The rise of the flat lay has been all over social media, actually, I’m pretty sure that it brought the style to the forefront! While Instagram is still full of amazing outfit shots, flat lay photos are not far behind for the most popular style of image. A flat lay photo is a trademark sign of a blogger! I’m pretty sure the first blog photo I ever took was a flat lay! I’ve been quite honest about my photography skills in the past, but a flay lay photo is actually pretty easy. With a few simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating Instagram-worthy flat lays!
You need to balance out your photo
Finding the perfect photo balance is something that will differ for everyone. When I’m laying out a photo, I try and balance it as I go. What you need to know is that your photo will seem different through the lens. If anyone feels me on that, let me know! Balancing out your flat lay photo also involves paying attention to your negative space. Having space will keep your image from looking cluttered, and will make it more appealing to the eye.
One of the biggest tricks when it comes to photography is the rule of thirds. It’s a where you divide your photo into nine sections. Two horizontal lines and two vertical lines will give you those sections. iPhones actually have the grid on them for you, and some DSLRs have the option to turn it on. The general way to use the rule of thirds is to place points of interest along the lines formed, or where the lines meet. Off center props are more attractive.
Tell a story with your photo
I think we can all agree that a flat lay photo needs to tell a story, right? For me, I always have something that I’m trying to capture when I set a photo up. For example, when I’m taking photos for a travel blog post, the props are going to tell a story that fits the blog post. If you have trouble coming up with a story, then just pick one thing to focus on, and find pieces that compliment your theme. I make sure that my Instagram photo continues the story to the platform so that it entices the audience to find out more!
Another tip about flat lay photos is to take different photos within the scene you have set. After I create an overall image, I’ll go in and get some different angles just to change up the shot. It adds interest and lets you almost dive into the photo.
Don’t forget to clean your lens and surface area!
I’m so guilty of this. I’ll take photos that I love, go to edit them, and I’ll see a big white dog hair in the background of my photo. I love my dog so much, but he sheds like crazy! Before I do any sort of photo I will clean the surface that I am working on. If the props that I’m using have fingerprints or dust, then I’ll take the extra time to clean all of that off.
Lastly, make sure that your lens is clean! This will help your image be as clear as possible. I cannot tell you how many times I have taken images only to find out they are not even worth editing. Since then, I’ve made it a habit to clean my lens anytime that I’m shooting an image.
Add texture and props
Adding extras to your flat lay photo will make it your own. Textures and props can really be what makes your flat lay pop! I keep a wide array of blogging props around my office, and they come in handy. Some of my favorite texture and backgrounds are blankets, faux fur rugs, and even things such as sweaters and tops! It creates depth to the photo and adds interest. I also use scrapbook paper too, and it is so incredibly cheap!
Props come in the way of many things. Books are a necessity for my flat lay photos, and I have quite the collection, so I’m set! Using beauty products is also a great way to add texture. Anything that you find beautiful is perfect to use, and the options are totally endless! If you’re having issues with your props rolling around, you can use double-sided tape to make it hold!
Shoot from the top, and shoot high!
The way to get an amazing flat lay photo is to shoot from the top. This can be done with some steady hands or the help of a tripod. I recently picked up a tripod extension that suspends my camera further out from the tripod. This helps to eliminate the risk of lighting fixtures or the tripod itself from being in the photo. Most of my flat lay photos are arranged on the ground. This gives me a better chance of getting a great flat lay photo.
The last tip is to make sure your lighting is great. Shooting in natural light is always preferred, but you can use daylight bulbs which simulate natural light. When I’m shooting anything for my blog, I try and get the lighting as close to perfect as I can before I shoot. This allows me to have a less edited photo. I usually will utilize natural light, and use my lights as well!