So we have all seen these beautiful, aesthetically pleasing images on Instagram. Maybe even taken some ourselves or thought about trying it. Seems to be flatlay photography is all the rage, but how do you create these eye-catching images?
It’s not all about having the latest camera and god knows how many lenses, these photos can be taken straight from and edited on your smartphone. So now we know anyone can take them, wanna know how?
It’s all pretty straight forward but requires a lot of patience as it really is trial and error. Be warned you are better off taking a few too many shots rather than looking back thinking if only I changed angles. I am trigger happy, I love to take pictures so I will take what looks like the same photo from several a few times just so make sure I have choice when picking my final image.
Think of a theme for your image or series or images, that can range from a colour scheme to a story you want your image to tell. Everything in your image does not have to have an obvious link but for example using shapes and colours that complement each other is enough to make your photo stand out.
The background is very important as it can make or break a photograph. If your aim is to highlight detail in an object or you are going for a clean feel plain backgrounds are going to be your best friend. Large mounting boards, bed sheets or card create a great clean flat background. A marble surface paper/plastic/counter top is the busiest I would go for a simple background.
If you are using lighting and a tripod you may have to mess with your setup and adjust as you go along. Also a step ladder is great, the worst thing about shooting from above an object is balancing if you are not tall enough for the shot. I’m 5”5 and still find myself tip toeing 99% of the time to get the perfect shot.
Studio lights are great if you have them, this means you can shoot any time of day. But not everyone just has studio lights laying around. Daylight works really well and creates a beautiful soft light, I also use my selfie ring light if I am shooting from my phone. I find it works really well because the light is blue based not yellow it is very flattering.
Reflectors are also great to control lighting but if you don’t have them you can use a mirror or white surface to bounce light back on to your subject.
There is no golden rule for this, just choose the main subject of your image and place that first. From then it all becomes a jigsaw puzzle. You can figure out if you want to create a very structured look or something candid. I think both look great, I’m also a lover of flatlays that showcase a limb. Maybe a casual arm or let in the shot, it can look great.
Remember that often times less is more, so don’t go overboard adding things for the sake of it.
Editing & Apps.
I can’t stand over edited pictures! It’s a pet peeve of mine. Most people assume because I am a photographer that I would go heavy on editing. Unless the image is artistic or the aim was to create said effect I go light with editing.
Keep it simple, Adjust the lighting and colour correction if it is needed. There are also filters that do this for you its just a case of messing around and finding what works for you.
My favourite editing apps are:
Vscocam– free (in-app purchases)
They all have great tools and the more you use them, the more you see what other tools they have to offer.
These are all tips I follow to create my flatlays, I’m sure everyone does it differently so it’s about trying and seeing what works for you.