Fresh flowers, everyday accessories, colorful clothing ensembles, and bits of your favorite things — sounds like flat lay perfection, right? While taking flat lay photos can take up a huge chunk of time pretty quickly without you knowing it (because it’s so fun and addicting!), I promise you’ll get better at it once you get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect, and the beauty of flat lays is that you have the freedom to really make them yours! Think of it like a creative, personalized spin of product photography that can be easily done on a cell phone. 🙂
My boyfriend usually takes my blog photos but occasionally I like to give him a break and take my own photos whenever I can. These photos typically are product/flat lay photos! With that said, I’ve been playing around with textures and bits of my favorite pieces to up my Instagram game. Wondering what makes my perfect flat lay photos? Read on to find out!
CLEAN, EVEN, & BRIGHT LIGHTING
This one, I’ve learned, is by far the most important element to any strong flat lay photo, especially if you’re taking the photo on a phone. I hate grainy flat lays, so I do my very best to take my photos in clean and even lighting. My apartment is pretty dark naturally, so if I’m indoors, I like to take my photos near the windows or on a white background for the extra pop and overall brightness. I’ve found that by using naturally great light, I don’t have to worry about unsightly shadows or graininess. At night time, I ditch the cell phone and use my boyfriend’s DSLR and artificial lighting to create sharp, well-lit photos.
You can’t go wrong with shooting a flat lay against a white background (unless the item(s) are white, of course), but I like to be adventurous with my textures when it comes to taking photos. A few go-to textures I like are fur, silk, rugs, unique blankets, wood, and marble! The options are endless here, so feel free to get creative.
PRETTY (OR YUMMY) THINGS
Spice up your flat lay photo by throwing in some pretty things. Lately, I’ve been really into using macarons in my flat lays because they are different and look very aesthetically pleasing! They are also really yummy to eat afterwards. 😉 Some other props I like to use are magazines and smaller items like jewelry, nail polish, and accessories like watches or sunnies. Here, I’ve also played with several different textures including an aztec print poncho (turned into blanket for this shot) and my favorite faux fur rug.
When scrolling through my social media feeds, I’ve noticed that my eyes naturally gravitate to photos with great contrast and color. With that said, I try to pick things with vibrancy to photograph. Color makes such a big difference and I’m all about ’em!
PROPORTIONS & POST-PROCESSING
The perfect flat lay photo is taken from directly above, or close to it. The whole idea is that the photo should look “flat” from where the picture taker is standing. I’m also super OCD about things looking straight if lines are involved in the photo… so if you’re like me, that’s another thing to consider. Getting the proportions right on the camera helps a lot with the post-processing step. After selecting the best photos, I move onto this step.
Firstly, if taken on my boyfriend’s DSLR camera, I’ll play with color adjustments on Lightroom. Then, if needed, I proceed to Snapseed and VSCO Cam. For phone photos, I don’t use Lightroom because it’s just extra work and usually will turn out just fine with Snapseed and VSCO Cam. These are two amazing (and super easy to use!) photo editing applications that work amazingly on the iPhone. I swear by them, and I know a lot of my other blogger friends do, too! When post-processing, I make sure to consider color balance, straightening, sharpness, and saturation. Since I like my flat lays bright and clean, I tend to up the highlights so that the colors come out crisper and the whites come out whiter. To bring out bright colors from items like roses, I bring up the saturation and contrast a tad. This part is really just about practice and personal preferences. After doing it a few times, you’ll learn what you like and don’t like, and hone your eye from there!
Do you have any tips for taking the perfect flat lay photo? I’d love to hear them!
To see more of my fun flat lay photos (and more!), be sure to follow me on Instagram if you aren’t already <3 xo