Meet your Mentor: Cëe Tay
Cëe Tay from @ardaisy_ is one of those stylists we all want to be when we grow up...well I know I certainly want to! She has created a peachy perfect signature style that sets her apart on Instagram. Her flatlays and vignettes are much loved online and one scroll of the #flatlay top posts can certainly attest to this. Cëe is very clever at teaming products together that make sense and puts them all in context in her own beautiful and distinct way. So sit back, read Cëe’s interview and get peachy keen with inspiration!
Q&A with Cëe
Hey Cëe! Thanks for joining us for a Creatively Squared challenge during our lifestyle month. We are absolutely thrilled to have you mentor the community. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you came to be creating such beautiful flatlays and imagery?
Hi guys! Thank you so much for having me on board, I’m so happy to be part of this! Most people are surprised when I tell them that I graduated with a Business Management degree.
I’ve had a couple of corporate jobs prior to becoming a content creator, photographer and stylist full-time.
Like most people, I started out my Instagram page out of boredom and would follow inspiring accounts. Eventually, I decided to try out a couple of flatlays myself and from there my audience grew and my style changed. If you scroll all the way back you can still see a couple of my older (and embarrassing) photos haha.
Your flatlays and vignettes are next level amazing! Can you tell us about your creative process, how do you come up with ideas for what to share next on your Instagram account?
Thank you! Usually I try to plan my content ahead, by using UNUM I’m able to see the photos that I need to shoot and how they’ll look together before uploading to my feed.
I try to base my content around everyday stuff, so let’s say I’m working from home I’ll style up my desk. On most days, my desk definitely doesn’t look that put together ;) Or if there are beauty products like lipsticks that I want to share, I’ll try to capture swatches of them for my audience to see.
Who or what inspires you the most to create your images and share your journey?
Honestly, Pinterest and Instagram are a great source of inspiration for me. There’s always fresh new content from various creators I follow which gives me new ideas for ways to shoot. Especially after doing this for so long, I’m afraid that my styling becomes repetitive.
Having an audience that appreciates my work also helps keep me going and wanting to share more.
This challenge is all about lifestyle content creation. What are your three top tips for others wanting to produce beautiful content and show products in context?
1. Relevance. Personally, I think it’s important to make sure your photos relate to what you’re trying to showcase. So, let’s say I’m shooting bath/shower products, I’ll try to create a flatlay with props that are related (e.g. a towel, a cute loofa etc.) or in the actual bathroom, instead of shooting the products at a café or something.
2. Layers. An image will look more interesting when it has various layers. Have the products that you want the attention on to be in the middle of the photo, and at the highest layer (e.g. stack a couple of books up and place the products there). The eye will tend to pick up that first.
3. Lighting. Having better lighting will make a difference to your photos, and the colours of the image will look much better.
Do you have any hacks, tricks or tools which help you create your imagery?
I don’t really think there’s any tricks or hacks, but just great natural light! A well-lit photo makes a difference. I shoot at timings of the day that works best for me, and this may be different for everyone.
What equipment do you use?
I use my iPhone 8 Plus for most of my images on Instagram, and a Canon EOS 60D or Fujifilm XT-30 for blog content, videos and client work. I recommend both these cameras, as they produce great image quality and have a flip screen.
Apart from shooting with natural light, I also use a recycled white cardboard to act as a reflector for my photos. It helps balance the light source and brighten any shadows.
When it comes to editing, I use Lightroom and Photoshop. It’s easier if you have Apple products because you can then airdrop your images from the iPhone to your Mac.
What is your favourite image that you have created? Can you tell us why it is special to you?
This one because it took me over an hour to build and another half an hour to dismantle. I’ve never attempted a flatlay this colourful before, so searching for props that I have around was definitely a challenge.
We can all relate to falling in and out of love with Instagram, how has your account evolved over time?
Of course! It definitely used to frustrate me when my likes didn’t hit a certain level because I felt that I had a duty and responsibility to answer to my paying clients and myself. Some people think that likes are not all that important, but to me it’s almost like a reflection of my work performance. I think most creators can relate to it.
But now, I’ve learnt to accept that I don’t need likes to validate what I’m doing and most brands I’ve worked with are really understanding. At the end of the day, I started Instagram to share my photos not for the likes.
I am grateful and appreciate having an engaging audience and lovely followers sending me messages telling me that my work brings them joy.
Cëe is the guest mentor for our September 23 - 29 creative challenge ‘In Context’ and will be featuring her favourite entries and feedback on the @creativelysquared Instagram account. You can find Cëe at @ardaisy_on Instagram. We invite you to join Cëe and the rest of the Creatively Squared community to put things into context. Hit the button below for entry information and full resources.