Social media is more popular than ever today, and visual sites like Instagram and Pinterest are ever popular because they allow people to tell a story with a picture. Luckily, technology has improved over the years, and while it’s a bonus to have a professional camera at hand, it’s no longer a requirement to achieve a high-quality image, as smartphones are also great for snapping photos. However, getting that perfect shot takes more than just owning a smartphone or camera. It takes a level of skill and knowledge of photography, and today, Adeniz Villar of Story Place Media is here to provide helpful tips on taking the perfect flay lay photo.
Here at Story Place Media, we believe in the importance of staying inspired. And if you’re like the rest of us, Instagram and Pinterest are huge sources of inspiration. We all have our favorite accounts that we follow and screenshot photos of the things we love, right? I’m guessing on more than one occasion you’ve taken a screenshot of a flat lay photo. You may not have even known it was called a flat lay, but if you’ve taken a screenshot, double-tapped or pinned a photo of objects strategically arranged and shot from above, it’s likely that photo was a flat lay. From food and fashion to desk/office situations, there are endless possibilities and content for you to shoot. The tricky part is figuring out what to shoot and how to shoot it so that it looks good enough to post as content. Whether you’re a beauty blogger, cheese addict (like me) or just want to up your Insta game, we’re sharing five tips and tricks on how to take a great flat lay photo and draw inspiration from what you want to shoot.
1. Pick A Color Palette or Theme.
What’s the theme of your flat lay photo? If you’re a food blogger, it could be ingredients and products/tools used in the kitchen. If you’re a beauty expert, it can be beauty products and cosmetics. Maybe you’re in love with the color blush (because it really is having a moment) and you want to show off some of the lovely items you’ve recently purchased—there’s your color palette right there. Always bring more props than you need because you’ll likely play around with different items and swap them in and out before you get the perfect placement. Make sure your props are different sizes, textures and height because that will always make a more visually stimulating photo.
2. Choose Your Lighting Carefully.
Lighting is KEY! I prefer to use natural light, so we shoot during the day. If you’re inside, you can test opening and closing your curtains/blinds to get that perfect light. If you’re shooting outside, I’d find a good shady area where the light is even. Avoid direct rays of sun as much as you can, and always have a white board on hand, too.
3. Pick A Background.
Personally, I think simple is better. Pick a background that works well with your color palette and props. You want the background to complement these pieces and not distract you from them. You can go as simple as a white board (which I use often) or invest in some fabrics or surfaces. Erickson Woodworks has amazing backgrounds. Neutrals are great and I always love a marble background (#basic, but I love it). I bought marble contact paper from Houzz and put it on a wood board because carrying around a marble slab was a bit too heavy. The wood board is super light and it’s easy to take with me to photo shoots.
4. Tell A Story.
Now for the fun stuff. Start arranging your objects to tell a story. It doesn’t matter if you organize them super strategically or overlap your items. What matters is the presentation and highlighting your hero piece. There’s an art to arranging objects (it may sound silly, but there really is). Play around with your objects and see what you’re more drawn to. For me, I’m more of a minimalist, and simplicity is my thing. If you’re styling these with the intent to have text in your image, then make sure you’re leaving space for that text.
5. Taking The Photo.
You want to create distance between you and your set-up and because you’ll likely be taking the photo from above, make sure you have a step ladder or something to stand on (just be careful and try not to fall—I’ve done it and it wasn’t pretty). You can try to fit everything in the shot or cut off corners of some of your objects. Test out your shots and see what you like best. You may decide to move your objects around and add in other props. Take more photos than you think you’ll need. If you’re taking your photo on an iPhone, you’ve got plenty of editing apps to choose from. I use a Color Story and Snapseed. If you’re using an SLR, then you’re probably already versed in the basics of editing. Just make sure to make those colors pop!
For more tips and tricks on all things content, social media and styling, head over to Story Place Media.