Tips For Success: Flat Lay Photos
A new nook in your apartment that you want to showcase?
An on-point outfit that deserves some extra attention?
Or a lazy Sunday in bed scenery that you want to use productively?
Flat-lay photography is handy when you want to give details on a stage.
Flat lays are a popular type of photography that involves creative still-life photos shot from an above angle, such as a flat lay photo.
They are often used in product photography because it's easy to stage a scene and tell a story through an image, as they allow for a narrower frame with more details without looking cramped.
Let's look at the five most essential aspects for some flat-lay inspiration!
STEP 1: TELL YOUR UNIQUE INSTAGRAM STORY
We're starting off with arguably the easiest way to create flat lays – the story.
The story leads the rest of the creation process.
Therefore, it's worth considering the mood you want to set and which main items (1-3 products) you want to showcase in your flat lay.
Those accessories will be your hero items, the perfect shot.
Something that inspires you.
It doesn't necessarily have to be placed at the center of your photo, but it is undoubtedly the center of attention.
A clear idea of the story you want to tell about your hero item will also help you define complimenting objects.
STEP 2: BE EXPRESSIVE AND PLAYFUL WITH GRAPHICS & COLORS
When it comes to colors, less is more.
Pick 2-3 base colors you use throughout your arrangement, from backgrounds to props; Colors help you direct the story or mood you want to transmit in your flat lay.
Moreover, for small business owners, it's important not to overload your photo by keeping to the limited amounts of colors.
You can also soothe the photo by efficiently enhancing or de-saturating specific colors with some help from filters, such as editing apps like Lightroom mobile CC.
Using the color wheel will give your photos a professional touch with just one click, making it easier to capture the perfect flat-lay photo.
Usually, it presents itself to pick colors that go well together to create a well-balanced photo using the rule of thirds.
Color theory and palettes are often excellent for matching colors and shades.
If you can't decide, you can start with your crucial object and use its color to base a color palette around it.
STEP 3: USE SPECIFIC LENSES TO SHOOT UNIQUE BACKGROUNDS
Even though the background solely serves as the base foundation of your photo, it nevertheless plays a massive part in the composition.
You can get creative with the choice of your background, allowing you to set the vibe for the story you're telling.
Consider using a flat-lay photograph as your background to add visual interest and depth to your content.
Remember to keep the focus on your subject and avoid cluttering the image.
Let's say you want to arrange a beach vacation-themed flat lay: why not opt for a towel, rustic beach walk-like wood planks, or even sand as the flat surface background?
Generally, using a relatively neutral background without much texture or color is a good rule of thumb.
The focal points should be the props in the foreground of your photo and not the background itself.
Simplicity is vital in flat-lay backgrounds; a staple, for example, is a bed sheet or blanket.
We're curious to see what kind of background you come up with!
STEP 4: OWN YOUR LIGHTING
Lighting is a pretty sensible topic here. If the light source is not bright enough, you'll get a lot of very contrasty shadows.
However, you can achieve clarity in your photos and videos with the proper lighting.
In turn, if the light source is too bright, you'll lose delicate color nuances and still have the shadow problem.
A flat-lay photograph can help showcase the lighting and colors visually appealingly.
With flat-lay photography, lighting and a tripod should be carefully placed to enhance the overall composition.
Ideally, you can use natural light, which allows for even lighting.
Cloudy days work best, as you don't get any harsh shadows.
When shooting indoors, you'll best place your items next to a window for natural light.
A wide-angle lens can also help capture more of the scene and make the space appear larger.
If that's not an option, you can also use Photoshop to add a strobe light with a soft box attachment to mimic soft window light.
STEP 5: FLAT LAY STYLES - CHOOSING & ARRANGING PROPS
Let's look at some of the best flat lays, the most used styles, to give you some flat lay photography ideas for your next shoot.
This flat lay might be for you if you're anything like a minimalist,
Neutral, toned-down colors, high contrasts, and few focal points coin the minimalist flat-lay style.
To pull it off, find one object you want to set the stage for, and lay photos of other things around it. The rest of the image can be open space.
This format is quite popular in advertisements because it puts the product at the center of attention while leaving room for the viewer's thoughts and associations.
At first glance, this flat lay might look chaotic.
Props lying around seemingly without any order, no red thread regarding color palettes?
But taking a closer look, it becomes evident that a system is behind the composition.
Popping colors are a great way to add excitement and a bit of playfulness to an otherwise relatively clean and orderly shot, especially when you want to capture the perfect flat-lay photo.
This is also a perfect theme when you want to drive attention to your photo.
Even more so, colors enable you to drive attention to your product or the props in your photo when you pick up your color theme in other props or the background.
You're always on the hunt for a good story, and you know how important it is to support your account visually.
Flat lays are an excellent option for copywriters to open a blog article, a photo series, or a recipe article.
Another great option is fashion photography, which can add a unique and stylish touch to your content.
If you want to use a flat lay as the header image of your article, leave some room for headlines or text when shooting your photo.
If you're unsure how much space you will need, you can use a paper stencil in the form of your text – a square or circle – and arrange it with the other flat-lay props.
When editing your flat lay afterward, you can insert any text and edit font, size, or text background to your liking.
Good apps to do so are, for example, Wordswag or Canva.
Upload your raw flat lay and start getting your message out there.
What are flat-lay photos, and how are they used?
Flat lay photos are images taken from a bird's-eye view, where objects are arranged on a flat surface and photographed from above. They are commonly used in food photography, product styling, and social media content creation to showcase items in an aesthetically pleasing and visually appealing way.