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There’s a flat lay photo craze happening in the design industry at the moment thanks to the wonderful world of Instagram. They’re like the ‘selfies’ for products really. Just do a search for #flatlay on Instagram and you’ll find 332,000 flat lay styled photos and counting.
What on earth is a flat lay some of you might be asking, well, simply put, they’re just a photo taken from directly overhead, looking down on all of your items on a flat surface.
Whether it be for photos for your website homepage, an email newsletter, sending to journalists, printed catalogue or some social media posts – a good flat lay photo can be the perfect way to give visual insight into your style and really tell a story for your customers in an easy and stylish way. Not only that, they’re actually really easy to pull off on your mobile phone and can be nice and quick to pull together last minute, without much space needed.
There are some different approaches when it comes to flat lay styling:
Busy and casual –
(via Resident GP)
Single colour focus –
(via Zohi Interiors)
Minimal – (via Cranmore Home)
Structured and evenly spaced – (via kikki.K)
A few tips for mastering a great flat lay photo:
1 – Decide on a story. Pick a colour theme, a style, a feel, and run with that for all of the items shown in the photo. You want to tell a story
2 – Find some natural lighting. Taking photos from overhead can be tricky indoors as you’ll be sure to encounter annoying shadows. Instead, set up your flat lay near a window and you’ll notice the soft natural light will work wonders.
3 – The rule of thirds. A photography term to help with product positioning. The idea is if you imagine your photo has been divided into 3 rows and 3 columns, so 9 even boxes, the idea is that if you place your items along these lines, in particular where they intersect, it can really help the photo visually and draw the viewer in. It’s tricky at first but play around with it and you’ll see your photos improve.
4 – Crop in. More often than not, flay lays look better when some items aren’t shown in their entirety. So play around with some products just poking in the photo.
5 – Play around with backgrounds. White backgrounds are always a good option but also try experimenting with different surfaces like wooden or concrete floors, some paper or linen for example. Simple, non patterned backgrounds work best usually, but if you only have a couple of items in your photo maybe try a fun printed backdrop to grab peoples attention.
6 – Include items not for sale. Adding some random elements like flowers, leaves, food, textures etc can really help to tell your story and give the feel you’re after which represents your brand or the collection.
Now that you’re armed with the basics you have no excuse to get our there and start snapping some fun new content for your customers!