take better instagram photos emma haidar

How To Take Better Photos of Your Work with Emma Haidar

In this interview with Emma Haidar, she shows us exactly how she sets up, photographs and edits this photo- taking it from “meh” to “whoaaa”.


You’ve been working hard at your drills, you’re confident in your new lettering skills and you’ve created some beautiful handmade cards. You’ve put so much time and effort into your calligraphy and it’s time you got a social media account to showcase your work.

But it’d be a shame if your photos were blurry and poorly lit, wouldn’t it?

Sometimes the difference between a good Instagram feed and a GREAT Instagram feed comes down to one thing: good photos vs. GREAT photos. Simple, right? Weeeeeell, take it from a girl whose feed wasn’t always brightly lit with crisp clean lines…sometimes a few little changes can make a HUGE difference.

It’s not as complicated as you think.

-Emma Haidar

So I’ve brought in an expert photographer to show us how to create the PERFECT photo. Emma Haidar is a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Ottawa, Canada. Not only is she an amazing momtrepreneur and a wonderful friend (YAY FOR BEING IN THE SAME CITY!), but a quick look at her photos and you’ll know why I chose her for this tutorial.

You can check out the full interview by pressing play below, or scroll down to read my recap!

The links below may be affiliate links where appropriate. This means that your purchase through these links may result in a few cents in payment to me, to support creating further resources like this one! That being said, I will never suggest supplies that I do not personally use and fully recommend.

How To Create an Insta-Worthy Photo (with JUST your smartphone!)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Window with natural light (best) OR two artificial fluorescent or LED lights, OR a soft box
  • Two white foam core boards (one for the background, one for bouncing light)
  • Your smartphone (Emma uses a Google Pixel, and I use an iPhone)
  • Photo editing program (Our favourite is Snapseed)
  • Your artwork!


Here’s Emma’s step-by-step for the BEST flatlay photo:

  1. Choose a window with indirect light (An overcast day is actually best!)
  2. Lay your items down on a clean surface or white foam core
  3. If you want to include your tools (paint brushes or other stylizing elements), make sure to arrange the composition in a way that is BALANCED!
  4. Use your second piece of foam core board on the OPPOSITE side of the light to bounce light back into the photo (This helps remove harsh shadows)
  5. With the regular camera app turn on the GRID option – this will help you stay leveled!
  6. Tap on the area you want to remain focused – AKA your artwork
  7. Change exposure if needed and LOCK IT! If you lock the focus and exposure, you won’t have to play around with it again!

Here are some of Emma’s other favourite tips:

  • You can create a “faux” textured backgrounds by gluing contact paper to a foam core! Try it out with faux marble, wood and tile contact paper! (Check out the photo below with the marble background!)
  • You know those “weekly meal subscription” boxes? The insulated foil lining makes for a perfect DIY reflector!
  • It is easier to crop an image during editing than it is to realize you missed a portion of the photo and have to restart – Emma suggests taking photos in the regular full camera mode!
  • Some shadows are good for depth, so don’t feel like you need to remove them all.
  • If you have a newer smartphone, “portrait mode” is a great setting to use, especially if you are putting focus on a product!
  • Consistency is key! Keep track of which photos get the best response from your audience, and stick to it!

Watching Emma’s live process yourself will be the best way to see how Emma utilizes the tools provided, so you can see HOW and WHERE she uses them. She also shares with us some of the BEST photo tips, and completely BLEW MY MIND with a few of them
(ummmm, how did I not know you could change the exposure IN the camera app!?)

Check out the full video here (or scroll up to the video above), and watch how quickly your photo skills improve!!


I really hope you enjoyed this interview! Make sure you’re subscribed to The Happy Ever Crafter TV to catch the rest in the series! And one last HUGE thank you to Emma!

Interested in more of these interviews? You can also join the Facebook group, where these Q&A’s are hosted LIVE, and submit your own questions for future guests.

As an added bonus, just enter your name/email below, and I’ll send over Emma’s “5 Tips for Taking Better Photos With Your Phone” cheat sheet!

take better photos with your phone instagram emma haidar
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  1. So the video tutorial on how to take better photographs of my work, is one of the best, and most useful, video tutorials I have ever watched. Clear, concise, and full of helpful tips that made me actually think “hey, I can do this”, and guess what, I can and did. Thank you both so much for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it!

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