I've been a lover of flat lay photography for years. During my degree I produced an entire book surrounding the flat lay aesthetic and ever since it's been something I've loved to incorporate into my blog images and Instagram. So today I thought it would be fun to talk about the ever popular style and what makes a really good flat lay.
The background to your flat lay is what can make or break it. If it's too stark it can be too contrasting against the subject matter but if it's too busy and crowded then it can be super distracting. Personally I like to work with different textures, I find it still adds extra interest to the image but it's not too overpowering to the eye. I find things like blankets and wooden floorboards work amazingly well as not only do they add that extra somethin' somethin' but it can really compliment the aesthetic too.
Flat lays might look incredibly simple, but there is a lot of work that goes into them. Especially within beauty and lifestyle images it's not as easy as just throwing your products on the ground and hoping it looks good. Photography styling is something that I absolutely adore so it's always been my favourite part of taking an image but it takes a lot of patience and practice. Here are some things to take into consideration when styling:
- Is there enough space in the image for everything to have breathing room.
- If the items are arranged in a line are they straight?
- Is the image looking too heavy in any areas?
- How do the items look next to each other?
- Is it too messy?
- Do the props work?
- Are the colours complimenting each other?
Now this is the tricky part. Getting a birds eye view is actually quite difficult, getting it wrong can completely distort the image. If you go too far from the bottom it can make things appear a lot bigger and by going too far from the top it can be quite uncomfortable for the viewer. Getting this angle right on an iPhone is a lot easier because of the handy grid feature so you can match up the lines to make sure everything is straight but on a DSLR things are a little more difficult.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Like with all aspects of photography it just takes practice to find your feet with it. Even if you're not taking pictures practice styling items and it can help you to gather an understanding of how they would work in an image. The more you just play around with things the easier it will become when taking photographs in this style.