Instagram in particular is supposed to be a repository of your most beautiful photographs. Juxtaposed with this fundamental truth is another: life is messy.

Recently, I wanted to photograph a gift from a friend. I placed it on my kitchen counter – but no. You could see chips in the tile. Mismatched spices stacked in the background clashed.

I tried to stage the shot from another angle, only to find the view marred by clutter on the black kitchen table (a color that’s not ideal for lighting, as I’d soon learn) and a box of dog toys on the floor. Worst of all, my sunny yellow walls cast a sickly pallor over the entire scene.

I gave up… and decided it was time to consult the experts.

Read on | Los Angeles Times