Have you ever heard of a flat lay photo? You may not know the name but you do know the style - a beautifully styled bird's eye view of something super trendy. You can find the flat lay all over Instagram from makeup, to music, to cleaning supplies (that last one is me!) and creates a beautiful all encompassing image to tell a whole story.
My favorite flat lay to shoot is of beauty products but anything you can lay on a flat surface works great to tell a story like this. Here are a few tips for flat lay photos
Decide whether your photo will benefit from a simple background or a background with texture. This may seem a little bit weird but it will give the over all feel to your photo and help you tell the story. Adding a patterned paper in a contrasting color will give a pop to the scene your photographing. Photographing against a white background will add a bit of simplicity to the scene. Play around with different backgrounds to see what story you can tell. An example in the collage above is the flat lay of cleaning supplies - I chose to photograph against my carpet because cleaning is a part of my home, this is an everyday occurrence in an everyday scene.
The lighting in your photos is pretty important. Often you can get a little bit of brightness through apps but if you brighten too much you'll end up losing quality. If you don't have a light box or nice light to illuminate the scene pretty evenly see if you can get the light to scatter across the scene from a window. Stage your photos outside or when the lighting is perfect in a certain room. It may take a couple hundred practice shots in a few different lighting situations to find exactly what you might be looking for when photographing certain scenes. I usually take photos of beauty products on my white makeup storage because believe it or not the lighting in my closet is pretty nice! I also use two clamp lights with bright daylight bulbs to take other blog photos.
When it comes to apps and filters I think the best thing you can do is create a natural scene. I hardly use the filters in the Instagram app as they are often too harsh and overlay weird colors that create unnatural scenes. I've posted before on my top three iPhone apps but one I want to mention in this post is A Color Story. The premade filters give just the right touch to brighten or otherwise adjust your photo for a natural look. You can get artsy with some effects, but generally I'd stay away from those. This app allows for control over curves and control over filters themselves. My favorite filters are Lite Bright & Everyday. These filters are both part of the free Essentials pack and work great to add brightness and make the whites of your photo whites. I also love that I can correct the light warmth because while the light in my closet is great, it is often too warm adding a hint of yellow to my images. I correct that by dropping the temperature while editing the photo. Often you can use the adjustments with in Instagram to get a brighter more defined photo as well. This natural editing will tell a better story and not create unreal, harsh effects.
The camera you have right in your pocket is a pretty powerful tool and if you start off with the right photo you can do some simple edits to feel satisfied with your image. Keep it natural to being with and you'll only need a few edits to add that pop you're looking for.
If you'd like more photography tips, check out the posts here.
Have you mastered the flat lay? Do you use this photo style in your feed?