Monday, June 3, 2019

Flat Lay Photos {Part 1 - Behind the Scenes}

Flatlay photos arrived on the Project Run & Play scene a relatively short time ago.  Their purpose is to level the playing field by helping the public focus solely on the clothing when they are voting.  But flatlay photos are hard!  Perhaps they can even be described as an art!  

The extremely artistic flatlay photos of the Season 20 designers are undisputed in quality.  So I asked them to put together a series of posts to help the rest of us in our flatlay photo game!  Here's the schedule and the main contributors:

Day 1 (today) Flay Lay Photos {Part 1 - Behind the Scenes} 
by Monica of MaMeMiMo and Iris of Iris May Patterns

by Anne of Sofilantjes and Christina of Käferlgschaft

by Susana of Suco by Susana

So let's get started with the behind the scenes!

Do you find that flatlay photos are intimidating?  Just try those tips to get a perfect flatlay.  You can use both your camera or your phone.   

GET INSPIRED If you don’t know where to start, browse to Pinterest or Instagram with the hashtag #flatlay to get inspired. 


try the hashtag #flatlay to find inspiration

 BACKGROUND When choosing a background, keep things simple.  Any white cardboard, wood floor, marble tiles, a beautiful rug, painter’s canvas, a nice fabric or a clean bed sheet can work.  The idea is to complement and enhance your outfit, not distracting the viewer.  Take a look at your home surfaces or buy some cardboards in different colors.  If you want to shoot something that is too big to fit on your table, place a bed sheet on the floor, and iron it right there to get it to lay flat with no creases.  Also, you don't need a beautifully tidy room or lots of space for photos.  You can clear things out of the way and crop the photo later to remove the "clutter" around it. 


You don't need any fancy photo studio.

  LIGHT Try natural lighting.  It has the perfect tone (nor yellowish nor bluish) for minimum editing.  Set up next to a large window or a glass door and filter the rays of sunlight through a light white curtain or a photo screen to avoid shades.  In the morning or late afternoon you’ll have the best light.  Don’t use flash if your are not used to it, it can create shadows.    You can also use a white panel or reflector to avoid shadows.  Place it opposite the window so that it reflects the light that comes in.  Play with the position of the reflector and if possible ask for an extra hand. (To learn more about the best way to use a speedlite flash you'll have more info on Wednesday post.)

Artificial light.  The white background looks dark yellow and the colors of the t-shirt are not real.

Natural light.  This photo was taken next to a large window with drawn curtains.

  PLACING OBJECTS/ STYLING To avoid chaotic flatlays leave some space between each product.  You may add some items to help you explain the story you are trying to share.  Take your time to think about what do you want to express/show.  Mixing large objects with small ones and placing objects of similar colors helps creating an harmonic pic.  You can try to use a color theme, too. And don’t forget plants, potted plants, cut flowers, branches are always welcome.  For example, if you are showing some swimwear try placing some sea shells, sunglasses or any object that are related to the beach, the swimming pool, vacations.  Use some pine cones and branches if you are shooting an autumn outfit.   Don't forget that all garments should be clean and ironed, flatlays need to look natural but not careless.  In short: at first keep things simple, over time you'll find your own style. Come back tomorrow for more styling tips.


Everyday objects can make beautiful pictures. 

  SHOOTING Shoot from a Birds Eye View. Your camera or phone needs to be placed above the layout with no angle at all from the surface you are shooting and located on the center.  Use a stool or a ladder if you need it.  Get sure everything feels into the shot.  Think about where you are going to use the photos to choose between landscape or portrait layout.  If it's for a blog or Facebook, landscape is usually more appealing, if it's for Instagram stories or Pinterest, go for portrait.  Just remember that when we shoot on a DSLR camera we tend to shoot landscape and when we shoot on our phones we tend to shoot portrait (go on, take a look in your phone's photo gallery and see how many landscape pics you have ;-) ).  So think about where the photos will go while you're shooting, and rotate the camera or phone to what you need.  If you are shooting your phone for IG set it up to the square mode. 

This is not a flatlay. This photo was taken from above but with the phone forming an angle with the background.  It has perspective.

Your camera or phone needs to be placed above the layout with no angle at all from the surface you are shooting and located on the center.

  EDITING If you try to implement all the tips in here you'll need only a small post editing. You don't need to be a professional or to have any fancy editing software to edit your photos.  Don't miss our editing tips post on Wednesday.

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  1. These posts are very timely for me as I have been googling flat lay photography to try to improve mine! Thanks!

  2. Sounds interesting. I will be sure to follow along.

  3. Muy buenas ideas ,gracias por compartir,saludos !


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