My free checklist will help you get organized so you can finally run a smooth food photography shoot!
If you’re an Instagram addict like me, you’ve definitely noticed the abundance of amazing flat lays surfacing by some of your favorite bloggers, influencers and brands on the social networking app. A good flat lay is carefully constructed and pieced together with purpose, yet effortlessly tells a stylish story. So what are their secrets and how do they do it? Here are 10 tips for the perfect flat lay photo.
Opt for a flatlay background that complements the featured products and doesn’t distract the viewer from the main subject. Simple backgrounds, such as tabletops, wooden floorboards, white cardboard, bench tops, marble tiles, shaggy rugs and clean bed sheets work well in almost any situation, so have a look around your home for surfaces to flatlay on.
The number one rule of flatlay images is to always shoot in natural light, either in the morning or afternoon as the midday light is quite harsh. Make sure to choose a spot that is filled with natural light, yet not directly in the sunlight, perhaps near a large window or glass doors. If you have sheer curtains, they will be your best asset to create soft beautiful light. Try different places around your home and office until you find a place that gives you the best natural lighting.
The theme is important because your flatlay should tell a story or describe a moment in time, so ensure every piece of the flatlay helps to tell the story and is in line with the overall theme. The theme could be anything, from travel, fashion, beauty and food to ‘a day in the life’ or ‘what’s in my bag.’ Whatever the case, use objects that naturally go well together and would be seen in the same scene.
The aim of a flatlay is to shoot from above the layout, so get up high if you need to and stand on a stool or ladder. If you’ve set up your flatlay on the floor you’ll be able to shoot from above once standing up, but it’s a little harder when you’re shooting on a table or bench top. Get above and over the top of your flatlay for the best shot.
If your flat lay doesn’t look right and you can’t quite figure out why, try the layering approach: if you are styling food, add a napkin on the backdrop, a plate on the napkin, a cupcake on the plate ant sprinkles on the cupcakes (yes, the sprinkles absolutely count as a layer). If you are styling a desktop shot, stack several notebooks, and place a pair of glasses, a pen, or headphones on top. Adding layers creates dimensions and visual interest to your images.
Just like choosing a theme, it is important to choose a color palette for your flat lay so that everything matches. Choose a color scheme and stick to it, whether it is earthy hues, shades of blue or strictly monochrome. Whatever you choose, resist the temptation to add a contrasting color to your flat lay and instead accessorize with black, white and metallic.
Don’t always settle for the first arrangement you place, move things around and experiment with your layout until you find something that you are happy with. Be creative and place large items next to small and dainty items, or layer products on top of each other.
Check out some epic flatlays for inspiration before you venture out into the world of flatlaying. Some of our favorites are @breakfast_and_coffee, @themoderproper, @flatlayforever, @bevcooks. Of course Pinterest is alo an excellent source of flat lay inspo.
If you create flatlay images regularly for fun or for your blog or social media, build up a box of props to help give your flatlay a finishing touch each and every time. They come in handy (and it’s a great excuse to go shopping). Check out this blog post for 10 great props for under $10.
If you have any question or need some help creating content for your brand, I would love to hear from you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!