Venus Trapped in Mars

23 March 2016

That Stupid Flat Lay

Shirt from The Daily Tay

I've been getting really frustrated because I feel like everyone around me is doing better than I am. Everyone is skinnier. Everyone has prettier photography. Everyone can write better. Everyone has nicer clothes. Everyone has nicer hair and skin. Everyone has a prettier decorated home. 

I'm feeling like everything I do is very insufficient compared to literally everyone else in this instagram fueled world who has deemed themselves, "girlboss."  

Now I work 8am-5pm. I'm not a girlboss. I'm no one's boss. I have a boss, and he has a boss who has a boss. There's no one below me, and there is no one in my company in my department. I'm it when it comes to anything related to advertising, marketing and social media. I kind of like it that way, I don't feel like I'm ever competing. I feel open to try out anything I want, and I feel appreciated when I hit the nail on the head in a project. It's very quiet from 8am-5pm in the cubicle-o-Sarah. I get my work done, I'm happy, my company is happy. 

After hours though, I feel insanely frustrated. I get off at 5pm, sit in rush hour traffic for 45 minutes. I try and go to the gym for about 45 more minutes, putting me home around 630pm. I then cook dinner for me and CB (he cleans everything up, we are very much an even, mutual operation) and we sit down to dinner around 7:15. Around 7:30-8:00pm, I then will try and do all of the blog stuff on my plate. This mostly includes taking photos for posts whether that post is a sponsored post or a cocktail recipe. By this time it is dark outside, and that coveted natural light that everyone goes on and on about is gone. I have artificial overhead light, that's it. 

I know I'm not the only person at this whole blogging gig that works full time, but damn is it hard. I'm so grateful to have the job that I do have, one that allows me to travel from time to time and gives me health and dental insurance and a great 401k. I seem to black out all of that amazing stuff when I see other people nailing things I wish I was nailing. 

I have a post coming up in a couple of days where I've collaborated with Dove. They sent me a series of images that other bloggers had done in the past that the brand really enjoyed. Most of these images were white, bright and beautifully crisp flat lay photos. 

You see though, flat lays are NOT my thing. I try. Lord I try, but I am physically incapable of getting it right. Have you ever heard of that quote from Coco Chanel, "Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory." Well, that's my problem with the Flat Lay. 

I'll start with two items. 
Then think, well that's boring, and throw in six more things. 
Then I'll think, hey that's an odd amount of white space over in that top right corner, let's throw a bunch of unsharpened pencils in there. 
Oh shit, you know what would kill it on this picture? Let's throw confetti all over everything. BOOM! Now just to place my macbook in there somewhere, where will that fit? 
Oh, and my sparkly mouse. Must use that. 
And all of these stickers too, can't forget those. 

Oh man. Then I'm left with a mess of a photo that is too yellow/dark because it is 8 damn o'clock outside and all I have is the light from the ceiling fan. Then I edit the crap out of the brightness and temperature in hopes to fake it until I make it. 

DUDE--- why can't I lay items on a white background like EVERYONE ELSE? Where was that Flat Lay 101 class at the University of Tennessee? I could really use that right about now. 

And I wonder why everyone else's is so much better than mine. I need to cut myself some slack. 

As I was working on the photos for Dove (please have mercy on me when you see some of them, bless my heart I tried) I had everything laid out exactly how I wanted it, when the Jack Russell Terrier terror in my life came bounding in out of absolutely no where and wrecked the whole thing. 

I screamed at her. Loud. 
She put her tail between her legs and ran under the bed scared of me.

I'M A TERRIBLE DOG MOM. 
That damn FLAT LAY.  

I'm just having a hard time over here keeping up with the instagram Joneses. Need more peonies. Need more Rebecca Minkoff tassel bags. Need more pretty donuts.  MUST FIGURE OUT HOW TO FLAT LAY before I go insane. 



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31 comments :

  1. AMEN. I suck at the flat lay too!

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  2. I can't lay flat to save my life. I always get a big shadow, how do you get rid of that?! I don't have time to edit my photos for hours on end to make it somewhat perfect. Oh the struggle

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  3. I'm the worst with flat lays! I'm in the same boat as you with working during the day and not having that coveted natural lighting. Since instagram changed the way their feed reads, I basically get 10 likes (insert monkey emoji that hides eyes). Now I'm off to read your instagram hashtag post. The struggle is real over here. Beautifully Candid

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  4. Two words... light box. (look up the DIY how to) it will help you. I've seen a lot of behind the scene blogger posts about how they take their photos - some are on step ladders and they have a white background and it's actually a board, at the front door of their home with FOOD on the board in the day light... others, it's in a light box, by a window or even on their kitchen table at 9 PM bright light, white background thanks to the light box!

    Trust me - I think we all have the issue with not being able to show off stuff like some pro bloggers do - you're doing a GREAT job!

    Don't let the man... er flat lady get you down!!! ox

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  5. Flat lays are the bane of my existence. Too much work!

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  6. We have so much in common. I feel same way by time I get home I have missed light to get good photos, and that mine are not as good as others I see. Funny part is I always look at yours and wish I could get mine as perfect as yours.

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  7. I think the flat lay is for people that have WAY too much time on their hands. That style makes for a pretty photo, but it looks more like a catalog picture than something from real life. I will take real life over perfection any day.

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  8. I can't do the flat lay either, and most of the time I forget to even take pictures at all. I'm lame.

