How to make Flat Lay- a mini tutorial
Flat Lays, you gotta love them or hate them they are everywhere! I like to do my own version lying flat on the floor but all joking aside they do have their place.
If you are a smaller company who does their own photography flat lays can be invaluable. Especially if you create handmade or bespoke products. They also make cracking cover pictures for your Facebook page. How do you make a flat lay though?
Flat Lays: Location Location
Quite simply they should convey a message or tell a story. They are actually quite simple to do but there are a few little tips that I’ll share with you here. First up you will need somewhere with good lighting- minimal shadows required. For me I tend to use the conservatory as this offers good all-round light. The garden will also work but I find the winds can be problematic.
Once you’ve established where you’re going to do your flat lay then think about what you will do the flat lay on. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a lovely oak floor with a chalk paint wash (me neither!) then you’ll need to get crafty. Get yourself over to Amazon and buy some sticky back plastic in wood effect. The beauty of this is you can use whatever shade of wood you like. Then get some spare ply-wood/MDF or super thick cardboard and cover it with your sticky back plastic. Ta-Dah you have the perfect base to start.
Flat Lays: What do you want say without speaking?
Now you will need to think of your flat lay objective. Do you want to showcase a product? Do you want to create an advert? Or are you making something that tells people about your business for your cover picture? Once you’ve decided this collect the items that will get this across to your viewers. So, for me if I wanted to create a post on Facebook about taking bookings for Easter I would get a diary, a business card, my camera and a horse shoe. This would say ‘I am looking at dates, taking bookings, here is my business name and information plus I am an equine photographer’
Try doing that with something you want to shout about. What 3-5 items are going to speak for you? Once this is done I will then think about the sub message. Using the previous example, we want to get across the Easter part of the message. Here is where you can have fun and where I drive Richard mad! Hobby craft is your friend, I spend ages looking at random little details. For example, scrabble style letters, flowers, paper clips. Remember to keep in mind your brand and your colour scheme when purchasing.
Flat Lays: Be a hoarder
Over the summer I have collected and hoarded things like press passes, acorns and horse shoes. Now I have a box full of little details I can add. For Easter, I would probably want an Easter chick or an Easter bunny. Perhaps with some spring flowers? Remember Mother Nature can help you here. Think about fresh flowers, go for a walk and see what you can find. Just make sure you can pick the flowers first 😉
Once you have all of this you need to lay it all out as flat as you can. Keep checking from above the board and take test pictures on your phone. Less is more but also you don’t want loads of empty space. Unless of course you’re planning on adding text at a later date. Keep practising and don’t be afraid to experiment. One of the best things I purchased was an embossed leather tag with Frog and Field on it. Less than £20 but it instantly marks the images as mine. Now if you have a DSLR pop it on an auto-setting, no need for Bokeh here and stand right over the items. You need to get directly above them-this can require standing on a chair-be careful! Also, if you are doing this inside with a direct light source watch you don’t have your own shadow on the image!
Flat Lays: Get down low
Then I pop mine through my editing software but this isn’t essential and that’s it. Lots of lovely flat lays that make for great content and are perfect for social media. Don’t forget to watermark them. Good luck and have fun. Speaking of fun, I made a little time lapse video for you all to enjoy.
This flat lay was done using one of my Christmas presents, a gorgeous Fedora that I plan on wearing during the summer. It’s perfect for those long days outside when you can’t be bothered to do your hair and also looks super smart! Once you’ve done your flat lay get down nice and low and try and get some different angles on it. You’ll be surprised what else you can get.