10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography


If you are an Instagram Fanatic then you know Flat-lays are the IT moment. They took over the photography world since early 2015 correct me if am not wrong and this bad boys keep serving looks on Instagram and all bloggers are doing it. I got myself a DSLR Camera and boy was that the best decision of my life… A story for another time. But really what the heck is #FLAT-LAY. A flat-lay in the easiest definition is a picture taken on a flat surface at a neutral eye level, a 45 degrees angle or bird-eyes perspective with props on a flat surface. WAIT! What? Think of aerial photography the ones we did in Geography classes… Yup those are now called flat lay in the 21st Century.

Anyways Flat-lays can work with absolutely anything and its a cute way to spice up your Instagram page, Pinterest or blogging display photos. Lets be real its 2017 and the continuous duck face pictures you keep posting aren’t as flattering on your feed. Quick tip, space and spice them up with some awesome Flat-lay pics of pictures of flowers, nail polish, fashion props, coffee or simple negative spaces. No don’t worry, you don’t Need a professional Camera to Achieve A flattering feed. All you need are few key tips and in no time you will be Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography. Here is how much of  difference mixing flat-lays in between makes.

Instagram Handle: @misskymmiee

See how my Instagram is spaced out. First thing I have a White Theme/ Feed going on (there is a lot that goes into it, I will talk about in another post) and I have Flat-lays in between my fashion portraits to create interest and dimension on the profile. If am being totally honest it took me awhile to get my instagram Aesthetics worth looking at. I will be doing a video on how to take great instagram pictures soon, so do stay on the look out. As I was working on that idea, I go an UH-HUH moment on this post. So here goes…

Flat-is the IT-way to photographing anything and everything –  From your beautifully done manicure, to show casing your travel essentials, Outfit of the day,Mouth watering Meal, Girls night out to coffee, mimosa and Brunch, plus so much more. If you aren’t flat laying on Instagram, then you doing it all wrong. As easy as it seems, just getting a higher or stable ground and getting a flat-lay shot. There is more that goes into the mix to achieve a Bomb-Ass Flat-lay and Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography in general. Here are the inner Photography club tips for doing just that. (I wish somebody told me sooner). HA!

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography: 101 – Lighting is everything.

Lighting is the make it or break it line when it comes to flat-lay and photography as a whole. Even if you have the best DSLR, and shoot in poor lighting, your photos won’t be as flattering. Natural Lighting is your best friend. You do not need to dive into expensive lighting. Shoot near a big window that has no obstructions. If you are shooting outside, shoot during over-cast lighting.

It’s just a pair of glasses, but do you see how much work is dedicated to achieving that?

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography: 102 – Straight-Line and S-curves

This was one of the thing I didn’t even know was real till very late. So what in Photography world is this? Straight line are a masculine way of taking photography and s-curves are the feminine way. Still confused? See told you, it was not as easy. But hey I gotcha. When you place props for your flat-lay on grids, you know the X and Y- Axis you did in high school that brings about a masculine vibe without you actually knowing so. This can be from cooking ingredients to show casing outfits of the day. For a more female vibe, think of an imaginary S and align your props on that order. See the pictures below to get a better mental idea.

Straight line and hash edges Masculine Vibe
S-Curve Show case a Female Vibe

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography 103: Have a Go-To Feed Color

Whether you are taking flat-lays for instagram or for your blog. Make sure the colors you use compliment each other. Or you may as well quit while you are at it. Below are examples of a minimal flat-lay and a colorful one. If you are doing this for fun, well have at it, but if you aim is Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography and you want to have professional looking cohesive flat-lays, this is an important tip to note. Also Remember just because it white doesn’t mean it will fit your aesthetic, make sure they belong on the same shades and tone so as to compliment each other perfectly. (More about this, stay on the look for creating an aesthetic Instagram)

Minimal Flat-lay

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography 104: Hero / Highlight Piece

Think of this as the main character in your story. what is the story behind your flat-lay? A good flat lay makes use of two main items at best, a hero piece, and other value-adding accessories (This is used to create interest and dimension on the flat-lay). The hero/ highlight piece can be anything from an inspirational quote, a cute new top, favorite magazine or a new recipe, a cup of coffee just anything. A hero piece should be the ultimate focus of your theme or story. Ensure the hero piece looks great and it’s not overshadowed by other flay-lay props.

