30 days of creativity: What I've learned from the Creatively Squared community

I’ve been interning with Creatively Squared for around one month now. Going into this internship, I knew I was going to be learning a lot from my time at the company but I didn't realise how much I would be learning from the community as well!

Before I started, I would have probably regarded myself as a somewhat creative person. However, after commencing the position and participating in the Instagram challenges, I was quick to realise that styling beautiful images was not as easy as I first expected.

I also stumbled across the fact that maybe I wasn’t as somewhat creative as I had initially thought. In fact, when entering my first Creatively Squared Instagram Challenge 'Little Loves', it took many hours across several days to perfect my styling, shooting and select my flat lay image. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a natural!

My #cs_littleloves entry - my very first flatlay

My #cs_littleloves entry - my very first flatlay

Before posting my first Creatively Squared entry, I was feeling extremely nervous! I had spent more time than you could probably imagine, ensuring I had perfected the placement of every item. After uploading my image with the #cs_littleloves tag, I immediately began to receive comments from the community congratulating me on my first entry.

It felt awesome, and it was so special that these wonderfully creative people from the community, were taking the time to like and comment on my post. I immediately felt I had been accepted into a wonderful collective of people. During my first week at Creatively Squared, I also spent time interacting with the community and spreading my own positivity and appreciation to other entries. It felt so rewarding to share my support and I found almost every person would respond to the comment and head back to my profile to give some encouragement too.

Although I was initially hesitant and anxious, I am so very glad that I submitted that first entry, because I feel so happy to be apart of this community. After many weeks, I feel I have learnt so much about styling and creativity from Ruth and the Creatively Squared Community. I am so inspired everyday by the gorgeous and creative images produced in the weekly challenges.

My Think Pink themed flatlay

My Think Pink themed flatlay

I’ve found over this short time, my flatlay entries have taken less and less hours of the week and I feel a little less anxious each time I post one on Instagram. And for the latter, this is undoubtedly thanks to the amazing community who shares nothing but love and appreciation for each other’s entries. And so, as a barely broken in newbie to the flatlaying world of Instagram, I would like to share my personal findings and tips that I have learnt this past month.

1.    Go in with an informed (and inspired!) mind

For those who are entering the weekly Creatively Squared challenge, I would recommend doing a little research before jumping right in! Have a look at the sponsor and think creatively about the outlined theme. Think about, how can you relate this theme to… well, you! I’ve quickly learned that going in with no idea how I want this image to look, or not knowing the actual props I’m using, is a bad idea. Some people might be that talented, but for me, it’s not that easy!

Ruth has previously suggested to me, looking at other images online and finding inspiration. I can suggest a few of our amazing creatives whose gorgeous Instagram feeds are full of inspiration:  I love seeing the images from Jinny @TheUrbanQuarters, Lynette @lynettejoie and @thecontentcreative (our very own founder Ruth).

Image by Jinny @theurbanquarters via Instagram

Image by Jinny @theurbanquarters via Instagram

Some of my favourite entries from the Creatively Squared community are those that are accompanied by really insightful captions that demonstrate the concept behind the image and just how much thought has gone into the creative process.

I know now, that the theme is really just a touch point to jumpstart your own creative ideas that you can bring to life your in your own way. By starting off gathering ideas and inspiration it is so much easier to find a way to interpret the theme that best represents you as a creative.

2.   Make use of what you have on hand

Most of the beautiful images we share each week are captured on iPhones, using props that already exist in people’s lives. Go through your closet or cabinet, or event that untouched drawer that exists in everyone’s home that you cannot bear to open or clean out… you might find a treasure that will double as an awesome prop! Ruth has once suggested hitting up the local op-shop, which could personally turn into a very dangerous situation, as I have an obsession with vintage denim jackets.

My 'Fresh Start' themed flatlay using an old shelf as a backdrop

My 'Fresh Start' themed flatlay using an old shelf as a backdrop

Unfortunately we don’t all have the most amazing white tiles, wooden bench tops, lush rugs or painted walls, but it pays to think creatively. I shoot my white background flat lays on an old shelf I found in my sister’s cupboard (thanks Sis). Do some experimenting and find an odd item that might double as a perfect backdrop. I also found this blog about 10 of the best photography backdrops for your home studio on the Creatively Squared blog really helpful. 

Thankfully you do not need a Nimbus 2000 high-tech camera and the latest and greatest editing software. You can simply edit your images using some free apps on your iPhone, how easy is that! Creatively Squared have previously compiled a helpful blog of some free (or very cheap) editing apps you can use Photographic App-titude: The Best Smartphone Editing Apps to Take Your Photos to the Next Level. My personal favourite is Snapseed -  it is very user friendly!

3.  Just give it a go!

I feel so lucky to have been introduced to this wonderful community where anyone can belong. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been doing this for years, months or you are even just considering entering. I highly recommend getting involved and engaged in the challenges.

If you don’t yet feel you are ready to upload your entry with the challenge hashtag, you can still generate some meaningful conversations within the community. Scroll through the themed hashtag and leave a few comments, ask for advice or even find some inspiration to help guide your image.

Well that’s about all I can share at one-month in. The Creatively Squared Community exists to support and foster creativity and I really feel like my own creativity has blossomed over the last 30 days. Thank you to all of the wonderful creatives who participate each week in the challenges, and share a part of your life with us all. I admire so many of you and if you have any advice for people like myself who are new to flatlaying please leave us a comment below!