Flatlay’s are everywhere and everyone seems to love them! If you are a product or service based business or even a personal brand they are a great way to showcase your product or business.
Fun Fact: the flatlay was originally called knolling (personally I think that’s a far more amusing name but hey ho, flatlay is clearly here to stay.)
When I first started creating flatlays, I just scrambled some pretty objects together and shot them from above, but as I did more and more I discovered that there was a method to my randomness and I seemed to be using the same techniques overandover. I started getting lots of direct messages on Instagram about how
I created them and so here for your perusal is how I go about Flatlaying.
The basic idea is essentially experimenting with different ideas, different layouts and angles. When something doesn’t workyou can add or subtracted items. Experimentwith empty space and thinking about where to place something in relation to the area. After you have the imagesyou will probably need to spend just as long editing them to get the finished look, but that’s it in a nutshell.
I promise you they’re not as complicated as a simple scroll on Pinterest or Instagram would have you believe! Here I’ve listed my top tips for creating an Instaworthy flatlay so that you can up your game and join in the fun.
Know your focal point.
For me that’s often a cup of coffee, the simple reason is its easy to acquire and I love coffee flatlays and I am not the only one there is an entire account dedicated to them, go check out @coffeeandseasons I promise it will inspire you.
However it’s also a great way to learn to flatlay as a cup of coffee can be added to almost all flatlay themes. Business flatlay –coffee. Fashion flatlay –coffee. Book flatlay –coffee. You get my point.
Knowing your focal point can also help direct the theme of the photo when it comes to planning the rest of the shot.
Choose a background
Choose your background carefully, for example you can use a white sheet, beautiful tiles, a concrete surface, a sheepskin rug, or wooden floorboards. The latter is usually my go to surface since my account is quite rustic and I love to have lots of texture in my pictures but if you are trying to create a slick minimal look or beauty flatlay your best bet is to use a white sheet so it doesn’t distract from the objects in the frame.
This is probably the most overlooked but most important point when it comes to flatlays. Shoot in natural daylight as it will give you the best visual effect. It avoids adding yellow or orange tones to your images which makes them look unnatural and can be difficult to edit out later in the process. Also avoid shooting in direct sunlight as beaming rays will just create harsh shadows across your image which can be distracting from the rest of the flatlay.
Now you have the background and lighting sorted think about placing your focal point, try to keep it off centre. This allows the eye to travel around the image rather than zoning in straight to the centreand drowning out the rest of the photo.
Since you have your focal point you then need to consider the rest of your props. Think about what’s around your house, consider having one or two large items, two or three medium and quite a few little detail that creates lots of interesting details for the eye to focus on
A popular photographers tip is to work in uneven numbers since its more pleasing to the eye and again this is something I noticed I was naturally doing and I promise you it makes a difference.
Build a prop box –if you are wanting to up your game and create a lot of flatlays, you should think about creating a dedicated box for it. In there you can create a collection of beautiful items that you can always have to hand. – – candles, coffee mugs, decorative spoons, old books, pretty perfume bottles, make up, pens, old phones, glasses, quotes etc.
Leave some space
Negative space allows the props to stand out don’t be afraid of it and feel you need to fill the whole frame. You don’t!
Pick a theme
Aflatlay is about telling a story (granted it can be a simple one) but every piece should be a part of that story. The theme can be travel, fashion, beauty, what’s in my bag or my favorite, morning coffee. (can you tell I like coffee…)
Choose a colour palette
Try to stick to 3 key colours at most, if helps create a cohesive feel and not overwhelm the viewer.
Get up high –for this reason I often set up my flatlays on the floor but if you do it on the table you will need to get up high, potentially standing on a chair or even the table itself…if your feeling brave.
I have shaky hands. I have no idea why, but I do. So usually my photos end up a little blurry, so when I’ve tried standing on a chair trying to not fall off, I’ve not had the best results. So for me using a tripod and a remote is one way to make taking flatlay’sa lot easier.
Tip: Take lots of photos! Vary your height and switch up your props it will give you multiple photos to post!
Stay tuned as next time I’ll be talking about how to edit your new beautiful flatlays.
If you find these tips useful I’d love to see them tag me @thewhitethistle so I can shout about you 🙂
Ps. I told you I like coffee flatlays!
Love Abi x
Created in collaboration and first published on Rose Gold Slayers site.