Flat lays, going straight to the point, are pictures taken from the top angle, usually from a flat surface such as a table, floor, etc. The purpose of this type of photo is to focus on objects on the surface, usually arranged in a very aesthetic way and causing a positive visual impact.
Usamos muito esse tipo de foto no nosso Instagram (segue lá!)
Okay, now you know! Now let’s elaborate, shall we?
One practical way to understand what a flat lay is to check the Cool Flat Lays profile (@coolflatlay) by the amazing and wonderful Fashion Coolture. She is the master queen of the subject, in my opinion (and I’ve been in love with her blog posts and Lookbook.nu long before she even created this profile). And yes, my loves, she’s Brazilian! 🇧🇷💚💛
Isn’t it perfect? You should definitely follow her on Insta, guys!
The success of flat lay photos has everything to do with the popularization of Instagram, and the sharing of cool images of random and cool objects that we have at home. And also, in the case of business accounts, it has become a visually beautiful way to advertise products to customers.
Example of how Glow Recipe uses flat lay photos in its instagram
And for personal projects like blogs, websites and instagram, photos like that are also a great resource to showcase favorite products, personal objects we love, and to record our daily lives. Bloggers love flat lays on the bathroom counter, on the bed, on the rug. Not to mention flat lays displaying shoes, nails and of course, a beautiful meal plate! hahhahaha
No doubt the flat lays that rock online are those neatly ordered, photographed with incredible lighting, and containing beautiful objects. So you might think – of course producing photos like this is just for professionals, right? But I can assure you that’s not true (here comes the crazy DIY lady haha). Let’s get straight to the tips!
Wow, I’m so objective right now! hehe
How to Make Flat Lay Photos at Home
1. NATURAL LIGHT! No wonder my name is Luciana, sweethearts! Haha ha! I am a faithful supporter of the light, preferably natural and very abundant in photographs. Actually this is a consensus among all professional photographers (something I, in this case, am not), but I think it is important to divulge and insist about this with my amateur friends like me.
When I say light, I mean NATURAL! FROM THE SUN! Go ahead and take all your little things and go to the backyard! Or jump next to that awesome window you have at home. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the kitchen, on the porch, or in someone else’s room. Just go there! My fav natural light spot in my apartmment is in the laundry room
Oh, and it only works in the daytime, okay? If it’s gotten dark, the deadline is over. Take the night to have ideas, and after the sun rises again you can to put them into practice =)
2. Define what your background surface will be, do not ignore the importance of this !! Seriously, paying attention only to prominent objects can ruin your flat flay. It is essential to set whether the background will be all white (classic, I love) or whether it will be a nice wood pattern, a soft fabric, your duvet, the floor of the room, that false marble made with contact paper… Choose your background matching the main subject of your flat lay, take the camera and test whether the photo will be filled with that background, or if you need to adjust it in Photoshop, etc.
Tip – Here is a post I made about the importance of working well with negative spaces, in order to value the main object or objects. It has everything to do with this topic!
3. Followers looove with super organized objects. Of course you can not generalize, but often a well organized and beautiful arrangement of elements is the greatest charm of flat lay. So do not feel weird if you waste more time organizing the little things than shooting the pic. Remembering that this “organization” doesn’t ncessarily mean everything will be aligned, okay? You can simulate a disorder as long as there is a visual logic, and the result is aesthetically pleasing. You’ll get used to it (and good at it) with practice.
Last but not least, choose your favorite shot, and edit it like a pro! If you know how to use photoshop, better. Because you can make several adjustments and even modify parts of the photo you want. If not, my recommendation will always be VSCO CAM, my favorite photo editing app. I posted about it here on the blog, with useful editing tips!
Cool, now you know what a flat lay is, and how to make it at home, easy peasy.