The very beginning of your flatlay starts with the surface you’ll put your various objects (or yourself) on. Plain white backgrounds are the OG to help create aesthetically pleasing flatlays (especially for a visual platform like Instagram) because it gives you a lot more room to get creative. White bedding is what I use because it also allows for me to add some texture (extra tip – don’t be afraid to add texture to your flatlays – blankets, wool scarves, lace etc). Generally, you want to stick to neutral backgrounds, especially if you’re only just getting into flatlays. Learn to develop your own eye, in terms of what looks good with certain layouts and textures, before venturing into different backgrounds (such as wooden desktops, marble tiles or even the grass in your background)
Flatlays, for the most part, entail an image being taken from above of a variety of objects or items placed in a strategic or personal manner. There are a number of ways to lay these objects or items out, but I generally stick to the 3 below
– STRUCTURED (laying the objects out in a specific, meticulous and grid-like format)
– UNSTRUCTURED (laying the objects out in a carefree, ‘however you choose’ format. As a guide, use S-curves to help you place items in this layout)
– IN THE MOMENT (laying the objects out in your own way, but including yourself in the actual image)
THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS
It’s super easy to create a great flatlay, but to take it one step further to truly complete a flatlay, add extra little details. I personally like to do this using personalised objects like Polaroid images I’ve taken, or my midi-rings. Use little items to add a personal touch and extra details to your flatlays. You’ll stand out better and elevate a ‘flat’ flatlay to one that has life and a personality linked to you.
BALANCE IS IMPORTANT
When it comes to flatlays, there’s usually a product that you’re featuring, or some kind of main item(s) that you want to draw attention to. Don’t place this around the edges of the image or in awkward spaces within the image. Similarly, if you’re featuring a large object, don’t add 5 more large objects as ‘details’. You need to strike a good balance of large, medium and small objects. If everything is the main focal point (e.g. food flatlay at a restaurant) to tell some kind of story (exta tip – make sure that you clearly define the purpose of your flatlay. I generally stick to either showcasing an object or telling a story), then find ways to space things out thoughtfully to achieve good balance through symmetry.
PRACTICE SERIOUSLY MAKES PERFECT
You WILL take at least 10 images before you get that ‘good’ flatlay. To get ‘great’ flatlays, you need to consistently practice and be patient. What looks good to your eye may look off in camera. You should be changing little things in your flatlays as you photograph. Switch up the detailed items you add as you go along, sprinkle garnishes on your food flatlays as you take photos, or change up the way you’re placing your hands in the flatlay. Give yourself a variety of images to choose from instead of the same flatlay from different angles (extra tip – 99.9% of flatlays are taken from above, but you’re allowed to get up close shots or shoot diagonally. It really depends on your aesthetic and what you hope to capture)
I hope this helps you create something amazing for your series. Feel free to use snapshots of the flatlays floating around on my feed, or use #khaliphaflatlay to see my flatlays.