Flat lays are a fabulous way to show off a product. They can be incredibly eye catching. I regularly use them for blog posts. I used to use them for Instagram a lot but my Instagram has become a bit more “fashion” lately. I find that flat lays are especially wonderful to show off beauty products. Over my years of blogging I have learnt a lot and these are my top tips for how you too can create a lovely flat lay. I either use my phone or my Olympus Pen to take my flat lay and product shots. The bonus that the Olympus Pen has over the phone is that it has the back screen which you tilt towards you where ever you are standing and still be able to shoot a product from high up (I’m not certain if that makes sense…but if you know, you know hehe).
Think about what you want you aiming to show off and think of ideas which relate to this. For example, below, I was showing off a beauty product made with coconut so I sprinkled coconut flakes on the surface to enhance what I was trying to show and adding a further prettiness to my background (excuse the tags int the bottom left corners, I pulled them from collaborations I have done on Instagram). The image on the bottom right is from a collaboration I did with Gillette. The aim of the campaign was to show how great the razor is for an active lifestyle and taking the compact razor to the gym for example. So, I added my sports bra, running arm band and some headphones to the shot. The tulips were possibly a random addition but I wanted to add another colour to the shot. It did really well and was shared by many Gillette accounts.
The flat lay further down this post with my legs in pink PJs was taken very awkwardly by myself but with the help of the adjustable screen of the Olympus Pen. The current and eye catching props I added to this campaign for Isey Skyr was my old gorgeous Olympus Pen camera, my personalised phone case and the hot blogger book of the moment. All of these items are vaguely common of Instagram and Pinterest right now therefore are well searched and lusted after. Even though this shot was an advert I felt like it wasn’t too “add-y” and gave a bit more to the viewers enjoyment. Have you got the latest object of desire? A marble water bottle? An initialled personalised phone case? Or some glistening rose gold jewellery? Stick that in the shot to guarantee a double take from your followers.
Backgrounds are the starting point to creating any flat lay. You can go dark or light but the key is to be plain. Plain white backgrounds allow you to fill the area with props without looking too busy. In the image at the bottom of this post you can see I used a soft white blanket which immediately added a cosy factor. I made it for My Top 5 Sleeping Aids blog post. I wanted a plain background the blanket reflected the vibe of the post and wasn’t too busy. A great affordable way to create a lust-worthy background is to buy sheets of wrapping paper from Paperchase for example. There are so many beautiful sheets of paper which can immediately add a fabulous background. Buy a sheet of paper in a block colour or maybe a large pattern of banana leaves, very current! You could add the paper at an angle on a white table adding a small block of colour for a cool original background.
Before you start shooting, think about the aspect that you want to achieve. Do you want a landscape shot for your blog or a square for your Instagram feed? You can pre-program this on your phone and even on the Olympus Pen camera. It is really important that you work this out before you start shooting as it will determine where the items are placed. It is great to fill your area with items but do not overfill it and make it too busy. Maybe allow some things to only be partially in shot for a more interest perspective.
You also need to think about your lighting before you set up. Make sure you are outside or working near a window for some natural light. Even lighting helps, you don’t want to create a big shadow over the items when you hold your phone or camera over the top to take the shot.
GRAB A FRIEND
A great way to make your picture more enticing is to be more involved within the picture. If you can get a friend to take the shot you can involve your hands in the picture. If you show your hands using or holding the product you are able to show the viewer the relative size of the product. The image becomes a touch more candid and makes it more personal.
Have you got any more top tips to share with everyone?