Whenever I post Instagram diaries on the blog or post a photo of a flatlay on Instagram and/or Twitter, I get a lot of questions on how to take the perfect flatlay. Since I barely know what I'm doing while taking a flatlay, I decided to write down my progress of how I take photos and share that with you in a blog post. So about two months later, the post is finally here. This is my how to: Flatlay.
Composition of your object
The first thing that I find is quite important while you want to take a photo is the composition of the thing you want to photograph. The easiest way to composition your main product is to put it in the middle of the photo, and then place some other things and products around the main object you're photographing. Sometimes I also put my main object a little off-centered, but when I do that, I make sure that it still pops in the photo. Look at the photo above for instance. In the left picture, the book was my main object that I wanted to photograph, whereas in the right picture it's more about the watch than about the book. Play around a bit with what product you want to stand out, so you can work on different compositions of your objects/products.
Think about your background
I always feel like I think about what background I want to have for my photo's. Your background basically consists of personal preference. Whenever I take flatlays, I always think about what my Instagram 'theme'. My Instagram 'theme' is quite white, black and marble, so when I take photo's I make sure it fits into that team. That's why with flatlays, I would usually pick a white background or a white marble background, so that you really notice all of the products in that flatlay. If you really like a printed background for instance, you definitely could go for that printed background. Make sure it fits with your style and your personality will come forward in the background of your flatlays.
Reposition your products/objects
This next one is probably one of the most important messages I can give you. It's all about repositioning your products. I never really get it right in the first photo. Usually I have about 20 photos before I find one I like. -Yes this also happens with flatlays and not just with selfies- I always reposition my products until I feel like it's right to look at. The picture above for example, I had to reposition my products at least four times, and I'm still not really happy with the repositioning of the makeup products.
On the photo below for example, I felt that something looked a bit off in the photo. So I decided to put my right boot up a little more tilted it a bit more, and I moved the hand cream tube that is awkwardly lying in the middle of the magazine. Now I love how the second photo looks and I would definitely post this on instagram.
Add layers to your photo
When I say you should add layers to your photo, I don't mean open Photoshop and add more layers. I find it hard to explain with what I exactly mean by adding layers to your photo. But you could compare it to Photoshop layers. When you look at the picture below for instance, the white covers of my bed are my background. Then I added a first layer, which is the blanket. Because there was this white blank space in the right corner of this photo, I decided to add a magazine with some light/pastell-y colors so it doesn't grab too much attention. Then my final layer is the object I am photographing, my bag. So that's what I mean when I say that you could add layers to a flatlay, to give it more of a 'you' vibe.
Add details (with fabrics and/or magazines)
With saying that you should add layers, I also feel like you should add certain details to make a photo look more interesting. Whenever I feel like there's a big blank space in my photo that needs filling up, I would usually put a magazine there. But whenever I just can't seem to find a pretty photo in one of the magazines I have lying around, I go for something different, such as fabrics. During the autumn season, I feel like it's so much fun to add your knitwear, your scarves or a duvet in a flatlay to add some details. When it's summer, I usually find myself adding lace and other light fabrics.
The fun thing about adding details is that you make them related to what season you're in. Because we're well and truly into autumn for example, I decided to use my blanket as one of the main details in the photos in this post. It gives such a cozy feel to the photo and you will immediately know that we're into the autumnal and maybe already into the winter season.
Think about the angle
When taking flatlays, you should be standing directly above the products you're photographing. I sometimes my flatlays take ages and that's when I notice how much I am bending over to take the perfect photo, because I start feeling it in my back. I wouldn't say that if you feel it in your back that you're standing in the right position, but just make sure that whenever you take the photo that your camera or your phone is directly placed above the products.
Practice makes perfectAs a final tip I would say that practice makes perfect. When I started doing flatlays in 2014/2015 I didn't know what I was doing -and I still don't really know to be honest!. But back then it would really translate into my photos that I didn't know what I was doing. So I just decided to do it more often, and also look at how other people place their products in flatlays.
Those are all of the tips I can give you on how to take the perfect flatlay. I would love to know if you will be using these tips and tricks or if you like taking flatlays!