This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Flat lays are undoubtedly my newest and favorite hobby (obsession) .
There are different flat lay photography layouts and can involve anything you like; be it clothes, food, products, etc. As the name suggests, the subject has to be on a flat surface, and the photo taken from above or a slight angle. There are various advantages of flat lay photography, especially for businesses that deal with products.
While I am no expert at this, through my little experience I have learnt a thing or two about flat lay photography and that is why I am excited to share with you a few tips and pointers to help you up your flat lay game;
Create a theme
Having a theme for your flat lays is the first step when it comes to flat lay photography. This, most often than not, will depend on what you are involved in or what you are trying to sell. For instance if it’s beauty related, most of your products will be cosmetics, or clothes for a fashion related theme.
Find a background
A plain white background is the ideal go-to for many people, because it draws a clear distinction between your props and the background. Vinyl backdrop paper or a marble adhesive paper suit the purpose perfectly. However, to achieve this on a budget (almost free), you can easily improvise by the use of manila paper which is quite cheap, or just using a white sheet. I personally use a vinyl backdrop for most of my flat lays, but sometimes I like to create a more natural background, and in this case the use of a white sheet shows a bed environment. A fluffy mat is also a great background for flat lays.
Use natural lighting
Flat lay photography is quite easy and does not need any complications. Shoot your pictures under natural lighting. This could be outside or next to a window. Do this preferably in the morning, late afternoon or when there is not too much sunlight out. Avoid using flash when shooting, to prevent shadows in your flat lays.
Props here may vary; the most common are plants. These add depth to your flat lays and give them a natural feel. Others may include notebooks or small electronic devices like a camera, phone, or a laptop. For fashion flat lays, accessories act as props perfectly.
You might also like: 20 Best (Affordable) Flat Lay Props
Arrange your props
There are different types of flat lays; whether you are going for a minimalist flat lay or a fully packed one, it is best to leave space between props, so that each prop gets the attention it deserves. Use a square layout if you intend to post the picture on Instagram. For your flat lays to really pop, try color coordinating by going matchy matchy or mix and matching colors that go well together. To keep your flat lay organized, mix small objects with larger ones to create a balance.
Move things around
Before you settle on a final flat lay arrangement, do not be shy to move things around. No matter how good a shot you have captured, if it isn’t fulfilling do not stop there. You will find yourself having a whole different arrangement when you are done from the one you started with. You will find it easier to see the perks when you view your flat lay from a camera, or as a photo.
Break the rules
The right angle for flat lay photography is obviously bird’s eye view. But, as you can see from some of my pictures, which I’m calling flat lays by force, reason being; one- they are placed on a flat surface, end of discussion. How you position your camera will determine how your flat lay turns out. I like to focus on specifics sometimes, while blurring the rest of my props. This is one way to do visual storytelling.
Edit your flat lays
This is the last step before finally posting and basking in the glory of your flat lay. Always edit your photo. If you’re using a good enough camera (I mean phone too), the photo may look perfect, but regardless, you are going to have to highlight this and sharpen that. There are a lot of good photo editors out there. I use Instagram sometimes, but mostly I prefer Adobe Lightroom. I am still learning how to edit using Lightroom more every day, but so far, it is my favorite.
Try these tips to get the most out of your flat lay photography, and feel free to let me know how that turns out, in the comment section below.