Flat Lay Photography is an ultimate photography trend on Instagram and almost a standard practice for fashion bloggers. Perhaps processing a relatively 2D image appeases our brains, or perhaps it's an aesthetic pleasure to see something laid out in an organised way. But there's no doubt it is an elegant way of presenting e-commerce products that allows plenty of room for creativity. Here are some non-professional tips:
Use diffused white light or natural light. If you don't have access to a studio, a quick way of correcting lighting is to adjust the white balance and exposure on your camera and post edit as needed. Because flat lays minimised the magnitude of the third dimension, shadows can help add depth to the items and make the photo look less artificial. To avoid casting your own shadow onto the set, make sure your light source is not coming from behind or directly above you.
White backgrounds gives a clean and crisp look. Wooden tables or floor boards are warmer and more 'hipster'. If you want to use a coloured background, pastel or dull colours are softer and less overpowering. Try to experiment with different textures like fur, marble or concrete but remember not to let the background steal the spotlight from your product.
Example photos with clearly defined themes
Pick a theme for your photo and find relevant props. Use props of different shapes and sizes. To begin sourcing props, look around you and find items that are of the same material, colour, make or texture. Think about the story you want to tell with your photo. For examples, include the tools and raw material you've used to emphasise on craftsmanship, or include a national symbol to emphasise on the country of origin.
Do you prefer the organised chaos or the orderly arrangement?
Grouping and aligning like objects is sometimes referred to as 'knolling'. If you are presenting a single hero product, try to place it in the centre, you don't want it to be one of the items scattered across the photo. If you are taking a photo for general use, consider applying the 'Rule of Thirds', i.e. placing items of interest along the intersection points of the horizontal and vertical gridlines that divide the photo in thirds. You might find that it is not necessary to fill the frame up with items.
5. Stay Creative
@rizkihiro creates inception like flat lay photos
Get inspiration from other people's work and try it yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback and exchange ideas with others. Keep experimenting and find your personal flat lay style. @flatlay on Instagram regularly posts flat lay shots of different styles. Pinterest is also a great source of inspiration.