One of the things I love most about blogging is creating pretty pictures and having lots of fun with photography. Flat lays are a fabulous way to create gorgeous images to share on your blog and Instagram. They are ideal for showing off your favourite products, as well as being a great way to get creative and have a bit of fun with your blog photography. Here are a few tips to maximise your flat lays and make the most of your blog photography.
Choosing a background
First things first, you need to choose the perfect background for your flat lay. You can use pretty much anything around the house from your floor, to your bed, to your kitchen counter, there are plenty of things you already have that make great photo background.
You can also pick up nice pieces of paper, pretty fabric, wallpaper samples or make pretty backgrounds with sticky back plastic and a piece of board. I usually use wood effect wallpaper for mine. It’s great to have continuity across your pictures, so choose 2 or 3 backgrounds and use them consistently for all your flat lay pictures.
Get the right lighting
The right lighting can make or break your pictures. Natural light is always best, so if possible, choose a bright area without too much direct light which can make your pictures a bit shadowy. The diffused light of overcast days always creates the best lighting.
If you struggle for perfect natural light you might want to invest in a soft box light.
Sticking to your theme and niche
When it comes to blogging and Instagram advice, one of the first things you’ll hear is to focus on your niche and to find a theme.
Flat lays and blog photography in general are a brilliant way to convey who you are and what you do. They are a great way to be consistent, to stand out and to make your work instantly recognisable as yours. Ideally as someone is scrolling down their feed they should know who?s taken the picture before they even read the name.
I use vintage props to tie my niche into beauty posts.
Why not create a mood board of images you love and colour themes that you can use across your work? You can then start to plan the kind of props that you?d like to use in your flat lays, no matter what you’ll be showing off in the pictures.
Working like this makes it far easier to plan and work on sponsored or gifted content, because it makes it a lot easier to tie it in with the rest of your content.
Flat lays are all about pretty props to fill the gaps between the products or items you want to show off. They are also a great way to tie your pictures in with your theme, colour scheme or niche.
I write about vintage things and have lots of flowers in my pictures and on my Instagram grid, so I always try to collect pretty vintage items to use as props and often include fresh and faux flowers in my pictures. That way, they fit with the style of my blog, my insta theme and are hopefully recognisable instantly to my followers as mine.
I have a box of flat lays props that I have collected as and when I’ve seen them. This comes in so handy when I want to throw a flat lay together. I also use items from around the house such as books, stationery and cups of tea to make my pictures more relatable. I pick up lots of pretty things at charity shops and car boot sales, which feels much more sustainable and frugal than buying new, but it’s definitely a matter of preference.
Here are a few prop ideas to get you started:
For all themes and lifestyle blogs:
- Fresh and faux flowers
- Pretty things that reflect you and your blog
- House plants (ivy, cacti and succulents always look great in flat lays)
- Fairy lights
For Beauty Blogs:
- Makeup brushes
- Makeup and palettes
- Skincare products
- Perfume bottles
For Food Blogs
- Pretty plates
- Wire racks
- Napkins and tea towels
- Gorgeous kitchenware
For Fashion Blogs
- Accessories (handbags, sunglasses, jewellery)
- Fashion magazines and illustrations
Put yourself in the picture
Why not be your own prop? I’ve seen lots of lovely flat lays that include people’s hands and if you have a tripod or a willing friend to take the picture, why not get in frame!
Showing off those products
We often use flat lays to show off particular products, especially for gifted and sponsored items. They should be the central focus of your picture and other items can be arranged around them to compliment them.
An example of how I would photograph an everyday product using similar props to my other photos.
Make sure the products are shown clearly and don’t have any glare or shadows on them, as brands will pick up on this straight away. It always works well to show products as you would use them yourself, as your followers will find them more relatable.
Camera vs Phone
Using a proper camera has its advantages, as you’re likely to get a crisper better quality image. However, most phones have really good cameras and you have the advantage of instantly being able to see how the image will appear on a phone.
I use a mixture of both, but usually take my flat lays on my iphone using the square setting, so I can frame the picture as it would appear on Instagram.
Getting more from your flat lays
One of the best ways to get the most out of your hard work, is to take a few variations of the same photo. Try taking the picture from several angles and move the props around a bit. You can even switch up the featured products if you’d like while using the same props and background. This way you can fill a blog post with similar images, or repost a variation on your Instagram a few months or even years down the line.
Take your flat lay from different angles.
Get creative and make your pictures stand out
Editing your pictures and creating the final image can be just as important as taking the actual picture itself. Think about how to make your picture bright and appealing, play around with filters and keep tweeking until you are happy with your image. Make a note of your editing steps so you can use them again across the board. If you’re using Lightroom you can create your own presets to use for all your pictures.
I used Canva to add some extra details to this flat lay
Lots of Instagrammers are adding little effects afterwards, such a light leaks, flares and bokeh. You could also add illustrations or other details on top of your pictures, to make them stand out even more.
Useful flat lay hashtags
To finish, why not add a couple of flat lay specific hashtags?
Don’t use too many and mix them up with hashtags that are specific to the photo and your niche:
#flatlay #flatlayfordays #flatlayinsta #flatlayproducts #flatlaystyling #flatlaycomestolife #flatlaypics #flatlayig #flatlaybooks #flatlayqueen #flatlayofinsta #flatlaychallenge #flatlayallday #flatlaybackgrounds #flatlayphotographer #flatlaytips #flatlayfeels #flatlayaddict #slaytheflatlay
Remember to have fun and do your own thing
With all things blog and social media related, remember why you do it. Try to have fun creating your images, find a style that works for you and enjoy being creative. Keep experimenting and trying new things until you find your groove!
Flat lay checklist
- Work out your niche and colour scheme
- Make a mood board of images that inspire you
- Choose your backgrounds
- Find the perfect lighting
- Pick out some props that reflect your niche
- Play around with your layouts
- Take lots of pictures from different angles
- Find the right editing style for you
- Maximise your photos with the right hashtags
This post was written by Catherine from Vintage Frills Blog