Flat lays are great for showcasing a product, an outfit, or how an accessory works with an outfit. There have been countless times when I had planned to do an style post, and the weather turned upside down. Here is the alternative, to do a flat lay. It may seem as simple as folded clothes, and natural light, and sometimes flat lays are that simple, but they can become complex depending on what you want to showcase. Here are a few tips on how to easily construct and style flat lay.
I photograph my flat lays in all natural light, and sometimes I utilize a reflector to slightly fade shadows. Natural light makes your flat lay look fresh, clean, and it focuses on the true colors of what you are featuring. After I photograph, I slightly edit the photos by brightening them, and making them crisper. I love the fresh look of a flat lay.
Style it with ease, but don't make it messy. Flat lays are supposed to look effortless, but also clean and fresh. With additional products or accessories, you do not want to cover up important components to the flat lay. Leave some room in between objects, or place them off to the side. Tilt products slightly so that they don't look purposefully placed, while flat lays are supposed to clean, they also should have a slight disorganization. Think of something that would drive an OCD person nuts, and incorporate that idea into your flat lay. You want it to be organized with a hint of disorder.
Details matter. When I look at flat lays, I am always drawn to the products that are accenting the outfit that is being featured, or the little details that finish off the outfit. To add a pop of color to a flat lay that may be only black and white, you can add in a succulent, or flowers to the corner of the photograph. As seen above, I added a bushel of lavender to add a bit of texture to the flat lay. I was trying to encapsulate a lazy spa day in one photograph. How did I do?
Background and backdrop. I love doing flat lays against a white background, it gives it a clean feel, and it helps the items in the flat lay stand out. You can do flat lays on a patterned, and even colorful backdrop, those can be super fun, and totally eye-catching. When I photograph my essential oils, I like to put a patterned backdrop behind them, and I prefer the backgdrop to be slightly wrinkled; almost as if the backdrop was thrown on the floor, and you just left it in a crumpled state. It gives the photo texture. Most of the time, I like to do white backdrops because it gives the flat lay a clean look. You don't just have to use fabric for your flat lay backdrop, I also like to utilize wood, grass, dirt, or even water (in some instances). To take a professional flat lay to showcase a product for an online store, a white backdrop is the best way to go.
Color matters. Flat lays can easily become unattractive when there is a mismash of colorful product on the backdrop. You want to coordinate colors that go well together, or pick neutral colors, such as grey, brown, black, white, and navy blue. It is ok for a little color mismash, but don't go crazy. If you want to showcase color, I suggest finding products, objects, and items that all share a common color, for example, in the above flat lay, I focused on the colors turquoise and green. The items compliment each other, and it doesn't look messy, or out of control.
Don't think too hard. Flat lays look effortless because they basically are effortless to put together. It is just a slight organization of items, and bright lighting. That is all there is to constructing a flat lay.
For more flat lay inspiration, you can visit my Pinterest board flat lay + inspiration