Over the years, I’ve tried a bunch of different things when it comes to blog photography. While I’ve loved experimenting with different equipment and styles, my favorite by far has definitely been flat lays. When I finally discovered what this type of photo style was called (after seeing it on a few of my favorite blogs), I instantly became obsessed. There’s just something about flat lays that are so satisfying to look at, especially for blogging and building a brand. It can take a little bit of practice to get the perfect flat lay though, so I thought I’d share a few things that I think are crucial for every setup.
The background of your flat lay is super important, especially if you are photographing several products or items in one shot. I think there’s a fine line when it comes to the background of your photos – you want something that’s clean and simple, but that also adds some character and texture to the overall photo. For most of my flat lays, I like to start with a simple white background (a whiteboard, my white quilt, a white tabletop, etc). Then, I’ll usually add in some color and texture by incorporating a blanket or a piece of pretty fabric. Whatever you decide to go with for your background, I suggest keeping things simple by not adding too many colors or prints all into one shot.
I’m a huge advocate of adding props to your blog photos because I think it adds a lot of character and gives your readers a little insight into what your style and interests are. Nearly everything can work well as a prop for your flat lat photo – books, blankets, articles of clothing, candles, home decor, notebooks, wash tape, flowers, perfume bottles, art prints, jewelry, sunglasses, makeup brushes, toy cameras…really, the options are endless. If you’re stuck for prop ideas, take a look around your home for any things that fit with your blog aesthetic (I bet you’ll be surprised by how many things you actually find). Once you have a handful of things to use as props in your photos, play around with them in your photos until you find a setup that works for you. Speaking of setup…
The final thing that every flat lay needs is good composition. By definition, composition is when/how you arrange elements within a photo in a way that suits the core idea or goal of your work best. The key thing to remember about flat lays is that it’s more than just throwing some things down on a backdrop and taking the picture from above. How you display said items and how you arrange your photo makes all the difference. If composition does not come naturally to you, know that you’ll get better with practice. Here’s a tip that’s always worked for me: When photographing a flat lay for your blog, try shooting a few different versions of your set up. Arrange everything for the photo, take a shot or two, and then arrange it in a different way for a few other shots. Not only will this help you improve with your natural ability to compose your photos, but you’re likely to find an even better layout for the shot than the one you originally had planned (trust me, I do this all of the time). Remember, practice makes perfect!
What do you think is crucial for a stunning flat lay?