I absolutely love taking flat lays, there’s something just so satisfying about getting the shot. A little time consuming at times but it’s often worth it for the outcome. At first they are a little bit tricky to figure out (wow have I taken some horrendous ones), but once you get the hang of it they become second nature.
The best tip for taking flat lays is to gather some inspiration. It’s quite hard to be able to visualise flat lays, so looking through different types will help you understand what sort of style you prefer. I spend a lot of time scrolling on Pinterest saving images in to multiple boards. There’s a flat lay for whatever you desire, food, makeup, outfits, you name it! As much as it’s great to use sources for inspo, please remember to only take inspiration, don’t copy it!
You need to establish what the focus of your flatlay is going to be, is it one product, or numerous products together? Either way I tend to place my main product in the centre to really draw attention.
Aside from the main focus of your flat lay, you should add a couple of props to give it more dimension. My favourite things to add are magazines, flowers and jewellery. I tend to place my main object in the centre, then have my props in the corners to add more detail. Flowers are normally my go to, they can help add a touch of colour
No matter how much you take flat lays you don’t get it right first time! I find myself constantly rearranging the scene even adding or taking away elements. You never nail it first time. Experiment with where you place things, the angles, the light, EVERYTHING! It might not work, but you never know!
I like using a plain background to really show the detail of the items in shot. I put quite a lot of things in my flat lay and a patterned background would probably end up being too much! For me, I’m a sucker for a white background, it’s plain and brightens up the whole image. My go to is a bed sheet, I love that it adds an extra dimension of texture. However if whites a bit boring for you, don’t be afraid to use a colour to really draw some attention.
Lighting is key in any photo, you want your image to look bright and high quality. The best light source is always natural. I try and take most of my images with natural light in front of the image. This helps reduce the shadows in the photos which gives it a more of a crisp finish. However, some people can do amazing things with light and shadows, so don’t be scared to give that a try, it may just work for you. I think I am going to try and play around with light spots, and hopefully start to mix things up.
It doesn’t always have to be flat
I mean doesn’t that defeat the whole point of a flat lay? Well maybe… However some objects capture better upright. Although most of my images have a focus on flat objects I do like to mix it up by putting objects at different heights, some flat, and some propped up to add some extra depth. When using extra props like flowers I bring them close to the lens to create a blurred effect and add layers to my photo.
Editing really makes a flat lay pop! I never go OTT with my editing, but there are a few key things that I always do. I use lightroom and there’s so much you can do on it! I up the brightness and whites to make my background light and crisp. I also up the contrast to makes my objects stand out. I tend to reduce the shadows which brightens up the image and gets rid of any harsh shadows.
Another great way to edit your photos is presets. I have made a few of mine own for the different scenes but using a premade one can make your life so easy. The image above is edited using 123presets bright & airy. It’s so simple to use, and only a few tweaks are needed to make it perfect, I love how it’s made the image look!
I’ve started to incorporate more and more flat lays into my Instagram feed. Let me know if you’re enjoying them or if you have any other tips!