Have You Heard of The “Flatlay”?

If you are running a blog, marketting a product or you are simply into photography, you most likely know what a “flatlay” is and you are already shooting many of them. If you don’t, you’d better start incorporating this new technique in your social media arsenal as soon as possible, because this is the hottest trend featuring now.

If you are unfamiliar with the term you have probably seen lots of flatlay designs in your Instagram or Pinterest feeds lately. Flatlay design refers to a shot of items laying flat on the ground, table or another surface shot from above.

Below is a flatlay I just created this morning and named it “A Woman’s Secret Weapons That Always Work” (Agent Provocateur lingerie, a pair of Jimmy Choos, a white pearl necklace, La prairie’s perfume Midnight Rain and a bright lipstick):

Have you heard of the Flatlay?

Fashion items are just one example of objects you could use in a flatlay; you can do a flatlay of just about anything. It can range from makeup, to food, to technology items like your laptop or phone, to anything, as long as it is done from a birds-eye position.

Here is another example of a flatlay I shot recently:

Have you heard of the Flatlay?

To browse through more flatlays check @flatlays or #flatlays on Instagram. These guys are featuring selected flatlays from all across the globe.

You can find a lot of “how-to” articles about shooting flatlays and I am by no means an expert but I would share a few tips and tricks which give me good results:

Use white or neutral background – white background is the most widely used (I put a white blanket on the floor), but black and wood are good choices too. I rather like wood because it gives the photo a very rustic and vintage feel. White makes it look more elegant and minimalist, somehow even pure.

Pick a place with good natural light – I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. I put a white blanket on the floor close to a big window and it works like a charm. You will get best results early in the morning when the sun is not so high yet, before 10-11 am. Later in the day it gets difficult to avoid harsh shadows. Even worse time is at night when you can see your shadow as you shoot from above.

Increase the ISO if it is a cloudy day – I always try to use low ISO to avoid grainy photos but when the weather is bad, you have to increase the ISO above 400 to get a brighter image.

If you have Photoshop apply the Soft Light filter – this trick is sooo awesome and will instantly give your photo vibrant, beautiful colour.

Below you can see the difference in two of my flatlays: the one on the left is the raw unprocessed photo and the one on the right has the Soft Light filter applied:

Have you heard of the flatlay?

Here is a great step by step tutorial you can follow if you are a dummy in Photoshop.

Play around with the objects but don’t overdo it – be creative and throw different objects in the mix but stick to a story. There should be one or two main objects in the photo and the rest should be supplementing your idea. Try to tell a story through your picture, don’t just put any object you find in the house :-).

Like the flock following this trend I must say I really love it! It is time for you to join, so pick up your iphone/camera and add to this hip trend #flatlay.


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