Or simply put, those beautiful product posts on Instagram that are everywhere & look like they have been taken from a step ladder! So, lets go through some things to remember when putting these together. Once you get the hang of it, you will love it. It’s so creative & you can really have some fun with it.
Source your props. Decide what will be the focal point of your design & build around it choosing your colours & design. There are lots of places that you can source beautiful props. Search your house first! Before spending on things that might only be used once for a photo, check that you haven’t got things already that you could use. Otherwise, have a colour pallet in mind & visit places like Zara Home, Ikea, John Lewis, Etsy, Anthropologie - and even some supermarkets have a few nice pieces! Also don’t forget your plants & flowers - they are prefect for brightening up an image. Our eye is most sensitive to green, which is why we will always like photos with anything green in them!
Look for your light. Most Flat Lay photographers will recommend using natural light near a window, but if this is difficult, you can use a continuous light with soft box. Whatever your light source, make sure you are on the other side of the light, so that you do not create shadow!
Designing your Flat Lay. Once you feel that you have the correct lighting you can start putting together your Flat Lay. If you are new to this start SIMPLE. A white table, piece of card or a white sheet. Start with placing your focal point - the item that you want peoples eye to be drawn to - & then work placing props around this. You can work with straight lines with everything central or have props coming into the frame from the edge. You don’t need to ‘over fill’ your design to start with - this can be a little overwhelming. Start with just a few props. You can build up to more props on each design, but when I started this, throwing too much into the mix made my head hurt!
Scatter or straight? Most Flat Lays are either ‘scattered’ (as I call them!) or straight lines. Have a think about what kind of vibe you want to create with your product shoot. ‘Scattering’ props (not literally, but placing them haphazardly) so that things are over lapped or on different angles on the page gives it a carefree, artistic feel. Keeping everything straight creates a very organised, controlled feel to the design. Think about what you would like your audience to see.
Colour. Your colour palette is obviously very important to your design. The ‘hues that you choose’ will convey things about your design & products. Do you want it to look clean & bright or do you want it to look warm, for example? Don’t over complicate it. Try to stick to one colour in different shades or use contrasting colours on the colour wheel. For example, blues & browns work v well together. For instance, if you had a wooden table, with a blue patterned napkin, a white bowl with granola & a blue & white mug (…& a plant of some sort - remember your greens!). You get the idea…
Texture. Don’t forget your textures! Table tops, blankets, napkins, tea towels, sheets, scarfs - anything that creates texture can make your design much more appealing. It will give your Flat Lay depth & interest. I always describe it as wanting to reach out and touch an image. If someone has done that, then to me it’s a success!
Keep going! Flat Lays are honestly quite hard. When I started I thought “This will be a doddle! I’m trained in Graphic Design & I will totally love this. How hard can it be?”. Turns out, quite hard. Took me a whole afternoon to do a few shots at first. Basically, as with anything it’s just practice. Give yourself enough time to play around with layouts. Google ‘Flat Lays’ to get ideas. Just keep going - you will relax into it & work out what works and what doesn’t. Take lots of photos & keep noticing which photos are working and which are not. Good luck!