The Art of the Flat Lay
So, you scan through Instagram and see all these amazing and fabulous flat lay pictures of outfits that make you want buy ALL THE THINGS!!! Trust me, it works, I fall for this type of marketing like you wouldn’t believe. I am a sucker for a beautiful photograph. Now, you don’t need to have a clothing biz or even a fashion blog to want to take fabulous flat lay photographs. I mean, we all take pictures of our food right? Its kinda the same thing. Back in the day before a baby, when I was all organized and showered daily, I used to lay my clothes out on my bed ahead of time. This included all the accessories and shoes too, I just liked the way it looked!
Now, the things you will need to make your flat lay EPIC:
- a camera phone- preferably the latest and greatest as the photo options are incredible. I have a Samsung Galaxy Edge 7. I suggest finding a video on YouTube on how to work all the camera features for your specific phone. I did. Yep, like an old person I looked up how to use it properly. I learned a few tricks too!
- a place to lay your items on. I like a raised surface (I will get back aches if I’m doing these on the floor) I use a folding card table. You want your background to basically be that, the background. The more clean and simple the better. I just bought some cheap white flannel at the fabric store that I drape over the table. It smooths out nicely.
- LIGHTING!! This my darling, is the most important thing. Natural light from large windows or even set up outside. I have learned that I have to take mine during the daytime with daylight. Hence my tag #naptimestyles. Doesn’t matter how fancy your lighting system is, even with “daylight” bulbs….its just not the same. So I have my card table next to the windows with my daylight bulb studio lighting on the other side to balance out any shadows. (I started out ghetto and just used a lamp with the shade off and “day light bulbs” it works too. For real. )
- ladder/chair/ harness system whatever you need to get up and above the flat lay. I stand on a stool or the coffee table that happens to be right next to my set up anyway 🙂
- Your outfit and DON’T forget the accessories! Shoes, scarf, hat, jacket, WHATEVER but make it look like the complete thing! People tend to have no imagination anymore so girl, give it to them!! I would be careful with laying shoes on cloths even if they are clean… a lot of people don’t like to see shoes sitting on the new clothes they want to buy.
Now you are ready to start clicking away!
I usually take 2 or 3 shots at slightly different angles high above the table. Do not worry about lining things up. I capture the stands, the windowsill everything around. (sometimes my own feet). Now this is where knowing your phone comes in handy. Most social networks will post square images the best. So I will crop my photo with a 1:1 ratio for a perfect square. Now here is where you get to play! I want you to know my best images are usually ones where its a snippet of the outfit and not the entire thing in the frame. Enough to see the prints and colors and some accessories maybe the toes of the shoes.
Once you have it cropped now play with the brightness, contrast and saturation to bring the the true colors of the items. I find my camera’s auto-focus is too auto and 80% of the time doesn’t get the colors right.
After getting the colors exactly the way I want, I run the picture through the Snapseed app selective tool to whiten/brighten the background and get the picture to really POP!
GIRL!! Look at that! You should have a stunning flat lay to share with the world.
Don’t forget your WATERMARK! You did the work, now sign that shit baby!!
Do you use the flat lay style? What type of photos catch your eye the quickest? I wanna hear from you!!!