Flat Lay Photography Cheat Sheet

If there's one photography topic I could talk about for hours on end it's the art of the flat lay. And the reason why we all probably love them so much is because the essence of them is so simple but actually when it comes to taking a really good flat lay it's a pretty complex process. It's a topic that I get asked a lot about so I thought I'd put together a little cheat sheet that might make taking an awesome flat lay a little easier. 

QUICK TIPS

  1. Don't over complicate it, keep things simple and let the subject do the talking.
  2. Add points of interest but don't just throw anything in there.
  3. Stick to a consistent colour scheme. 
  4. Let your angle feel as natural as possible and use either your phone or your camera to show you where the leading lines are. 
  5. Allow breathing room for your image, don't cram things in too tightly. 
  6. Try and keep the image even with your props and don't let things get too heavy in one area. 
  7. Don't put a lot of items that are too similar next to each other. 
  8. Make sure if there are a lot of lines that they all match up and are straight. 
  9. Keep a balance between the background and the subject matter. 
  10. Flat lay photography is 90% about the planning and set up rather than the techy side of taking a picture 

BACKGROUND IDEAS

  1. Blankets. 
  2. Floorboard samples.
  3. Bedding.  
  4. Jumpers.
  5. Marble vinyl. 
  6. Books.
  7. Notepads
  8. Trays.
  9. Material samples.
  10. Different types of card.
  11. Magazines.
  12. Tile samples. 

PROP IDEAS

LIFESTYLE

  1. Plants.
  2. Notepads.
  3. Pens.
  4. Books
  5. Lists. 
  6. Clothing items. 
  7. Scissors

BEAUTY

  1. Make up brushes.
  2. Bobby pins.
  3. Lipsticks.
  4. Swatch samples.
  5. Flowers. 
  6. Candles.
  7. Makeup bags.  

FLAT LAY SECRETS

  1. Keep white tac close by, it stops things rolling everywhere. 
  2. You will more than likely get your feet in most shots and have to crop them out. 
  3. Shoot somewhere with the most even lighting environment, I mostly shoot in the bathroom. 
  4. You will look absolutely ridiculous whilst taking a good flat lay, parkour poses will be adopted. 
  5. Practice makes perfect.
  6. The angle is what can make or break an entire image. 
  7. Add layers and texture to the image. 

Do you have any flat lay tips?