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  9. hahaha - this made me laugh. i love exposing the utter ridiculousness of what goes on behind the scenes of stuff like that. i've taken a few flatlays on my insta and they're SO frickin hard to pull off. the lighting, the frame, it's all a mess.

    www.allisonarnone.com

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  10. In your second paragraph you used the word "compared"... I think that's your problem! You don't need to compare yourself to anyone and I'm sure you know that. BUT, if comparing is your thing, read this... http://posters-for-good.tumblr.com/post/542977597/if-you-have-food-in-your-fridge-clothes-on-your ... that will put it in perspective for you :) Honestly, the things you mentioned are all REAL LIFE... and I know blogging is great and wonderful and all sorts of good things... but sometimes (most times?!) it's just not real life! You're doing great... keep it up!

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  11. I've been trying to get better with flat lays. I give props to everyone that can do it.

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  12. Girl you are doing wonderful! Don't sell yourself short. I am in the same boat with working a full time job and blogging. Its like double work! Hopefully one day we can quit our jobs and blogs full time! That's my goal at least :D Hang in there and keep being you <3

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  13. I cannot do the "Outfit of the Day" selfies or the Flat Lay. I suck at both. SUCK.

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  14. I admire all of your photos and posts! I look forward to reading your new posts! Hang in and keep doing what you do!

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  15. THIS is so freaking real! I mean real, you nailed it! BUT you are rocking it girl, don't let comparison steal your joy!

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  16. I stopped even attempting the flat lay. It's not possible. The struggle is REAL. I think yours look just as amazing as any ones, though!

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  17. SO MUCH OF THIS!! I am constantly comparing myself to others in the blogging industry (is it an industry?) and I actually have a big post coming up on it soon! I think you are doing an amazing job FWIW!

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  18. I swear to on everything just last night I yelled at my poor cat because he decided playing with the strings on the shoes of my flat lay was more important than anything I was doing. I felt so terrible I gave him all the treats he could eat. And if it makes you feel any better, I totally stalk your Instagram going "how the hell does she spend time in all these colorful places??!!" We all have someone we're jealous of, screw the white perfect shots, I like clutter and COLOR

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  19. I also SUCK at the damn flat lay. Donuts are eaten before there is any time for a picture. Your desk pictures always make me jealous - so I think you win at instagram for that reason.

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  20. Long-time lurker, first-time commenter! I don't have any tips to provide re: flat-lays but I echo a previous commenter--I LOVE the colour in your Insta-feed, including all the colour in your flat-lays! Usually I'm scrolling through reams and reams of the all-too-common white and marble pics, and then one pops up that's full of colour and I know it's you! Without even checking the account! So I basically came out of lurking for the first time to tell you to keep doing YOU. I first started following you as a fellow beagle pal (waves to the General), but I stuck around for your sense of humour and how genuine you are. You've got this!

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    1. Well thank you so much, my friend!! I mean shoot, that is what we are all TRYING to go for is to build a instagram that is instantly recognized as your own and unique. So this is really REALLY a damn good compliment, thank you so much. Come out of lurking more often, I love to hear from you! :P (oh and send all of the beagle pics--- thx)

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  21. Don't waste your tine trying to up your game at something everyone else is already doing. Like Hams27 said, I KNOW it's your IG picture without even checking the account because you use such vibrant colors and filters. THAT'S what matters. All the white, gold, and pink flat lays that are floating around out there? I truly hate them.

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  22. I totally struggle with the flat lay too. Everything I've tried gets deleted before it gets posted. I feel you on this!

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  23. the flatlay is SO hard. I don't know how some do it. also everyone actually is skinnier than me. help.

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  24. Aww. Sarah, I love your flat lays! Seriously I think you're killing the Instagram game! I do know your pain though. I never know what is too much and what is not enough in a flat lay. And I have the dog problem too...

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  25. Pretty Instagram pictures drive me insane too because I can't take pictures like that! My apartment is dark, the walls are not white, I am a horrible photographer it just isn't going to happen but I wish it would.

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  26. I think everyone feels like this to some extent. There is a bit of mania going on in the social sphere and I can't keep up at all! I am too old, too distracted with work and parenting teens and cleaning house and the simple reality is that there is no way I can keep up with anyone but myself. But you know what, this is a great post. So that should account for something! It resonated with a lot of people and that means something! In the end, it really has more to do with my love of writing. I just love to write...it will have to do.

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  27. Oh my god, I should have tagged you in my flat lay trial last week. I even reached out to Helene and Taylor for dog flat lay help. Mine was more trying to get my dog to lie perfectly in a flat lay photo. NOPE NOPE NOPE! She sad in the middle and didn't understand that I was trying to make her lay down around the props not on them. I ended up with a pretty funny picture that was cute so I went with it but totally not what I wanted. I always rush home and try to take all the photos but it's such a pain because I only have light in my apartment for about an hour MAX after I get home. Saturdays/Sundays have been my main time for taking photos.

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  28. (I know I'm way late on this - I'm really behind on my blog reading!)

    First off, I hate that the first thing you said was "Everyone is skinnier." The amount of worth you place on someone's body shape is really distressing to me. In all the pictures I see of your entire body (of which there are few - you do like to hide that on this blog) I think you look like a perfectly normal, healthy person with a well proportioned body that works for you. I may be skinnier than you - but so what? That's the body I was given. I'm sure there are plenty of people who look at you and say "Man, I wish I had her body." People who are heavier. People who are skinnier. People who have the same body as you but don't believe it. As long as you're doing what you want to do in terms of exercise and eating well so that you feel healthy, then you're doing the best you can for yourself. Please accept the body you've been given. You look great!

    And as for the flat lay - I'm sure Dove would not have contacted you to set up a sponsorship without understanding your style of photography and accepting it. If they want you to change who you are and how you operate your blog in order to conform to what they want, then that's their issue. You do you!

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