By Team Dream

We’re currently featuring the latest jersey from U.S. brand, Team Dream, available exclusively at the CyclingTips Emporium for a limited time only. We asked Sean Talkington from Team Dream to share his top 10 tips for taking the perfect snap of your next #kitgrid.

So, what is a kit grid? Pretty much that. A flat-lay photo of all your cycling gear laid out pre-ride. The hashtag has become popular on Instagram by cyclists taking a photo of the gear the night before a big ride or race.

As with our interview with Sean to celebrate the release of their latest kit, half of what Sean says is in jest, and the other half makes perfect sense. We’ll let you decide which of the points below you take on board. It turns out there’s a real art to getting the shot just right …

“We first started making these “flat-lays” (what the bicycle world now calls a kit grid) to share the prizes for our Sunset Chasing contests (#teamdreamsunsetchasingteam),” says Sean. “My girlfriend Carla is REALLY good at merchandising so all us guys usually grab a few fun items and then stay out of her way while she makes magic. She deserves most of the credit for making us look good.”

“Creating these collages turned out to be so much fun that we kept making more for both Team Dream and the brands we stock at The Cub House in LA. It can be a really interesting and easy way to play with shapes and colours.”

So, here are Sean’s tips for getting it right and mastering Instagram:

1. Funk-shway or Fenh Shui: Think about spacing. The image should naturally flow the viewer’s thumb straight to the double-tap. (Editor’s note: that’s a ‘like’ on Instagram.)

2. Use Complementary Colours: Luckily you don’t have to be friends with Joesf Albers to master grouping colours together nicely (because he’s already been dead for a long time). Just pick a theme and trust your instinct.

3. Backgrounds matter: Use a clean or interesting backdrop. Patterns and textures can be cool too. I used to use the wing of my private jet often, but now it’s almost two years old so it’s not really cool anymore.

4. Props are your friend: We have all seen the basics (kit, shoes, helmet, socks, glasses, etc.) so why not show us something about “you”. What’s for lunch today? How much are you getting back on those tax returns? Share what makes you, you!

5. Get creative: This is 2017. The public has seen it all and it’s up to us as professional Instagrammers to grab their ever-shortening attention. If you aren’t getting the likes, you need to take things to the next level. Maybe try something crazy? Try lighting your brand new Assos kit on fire or using live baby cobras in your water bottles.

6. Primo equipment: Buy a Leica! It will help your photos to look a bit more professional and as a side note you will look SOOO cool taking taking selfies in bathroom mirrors. If you don’t want to fork out for a Leica then the Sony RX100 is a nice starter.

7. Take your time: You are a contemporary artist making something great for the world and sometimes great things take time. If you have to quit your job because it took all day getting the image just right, that’s ok because Team Dream will send you some free socks if we repost your shot.

8. Don’t be afraid to have fun: Because if you aren’t having fun then you are probably doing it wrong! Example: I try to speak exclusively with an English accent whenever taking photos. An English accent is proven to make 90% of ideas sound better.

9. Work off-location: Unpaid interns are the best. Try to work exclusively off-site like I do. It’s a proven fact that directing a photoshoot through interns works much better while ‘Facetiming’ from the day spa.

10. Use animals!: Everybody in the world loves cats. Or at least they should! If your audience doesn’t love cats, then they probably do not deserve to view your beautiful creations.

Are you an Instagram pro? Tag @ctemporium and @teamdreamteam in your next #kitgrid and we’ll be sure to give you a like and maybe even share your photo!

This content was written for the CyclingTips Emporium.