How to take a perfect flatlay
Wanna learn how to take a gorgeous, bright flatlay photo?
You might not catch me snapping pictures of my food when I’m at a restaurant, but it’s a whole different story when it comes to taking pictures for this blog. As you guys know, one of my favorite things to write about is photography and recently the hilarious Instagram Husband video inspired me to create today’s post! Ready to take take some superfly shots for your Instagram feed?
Okay, I’d like to apologize for using the term “superfly.”
USE NATURAL LIGHT
Yes I mention this in every single one of my photography posts and I’ll say it again: daylight is your best friend when it comes to taking gorgeous photos. Avoid direct sunlight as it can be very harsh and can easily create shadows and uneven light-especially when shooting “from above”. The best thing is to take your picture near a window. To eliminate shadows you can also use a reflector or a white piece of paper to bounce off the light.
TEST & SHOOT FROM ABOVE
Duh. The whole idea of a “flatlay” is that it’s well… flat and taken from “above.” However, not everything looks “pretty”, for the lack of a better word, when photographed in this fashion. Objects that are large, slightly “tall” or bulky might cast shadows or simply not look good when photographed form a bird’s eye view. This is why when setting up or “styling” your shot, it’s important to “test” the picture first, and see if it works. Anything that is naturally flat like books, magazines, certain makeup products, plates, etc., will always look good when shot from “above.”
DRESS IT UP AND ADD TEXTURE….
I love “dressing up” my pictures, especially for my lifestyle posts. When doing this, I usually start with a largest or “main” item and then add a few things like some jewelry, or some blankets, magazines to not only make the shot more interesting but to also add some texture to it. And if you’re not a fan of “dressing up” your photos…
OR KEEP IT CLEAN
… then keep it clean and simple by only including one or two subjects. I honestly love both styles and can’t commit to just one. Very often though, less is in fact more. Keep in mind that empty space can work very nicely with a single object.
CREATE SPACE BETWEEN OBJECTS
As I mentioned above, taking pictures in a “flatlay” fashion can be a little bit difficult because it can easily create/cast shadows. I learned the hard way that it’s best to consistently space your objects apart to eliminate shadows as much as possible. If you’re photographing things that like makeup (lipsticks, mascara) that have round packaging and can easily “roll off” or move, then use a small piece of double-sided tape to keep it in place.
USE BRIGHT BACKGROUND
This is not a necessity but I find that using bright background helps when working with limited light source. White is always a good choice since it’s simple and clean. I also love white/gray marble because it easily “hides” shadows (find out how to make your own marble background right here).
And when I say edit, I don’t mean filter the crap out of that picture (especially when you’re photographing makeup products, you want the colors to stay true to what they really look like). I almost never use filters on my Instagram posts, but I always edit them. Depending on my lighting conditions I’ll brighten, sharpen and reduce shadows.
As much as my sister loves to call me a “know-it-all” I never claimed to be one, so keep that in mind. I’m no pro when it comes to photography, but I’ve learned a whole lot over the last couple of years (started from the bottom now we’re here). Lastly, don’t stress out if you don’t think that your pictures are perfect- I personally love “real” images with a few shadows here and there a lot more than obviously over-edited ones. And if perfect is what you’re after, remember practice makes perfect- it’s the only way to learn ;) .
BTW, are you guys just obsessed with Instagram as I am?