Yesterday I was out to lunch with an internet-turned-real-friend friend (you know who you are!) and she kindly complimented me on how I take my flat lay images for the blog and Instagram. What is a flat lay, you ask? In short, it's pretty much what it says on the tin - an image of things laid flat. A shot from above if you will. And since Tip Tuesday has come around so quickly I thought, why not touch on a little bit of photography advice for this week's segment? So here are my top tips on creating the perfect flat lay.
Focus on lighting
Just like with all good photography, lighting is key. When I started my flat lay snaps I was lucky enough to have a skylight window in my house, which was amazing for taking pictures. These days, I'm left with two options: a standard window or a few soft boxes. Personally I prefer natural light because it looks a lot more, erm, natural (go figure?!) but sometimes the weather simply doesn't want to cooperate. When dealing with flat lay images I've found that the light is best kept above the image you want to shoot. That way it doesn't create any over the top shadows throughout the picture.
Give your pictures a theme
Chances are you'll already have a particular style in regards to what you post on your blog, but to give your images a little bit more of a purpose, try to keep each flat lay focussed on just one thing. For example, if you're going to flat lay your favourite beauty product, try not to snap it alongside irrelevant things, or other products that take away from the thing you're actually talking about. In short, keep it simple!
Switch up your backgrounds
This was one of my main issues at first. Unfortunately not all of us are blessed with marbled top tables (although you can be with my upcoming DIY..#shamelessplug) and shabby chic floor boards, but that doesn't mean you can't fake the look! I tend to collect different pieces of card and material that I like the look of to use as blog backgrounds. I'm serious! To create the look of a white washed floor all I did was take a few slabs of wood from an old dirty crate and give them a few coats of paint that I had lying around my house. Genius. Magazines also make a great backdrop for flat lay images too!
Stock up on props
Oh yeah. People often think I'm joking when I tell them about my blogging props, but I actually have a huge box filled with things that simply look quite nice in photos. Fake flowers, the odd candle, a nice looking plate here and there. It doesn't have to be anything expensive or anything with an exact purpose, but it's always nice to add a little extra to your photos sometimes. Places like Poundland and Wilkinsons are amazing for cheap decor bits that add a lil summin' summin'.
Shoot from above
This may sound pretty obvious, but when it comes to taking flat lay pictures you really do have to get right above the thing you're shooting. This works in conjunction with the lights you've positioned to create the perfect pic. If you're a little vertically-challenged like I am, stand on a stool! Think of it as a little weekly workout.
Up the contrast
Chances are, unless you really are blessed with the best lighting available, the picture won't come out exactly how you wanted it to. But when do they!? We're not Steven Meisel ladies and gents. I edit pretty much every single image that gets posted on my part of the internet, even if it's just a simple adjustment of the brightness and contrast. It doesn't need to be painstakingly edited for hours on end if it's only going on Instagram, but I've noticed it does help to gain a little interest. Not got Photoshop? No worries. You can download image editing apps pretty much anywhere, but if you're working from a laptop I'd definitely suggest trying out Pixlr.
Shoot any questions down below, and let me know what you'd like to hear about next Tip Tuesdays!