If you follow me on Instagram then you will know just how much I love flat lays. If you're not sure what a flat lay is, it is when you lay things on a surface and take an image overhead. They have become particularly popular on Instagram because smartphones are so good at capturing flat lay images.
They do take practise though and it was through practising them that I started to create little prop boxes at home, so that when I had a few minutes to create one I had everything I needed together. I still use prop boxes today both at home and in my studio. I love to create ones in different colours and ones for each season. Finding stuff to add to your flat lay could take ages, so forward planning with a prop box is perfect.
When you start a flat lay composition first think about your background. You don't want to spend ages putting your flat lay together to then find that the background really doesn't work for the items you've included. I try to take a photograph of one of the things I am including in the flat lay at the very beginning, so that I can check the background.
Once I am happy with the background I begin to lay my things down one by one, starting with the largest item or the most important item.
When you are photographing a flat lay where you want everything to be straight you have to pay particular attention to the spaces between items, and the lines that are being created. It all has to be straight and even for it to work well.
If you are struggling with shadows you can try two things. You can bounce the light back onto the image with a white piece of card or a reflector. Or you can use a different surface. I have taken the following images in exactly the same place but on a piece of wrapping paper and the shadows are hardly there at all.
When creating flat lays you can also add another element that can become like a signature for your brand. I usually add flowers to everything I do for example. Like this...
When you have finished with the main flat lay, it's a great opportunity to take images of small parts of the flat lay at the same time.
This could be a great way to show a sneak peek of a new product range on Instagram for example.
It's useful to have blue tac and washi tape on hand for flat lays in case you need to stick anything down that's popping up! Or to help you keep things straight as you add more things to your scene.
Flat lays are also great for creating "work in progress" images, like planning new designs for example.
Or gift-wrapping ideas that you might want to share with your audience.
It would be wonderful if you could all have a go at creating a flat lay (or more!) and share them on the Facebook Group.
Good natural light, the right background and great colour combinations that work are the best place to start! Have fun and I'm really looking forward to seeing what you create.
I have also created a video of me creating a flat lay for you for some extra inspiration. Enjoy!