and I often think that smartphones were designed for flat lays because they take them so well! 

I find putting together a flat lay really relaxing and I use it as meditation time. They really do take practise but so worth it! 

Enjoy the video.


When you are styling your images it is really important to get the background right. Think of the background as your canvas. 

Great backgrounds for photography include wrapping paper, fabric (linen is brilliant), marble, old wood (dark), painted wood and pieces of card. Try gathering a few and taking pictures of the same thing(s) on different backgrounds. See how they change in look and feel. 


When you start to style a photograph for Instagram (or anywhere else for that matter) think about the story you are trying to tell. Why are you taking the photograph? What’s it about? Or what’s it for? This can be as simple as ‘pink things’ or a little bit more in depth, like the things that are inspiring me for 2016. 

Try to get into the habit of this even if you are just taking pictures to practise. It will really help you to create your image. 


Colour is really important in styling. Take time to think about colour. What colours go well together? What colours fit with your Instagram gallery. My gallery very rarely contains the colours red and purple for example. 

If an image isn’t working take a look at the colours you have used. Perhaps one of them isn’t working in the image? Or perhaps you need to add a pop of an additional colour. 

Look at images on Pinterest and magazines. Look at the colours they have used in an image. Do you like some combinations better than others? Colour Wheels are great for learning about colours.

Rule of Thirds

On your smartphones you can turn on a grid on your camera. This grid helps us with the rule of thirds. If you haven't, turn the grid on as it will really help you to frame your images and place your subject is a good place. 

On an iPhone you do this in the settings. Android phones usually have a grid setting on the camera itself. Please ask me in the group if you get stuck. 

The grid enables you to think of your image in thirds. By placing your subject in one of the thirds you create a balanced image that makes our eyes happy! It also helps you to create images that are a bit more interesting. By placing your subject to one side, for example. 

Find a simple subject and take some different images of it, really thinking about where you position it in the grid. If you want to share some in our Facebook Group that would be lovely! Have a think about which ones you like best. Do some make you feel differently? Can you create a feeling simply from where you place your subject in the frame? 

I know there are a lot of things to practise today. I hope it doesn't leave you feeling overwhelmed but rather it leaves you inspired with a big list of things you want to try! 

If you share any images that you'd like me to see on Instagram please tag them #makelightbeautify. We are going to create a beautiful gallery like this one, so it will be lovely if you do post some. And of course keep asking questions and posting images in the Facebook Group.

Have fun! x