In all honesty, ‘mastering’ a flat lay photo won’t happen overnight so sorry for the misleading title. That being said, this post contains tips and tricks that you should practice in order to master the flat lay.
As you might’ve read in my Iphoneography post, I shared a couple tips for taking flat lay photos. This post is dedicated to just the flat lay and the tips and tricks I use when I take them.
LIGHTING, LIGHTING, LIGHTING!Every photographer will say that the right lighting is key for any/all shots. If you’re indoors, try to use only natural light (artificial lights like the one on the ceiling cast a yellow glow onto the photo). Most of my flat lays are taken on my bedside table which is right beside french windows. I open the shutters (so that there’s a lot of natural light) and make sure there are no ceiling lights on.
Use a plain backgroundI was going to say just ‘a good background’, but I think a simple background works best. For example, I use the carpet in my bedroom (it looks great after editing). Although sometimes the items I want to photograph clashes or blends in with the carpet so I use a white background instead.
Use propsMy bedside table is FILLED with random items I use for photos. I also use props that are relevant to the photo-like on a desk picture I would use props that would be on my desk (paperclips, folders, pencils etc.) I wouldn’t have a random tennis shoe there (I’ve seen that and all I can think is whaaa?).
Place items or props strategicallyFor as long as I can remember I have been told that I have an ‘eye’ for prop placement. Kind of like when designing a page, always group similar items together. Sometimes though I like space things out.
Draw inspiration from othersIvory Mix, SC Stockshop, Wonderfelle, Haute Chocolate, Instagram and sometimes googling ‘flat lays‘ are just some favorites of mine. Their pictures always inspire me to sharpen and enhance my skills. I try to credit them when I post their pictures on Instagram, but sometimes I forget (please don’t hate me for that).
Some other tips:
- There’s really no right or wrong way to take a flat lay
- EDIT (as in adjusting the lighting, exposure, contrast, etc.) but make sure it still looks natural.
- Speaking of edits, these are my favorite apps: Snapseed, VSCO, Photoshop
- Coordinating colors work best
- As well as grouping items in odd numbers. Explained in depth here