What is flat lay photography?

What is flat lay photography?

22 December, 2021
What is flat lay photography?
You have probably already seen pictures of beautiful compositions from different objects on social media or on other websites. This type of photography is called  flat lay photography. These frames can often be seen on Instagram, Pinterest, and other online resources that focus on graphic content.

This is the best image for shopify online store (which we will discuss later). In this article we will discuss flat lay photography,  and how to properly shoot and process these publications.

Flat-lay photography is a photo composition with different objects. Not every photo with food, a fan, and colourful stones can be considered flat-lay. The main feature of this style is the location of the camera which is strictly parallel to the objects. The objects are laid out on a horizontal surface, and the photographer then shoots them directly from above without tilting the camera.

Flatlay photography is most often used for Instagram content, which is why these pictures are normally  square in shape. But this rule is optional, rectangular images are also popular and are often used in content for online stores (even for banners on their main pages).

Flatlay photography differs from other directions in that it is very pleasant to look at. You just want to look at the details for as long as possible, even if it seems that the picture shows the most common objects in everyday life. These photographs are so eye-catching because of the harmony in the composition. The number of objects, their location in the frame and how they are relative to each other, as well as the combination of colours - this is the perfect balance of all components, which gives the feeling of aesthetic pleasure.

As you can understand, it is not enough just to throw random objects on the table and photograph them, so let us talk about what is needed to create a real flatlay.

Flat lay picture shooting rules

Some people have an amazing subtle sense for nature, these people can immediately see the perfect shot. They can lay out objects by themselves and capture a small masterpiece immediately. The other people who don't feel so confident can use a number of helpful tips. Let’s find out how to take a flat lay picture to impress viewers.

The most important thing to remember in flat lay photography is, of course, composition. Without it, the photo will not attract attention. You can try thousands of different composition variants until you get something really beautiful, or you can use the simple Golden Ratio rule. To use this, the frame must be visually divided by lines in nine parts. At the points of intersection of the lines and the lines themselves are the strongest places in the photo. By following the Golden Ratio rule, you will be able create an attractive flat lay picture for sure.

Colour harmony is another important component for successful flat lay photography. The ideal outcome is the background and objects are selected so that there are no more than 2-3 well-combined colours in the photo. When wearing a casual suit for example - a bag, boots - 1 colour, a jacket – 2nd colour, trousers – 3rd dark colour, the same rule applies to a flat lay picture. To better understand this, just scroll through Instagram to get an understanding on which colours are better to combine with each other.

If you do not follow this rule, the picture will be too motley. There are photographs in which colourfulness is part of the idea. In this case, you can adhere to the following ratio: 60% - the main tone, 30% - additional and 10% is given to bright accents.

It’s important to choose a background that organically blends with the rest of the subjects in the photo, but doesn’t draw attention to itself. There are a large number of photo backgrounds that you can purchase or you can also draw a beautiful background using Photoshop. Get creative - find an original background, cut out the image and create an awesome picture in photo editor.

Theme choices and ideas for flat lay pictures

It often seems to the viewer that flat-lay is just a picture that depicts beautifully laid out random objects. However, this assumption is wrong.  A flat lay picture reflects some type of  idea. Usually pictures in this style convey some beautiful and pleasant idea, they tell a small pleasant story. For example, a Japanese-style morning breakfast on an eco-friendly tray with a bamboo sprig, or a creative mess on the table of a graphic editor, a reflection of nostalgia for a New Year's trip in the form of photos and souvenirs.

More often, flat-lays are thematic. For example, if they relate to fashion photography they’ll  show fashion accessories,  if its food content they will appetizingly depict food. It’s important that the chosen things are well combined, including ideologically. That is, sea stones need to be photographed along with seashells, and Christmas toys along with other Christmas-themed items.

Here are some practical tips for creating the best flat lay picture.

Emphasize on storytelling. Flat lay is more than just a random mix of items. Add interesting and original objects to the frame that can help tell the story or convey a message to the viewer. Other components play a role here, for example, the choice of colours or the arrangement of objects. Try to keep the viewer interested by adding an element of surprise to the photo. Learn to communicate actions or incidents in your photo, even if you stick to the principles of minimalism.

Empty space. The composition does not have to take up the entire frame. Try to wrap the free space in your favour, and you will see that sometimes more can be done with less. If you use empty space, then only the most important objects remains. Such an unusual composition makes the photograph multifaceted and meaningful.

Enchanting opposites. Get creative and experiment with contrasting objects: Pair hard with soft, square with round, dark with light. Opposites and unusual combinations in flat lay design add an element of intrigue to the shot.

Textures and patterns. Keep an eye out for a variety of textures and patterns. Textures are most commonly found in food photography. But flowers and natural materials can also be interesting props. The image below shows how colours, textures, and patterns complement each other.

Before you start shooting, decide on what topic you want to make a project, what mood you will create, what story the photography will tell. Check out flat-lays of popular bloggers to get inspired for your own work. Then collect the items that may come in handy and, following the tips described above, start shooting. Don’t be afraid to experiment, try different options, everything will work out!

Flat-lay photography is the best image for shopify

Flat lay photography has become so popular thanks to Instagram that this kind of photography is also considered the best images for shopify.  

The Shopify platform is one of the most popular solutions for a successful eCommerce business today. It's so popular because unlike other online store builders, Shopify requires minimal effort and virtually zero website building skills. The owner of an online store won’t need to worry about programming, hosting, or buying a domain through intermediaries. In addition, you can also manage your store from your smartphone.

Often hand-made craftsmen make their stores on shopify. Here are the rules that we adhere to when making flat lay pictures for such stores:

  • Flat lay pictures with a couple of hands in the frame will give you an amazing conversion.

Some flat lay pictures get more attention than others. Why? It's in the hands. The photos in which we see human hands are more emotional and personal, especially when it comes to hand-made goods. We are, “permitted” into the personal space of the master who has created a unique thing - this captivates and attracts attention. So if you want to create a photo with a soul, then enlist the support of a hand format model - if anything, it will be much easier / less impossible than trying to pose and photograph yourself at the same time.

  • White background is one of the simplest, but also one of the best solutions. When choosing a background, it is better not to complicate the situation - plain white background still works well (the most easily accessible option is still a Whatman sheet), this type of background does not distract attention from the main thing –the master’s  work. A simple wooden background also works just as good- a table, a floor, etc.
  • Wow effect. If we have photos that turned out just fine, then we stop at the place and always try to improve them even more in a graphic editor. After all, it is the wow effect that increases the conversion in your online store.

E-commerce shoot  for product photography in Toronto

If you are planning to create your own online store or have already started creating one, make sure to fill it with modern photos and video content . Use the  services of  e-commerce shoot  for online stores at Stylephotos in Toronto. Our photographers are constantly improving their professional skills and keeping up with the latest trends in product photography. Thanks to this, these photographers will create a beautiful and attractive number of flat lay pictures for your online store, which will immediately increase your sales several times. In addition, we also have special photo machines that you can rent and take product photos yourself. 

Flat lay picture with modern photo-machines in modern photo-studio in Toronto

In our photo studio you can rent a horizontal machine for flat lay photography. This machine is fully automatic, on it you can easily bring to life any of your ideas for flat lay pictures. Moreover, you can immediately process these photos in a graphic editor and send them to your social network accounts or to your company’s mail. This is a very convenient, modern and high-quality solution for any online store. For more specific information, give us a call or send us a message to chat.

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