Become a “Flatlay” Queen! So what are you waiting for?
What I love about a flatlay is the creativity that you can bring to the image and how you can compile all your favourite things to create something pretty amazing, like a story. It can be anything from your OOTD, breakfast, brunch, coffee, beauty/shopping haul or your weekend comforts just to name a few. When creating a flatlay, there really is no limit!
I am pretty pedantic when creating a flatlay – the only time I will do it is if the lighting is perfect, I ONLY use natural light. Even though the lights in my house are those white light bulbs, I still find that they just do not meet my expectations. I also mostly default to using my iPhone 6 camera and have the camera frame setting to “square” which I find helps me to lay all my objects in a square shape but if I’m bothered I will go ahead and use my DLSR Canon camera.
I’m no flatlay expert but I do know how to pinpoint a great flatlay when I see one and not only that but I do love a good flatlay. I’m sure you have seen a few of these Flatlay 1.0.1’s surfing the net already but in case you haven’t and you want to perfect the flatlay I thought I would share my personal tips and tricks for you to take note so you to, can perfect the flatlay.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
If you were to ask me one tip to produce a great flatlay, my answer will be “lighting”. There is nothing worse than seeing a flatlay that has harsh shadows or a reflection from the flash or lighting. The best time to produce a flatlay under natural lighting is in the morning to catch the soft natural light as this will avoid creating shadows. Avoid direct sunlight though because this will give you really harsh shadows and nobody wants that.
I like to set up my station by a window on the floor or on the dining table but you could use an overhead light if you wish. However, just ensure it doesn’t blow out any of the colours and show any reflection if your backdrop or objects are on the glossier side.
ONCE UPON A TIME
If you are struggling on where to start, start by what theme you wish to portray. A flatlay always tells a story… Perhaps you are due to go on holidays soon, let’s say you are going to Fiji – so you could put together pieces that you will be taking on the trip i.e. passport, sunglasses, swimwear, hat etc. Another way to get you started is by choosing your colour scheme where you select items based on that colour. The way I like to work is choosing my hero piece then go from there. Once I have my larger objects on display I will then fill in the gaps with smaller objects like jewellery, best thing to use are rings. Otherwise, I like to just throw in my favourite items and work from that. You just have to try and blend the objects in so it looks like it’s supposed to be there.
BACK IT UP
My go to background is my white crisp bed sheets but I also have two marble tiles that I purchased from Bunnings. I think it’s worth investing in some tiles for you to work with as your foundation too. Other alternatives is a rug, clean concrete, wooden tiles you name it.
COMPOSE YO SELF
I personally don’t like flatlays that are too cluttered as I believe less is more however I found flatlays that are “cluttered” do look good as long as the spacing is correct. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and add different props like flowers (fake or real), sand, rocks, pebbles, marbles, books, plants…. Anything! There is no rule on what you can and can’t put in a flatlay. Hell, you can even do a flatlay based on just food! Try taking the flatlay on different angles instead of having it at a 90 degree angle as well as overlaying your objects and putting yourself in the flatlay. C’mon, don’t be shy!
If you plan to upload your flatlay on Instagram it’s ideal to position the object in a “square” shape but again, there is no rule on this either.
Tip* If you are using your camera to take the photo, you could use the square frame on your phone to help you position the objects to ensure they’re placed within a “square” so it makes life easier for you when you are cropping and editing any final touches.
GET YOUR S*** TOGETHER
I bet if you have never done a flatlay before, you’re probably thinking it’s easy. Well honey, I hate to break it to ya… It’s certainly not easy! So far, I have mentioned you need lighting, background, theme and spacing between objects but being able to have all of these things at once only happens in a perfect little world. You need to allow yourself plenty of time and it requires patience, don’t beat yourself up about it though as practice makes perfect. Hell, I’m still practising!
It doesn’t hurt to brainstorm for inspiration let alone motivation. Pinterest and tumblr is great but Instagram is definitely the best place to go if you want a motivation boost. It’s perfectly fine to get ideas but try to put your personal spin to it so it’s unique and not just a replica of somebody else’s work.
WHAT YOU NEED
I think it’s safe to say that I am sure everyone just uses their phone which is perfectly fine given that the camera quality is decent and good enough to produce a great quality shot. Otherwise if you are a pro then I suggest using a SLR or DSLR camera, either way – just do what you feel most comfortable doing. I mostly just use my iPhone but I won’t lie, using an actual camera will give you better quality images that you can work with when editing.
Once you have your image, it’s always good to add some final touches by using Adobe on your computer if you have the patience or download a couple of editing apps for your phone. I like to use facetune, vsco, snapseed and afterlight.
Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on the technique’s I follow when producing my flatlays – see below for my flatlay heroes.
What tips do you recommend to produce a great flatlay? Until next time.
Disclaimer: All images are rightfully mine unless otherwise stated