Okay – I am not a photography expert by any standards. Heck, I still haven’t figured out how to use my big girl camera out of auto mode. So.. take this whole post with a grain of salt if you think I am an expert. But, as you have probably seen all over instagram and pinterest, flat lay photography is all the rage right now and there are so many hashtags that are quite popular! So.. I have been taking these “flat lay” pictures for quite some time now – but didn’t know this is what they were called until I came across Andie’s Instagram Feed – She is an expert and also this is her profession so check out her feed for more bright and beautiful inspiration.
So I tried my hand at this and if you follow me on Instagram you have already seen some of these posts and I thought I would put together some quick tips for you that I find are handy when you are creating fun flat lay displays.
- Props: Have your props or items that you want to photograph all ready to be grabbed and replaced. Don’t be afraid to play with different textures, fabrics, greenery, old books – basically I pick up whatever I see near me and try it out on my flat lay until I get the look I am hoping to achieve.
- Good lighting: Our house has great lighting for flat lay’s during the middle of the afternoon when there is soft and beautiful light. Take some test shots in different areas of your house to see where you can get the best natural light because trust me, that makes ALL the difference. You don’t have to have a fancy camera to take good pictures! Some of the photo’s below are from my iphone and they turned out great (in my opinion!)
- Backdrops: I haven’t ventured much in this area due to limited time and just plain laziness, but there are some cute backdrops that you can just lay on the floor to have a beautiful “backdrop” – Check out Swanky Prints for some fun ones. You can also use plain white bristol board from your local craft store – which I used in the photos below and was $.50.. I liked this option because my beautiful daughter has already ripped up two shoots while she attacked the flat lay set ups. Or you can also use scrapbook paper if you want a particularly close shot – this can be purchased from Michaels or your local craft store. You can see below that I set up the bristol board right on the tiles in my kitchen floor which is where we get the best light. I also had ample props like books, candles, greenery to add dimension to my main point of interest.
- Establish a point of interest: Whether its a mug or a magazine spread, create your set up around this and add your props to draw the eye to the main point of interest.
- Click, Click and Click: Take the same photo at least 4-5 times. With each photo you will move a little bit and the light will be captured in different ways and by doing this, you can play around with the “perfect” shot as you edit your photos.
- Angles: Take your photo at multiple angles in addition to the traditional square/rectangle shot. Sometimes, by just angling your camera differently, or you physically moving to the other side, you can create beautiful movement in the photos.
- Don’t be afraid to get close: I know its already a flat lay and detailed photo, but dont be afraid to snap many shots of different elements in the photo. Some of these might turn out incredible as you are simply changing the point of interest.
- Create movement: Sometimes the best photo’s are captured when you give the viewer the impression that the items (such as plants, greenery) are “moving” or “swaying” effortlessly in your photo
- EDIT your photos! I can’t stress the importance of this. There are many fun app’s available for your smart phone where you can edit right before posting. My favourite is Snap Seed and my go to settings are adjusting the brightness, reducing shadows, and increasing the highlights. In fact, you don’t even need an app if you don’t want to – you can make these changes straight from Instagram right before posting by using the “Edit”option. Trust me – it will make ALL the difference!
Here are some fun examples of what I have been able to capture – Keep in mind again that I am not an expert and these are all just taken when I have had time, good lighting and when I have all the props easily at hand. These are also the best photo’s from the 20 or 30 photo’s I took. Also check out my Instagram page for more flat lays and behind the stories for how I create these!