Before yesterday I had never heard of the term, and had never attempted to create flat lay images. But then Suzy Speaks’ post on how to create these images using basic props popped up on Pinterest and I was intrigued. I didn’t know they had a specific name. I love these types of images, and I couldn’t wait to create my own.
What Are Flat Lay Images?
Flat lay images are simply images taken from above using key items that fit in with a certain theme, subject or colour scheme. They can be used to sell the items in the image or just as a beautiful background picture.
Flat lay images are very popular with bloggers and on Instagram. They make great cover photos and graphics, and can be used as background imagery when creating graphics.
What do you Need to Create Flat Lay Images?
If you’re sticking to basics, like myself, you really don’t need much.
- A phone/tablet with a decent camera
- A table or area to take the photo
- Natural light
- Your items
What am I Photographing?
When I first looked at creating my own flat lay images I thought I would keep it simple and start with four items. I wanted to tell the story of my campaign – Health Matters, Social Media Matters. The laptop and notepad were to show that I like to work anywhere and everywhere; the apple was to show the heath side of things; and the aqua light was to follow my logo colour scheme (I couldn’t get the light to look right in any image – so frustrating!).
Pretty soon I realised that I needed some smaller things to put with my main items. As I was working in the garden (natural light, guys), I used what I had around me – flowers, petals and crystals. I recommend looking around to find items to fit your theme. For example, if you’re at the beach use shells, pebble and sand; if you’re in the office try paper clips, pens, and even pencil sharpenings.
Start small. Choose a couple of items to work with, and arrange them quite far apart. This isn’t about cramming a lot of items in one picture. There should be lots of white (or whatever colour you chose) space. You can slowly add more items, including the smaller things I noted earlier – the ones that make the picture look pretty without overcrowding it.
Then just keep moving things around and taking photos. The great thing is you don’t have to be a good photographer. You just take the photo from above. Move things slightly, swap them round, or completely clear the space and start again. Drop, sprinkle and scatter items if you are looking for a more natural look.
My Flat Lay Images
I ended up taking around 50 photos, and honestly, I only really love about five of them. But it has been a great learning experience. My friends will tell you, I’m not a great photographer at all. So, this isn’t one of those ridiculously difficult Pinterest ‘how tos’ that aren’t achievable at home. It’s an easy and fun way to create your own photos.
These are unedited (except for a bit of cropping) so imagine the impact you could have with a great filter!
But seriously, if I can create my own flat lay images, anyone can do it. I’m the girl who can never get the ‘cool arty’ angles right, can’t hold a camera straight and takes loads of weird blurry selfies before managing to get a half-decent one!
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