A beautiful flatlay breaks up a feed and injects some creativity into your visual diary. When your followers are scrolling through Instagram it’s a refreshing break to come across a beautiful flatly that whisks them away into a dreamland. As masters of content you know all too well that creating a flatly isn’t as easy as one would think so we have compiled our top 5 things to consider before you start shooting.
1) Back it up
A flatlay not only looks pretty but is interesting because it’s a creative reflection of you and your style. Pick items that reflect your personality, then pick a backdrop that compliments (not competes or consumes) the items. Sure you could place your items on a clean white desk but sometimes it needs a little more oomph so try a wooden table, marble bench, textured throw, fresh clean sheets or perhaps even some coloured cardboard form your local shop – get creative!
2) Style Consistency
Consider how to shoot your flatlay so it can best reflect your style and then stick to it, not only will it visually tie your full profile together more tightly but your followers will also begin to recognise your flatlays when swiping through their feed. Take for example the difference between @margaretzhang and @harperandharley, Zhangs flatlays are filled with varied colours/textures/objects just like her style whereas Sara’s (Harper and Harley) are minimalistic/monochrome/simple matching her overall aesthetic and personal branding.
Creative road block? Is your flatlay just not working no matter what you do? When in doubt consider what is the focus of your image, the one item that you want to show off that you are building the flatly around. Once you have all of the props that you want to play around with start positioning in multiples of threes. As strange as it may sound, having an odd number of objects balances out the image and gives your followers something to focus on – the centre object.
4) Lights, camera, action
Mastering the light in your photos is all about natural light (sun vs. lampshade), but not all light is created equal. What is the best light for shooting? Diffused or filtered sunlight – it’s gentlest on the eye and on your images.
Consider this, if you are shooting in the middle of the day this can overexpose your image and create heavy shadows – not exactly helpful if you are trying to highlight the details of a product. Timing is everything so prioritise shooting in the early morning or late afternoon when possible or alternatively you can place a bed sheet/light fabric across your window which will soften the light coming in. Have a play around with shooting at different times of day and with light from different angles to see what you like best.
5) Your best angle
Why you are shooting will dictate the best angle for you to shoot. For example, if you are shooting a table full of food, are you trying to capture the details of the meals or simply showcase the sociable group setting? The angle of an image can completely change the tone so experiment to see what you like best. Jump up on a chair to get an aerial view, drop it low to get a direct front on shot or try shooting at 3/4 so that you can see the items in more detail. There is no right or wrong way to shoot, just your personal preference but you’ll never know what you like best unless you try them all.