Hero Piece: Celine cross Bags Additional Props: Earrings, lipstick and Sunnies

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography 105: Pick a Style

Have this question at the back of your mind. What is your style? There is the Traditional style, This flat lay is achieved by keeping all of your objects lined up in a “square format” when framing your photo.  Imagine there are grid lines on your flat surface. lifestyle The trick with these flat lays is achieving the right framing + balance.  You want to choose an item to “highlight” + then use the other items to create movement around it.

Text in Between, his is basically a hybrid of lifestyle photo styling.  The difference here is that items have been removed or pushed away from the “highlighting” area. You can intentionally leave space open so that you can go back + add your own text in later with an app or in Photoshop. Negative Space, Sometimes it’s a good idea to give your grid some room to “breathe”.  By shooting a flat lay with a lot of negative space, you can still highlight an object while keeping your grid clean.

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography 106: Perfect Backdrop

Speaking of backdrops, you need to find the right one in order to tell your story. Do you want to give it a cozy feel add something furry like a fur rug or throw blanket. If you like minimalist styles go for marbles, wooden floors, or any type of backdrop that says serene and calm. And for those who like to showcase a more fun creative side so color it is. So I find ways to incorporate colored posters and card-stocks to your picture. The right backdrops highlight the overall theme of a picture. And it forms the basis of any Flat-Lay. There is quite a list when it comes to backdrops. Just to mention but a few; Wood floors, Floor Tiles, Card-stock paper, Posters, Fabric, Rugs, blankets, Marble, Table and better yet, if you are on vacation use the sand to showcase your props.

colourful Backdrop
Minimalistic and Cozy Flat-lay

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography 107: A touch of you Personality

What do you normally use on a daily basis, you’ll see a cup of coffee in my pictures a lot. That’s because I love coffee! Add your favorite fruit, drink, or meal to tell people what you are doing at the moment. What type of plants or flowers do you have. I love fake plants(I’ll kill real ones haha) in my room so I have them on my desk, dresser, on the floor in a basket, it doesn’t matter but I want to show that in my pictures too. Sometimes I’ll add a hand in my pictures or even my legs! People like to see body parts…don’t ask me why haha! Add your own quirks to a simple picture.

Every picture does not have to look like its straight from a magazine. Take for instance this picture I was about to have my breakfast at my desk as always but realized “hey this is the best time to take a photo” hence this gorgeous shot!

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography 108:  Invest In Editing Apps

Yes you read correctly, I said invest, as in purchase. Let’s be honest: Unless you’re a pro on the SLR, most of us find them too bulky and cumbersome to carry around on. With their improved quality and fast capture rate, nothing quite beats our beloved Latest smartphones. Besides, it doesn’t matter how good your camera is or how much natural light you have available; your image will always need color-corrected and shadows brightened. With the convenience of photo-editing apps, you now have the power of this in your hands.

Editing Apps

I personally use quite a number of editing apps to twink and perfect my Pictures even after a shoot with a DSLR. There always particular points where you would like to change the brightness, saturation, and contrast in the image. You can brighten the whites and highlight the darks. Some personal favorites are Facetune 2 Lightroom, FCP, Snapseed, Afterlight and VSCO Cam, or for the more advanced photo editors, you can even get the Adobe Photoshop Express App.

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography 109: Consistency

Make sure lighting, editing, and aesthetic goes hand in hand. If you are creating a brand for yourself and you want the brand to personify colorful happy thoughts, make sure your photography is bright, colorful, and a bit quirky with your personality! If you are more on the minimalist side like I am. Make sure your photography is still bright, uniformed in color whether its black, white, even pastels, and consistent with a custom theme such as minimal objects in pictures. If you are a bit of a clutter fanatic make it uniform in all of your pictures but add negative space in between. When someone comes across a picture of yours on twitter or Instagram will they say “oh hey I know who that is!”  Make your photos speak for you!

10 Tips For Mastering the Art Of Flat-Lay Photography 110: Have Fun

It’s almost 2000 Words, when I started writing I was sure I will come across with 500 words give or take to point across my ideas, but hey, here we are. Hope you found this useful and it will be more useful after few trials and Errors.Till then, Let’s  chat and catch up on all my socials linked below. TwitterInstagramPinterestSnapchat. Be a part of my little Facebook Family. For collaborations, comment, concerns or simply saying, Hello, how you doing? E-mail me here info@misskymmiee.com Don’t forget to comment, like subscribe on the Blog and my YouTube channel.

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