Flat lay photography peaked, I’d say, around three years ago. But it’s definitely not going away anytime soon. While some people are already tired of the style, we’d all have to admit that some flat lay photos are just plain good-looking and awe-inspiring. That’s why it’s a staple in most everyone’s Instagram account.
Now, I have to admit that while I did take photography classes in college, I don’t exactly have the patience for styled photoshoots. I like capturing memories! But I learned that there’s nothing wrong about learning a new skill, and product styling is definitely something I can add to the list of things I can try to be good at. I think there are still a lot of areas I need to improve on, but I’m quite proud of my progress. I’ve definitely levelled up my flat lay game, and you can, too. Heed these tips!
Get inspiration from other flat lay photos
There’s no denying that looking at something so good can inspire you to aspire achieving the same or something close to it. So there’s definitely no harm in lurking around pages that showcase nice photos. Flatlay and WhatShePictures are just two of the thousands of accounts you can look at and take inspiration from. But don’t just look at their photos. Study them! Take a look at how the objects are placed. Observe how they play with texture and props.
No, you don’t really need the ubiquitous fur rug to get good flat lay photos. Think out of the box and scour your house for things you can use as props. If you don’t have them lying around, maybe you can make them instead. Re-purpose something you no longer use and turn it into something you can incorporate into your product or lifestyle shots.
Get to know your camera
Whether it’s the one that comes with your phone, a semi-professional one or a more complicated gadget, you need to know what your camera is capable of doing. Just think of it this way: If a driver doesn’t know how to maneuver a car, they can’t really do their job (or do anything at all). Get to know your camera and find out how you can best use it. You may be misled to thinking that you need to buy this lens or that light because you’re not getting the results you want when all you needed was to explore your camera’s functions. Trust me, knowing simple adjustments like how to change the white balance in your camera can do wonders. And subscribing to the “I’ll just edit this in post” mentality is counter-productive. So read up online or watch videos, and start shooting.
It’s a cliche thing to say but just like any form of art, you need some level of enjoyment or at least focus when it comes to photography. Having the right type of mindset when shooting will also help you get over minor hurdles. You’ve been shooting with the wrong camera setting for an hour? No problem; just tweak the settings and shoot again. Spilled something on your backdrop? Wipe it off or use it as part of your shot. The point is: don’t take it too seriously. If you’re focused on getting good results but they’re not happening, it’s easy to get frustrated. So just go with the flow. Try lots of things. Just shoot!
Nobody gets good at something overnight. It takes patience and practice to be an expert at a craft. Keep on shooting ’till you find what works for you and your brand.
Got flat lay photography tips of your own? Don’t hesitate to share them below!