Perfectly arranged fashion, dreamy florals and perfectly laid out food arrangements .. ring a bell? If you are on Instagram, you would have most definitely come across Flatlay photography. Flatlays have changed the landscape of photography in recent times and today, I am going to be taking you over creating the perfect flatlay for your Instagram using your iPhone camera!
So what is a flatlay?
Flatlay is basically a picture taken from the bird’s eye or top view of items that form a theme. The bird’s eye viewpoint of a flatlay gives an impression of the items laying flat on the ground to the viewer. Basically remove the depth from a picture and you are left with a flatlay. Flatlays have become the new ‘in’ thing on Instagram and are a classic way to showcase your favorite objects and current addictions in a way that is aesthetically pleasing!
Types of flatlays:
Flatlays can be categorized into two types – one centered around a mood and another centered around an object.
Centered around a mood: Here the focus is on the mood of the photo, the story you are saying through the photo. For example, the photo below is centered around the mood of enjoying a delicious treat rather than one specific subject.
Centered around an object: Here the focus is on a central object that you want to highlight! For example, in the photo below the main subject is the book and the entire photo is styled around it.
5 Tips to Master Instagram Flatlays:
Personally for me, flatlays are my favorite kind of photos for Instagram. Getting that perfect flatlay photo isn’t hard, but it can be tricky. Over the past 2 years, I have experimented with shooting a variety of flatlays and here are some tips I ‘ve picked up along the way. Also, I have a free 7-day email-course called Mastering Instagram photos which teaches you how to capture stunning Instagram photos using your iPhone. So make sure to enroll in the course for free by clicking below:
1. What is the story you are going to tell?
In my opinion, a concept is the secret behind a good flatlay. Sure you can throw in random items that look good together to form a flatlay, but if there is no concept or meaning behind the creation – its not going to be as impactful as it should be. Your concept can be anything from a simple “what’s on my desk” to “my trip to france“, but there needs to be a solid concept. So before you take a flat lay, just ask yourself a question about what you want to convey through this flatlay? What story are you trying to tell the person who is looking at the flatlay? Once you have that in mind, it is a lot easier to create the flatlay. Here’s a flatlay showing all the stuff I used for my makeup on a particular day.
2. Choose soft lighting:
The lighting is one of the crucial components of getting a flatlay right. Since a flatlay photo is 2-dimensional, its best to avoid shadows in your photos. And for this reason, you want to use soft, diffused natural light for shooting flatlays. When the sun is overhead around noon, it causes sharp shadows in your photos which can be unflattering, specially in flatlays. So make sure to shoot during early morning or early evening when the sun is still low in the sky.
3. Choose a plain background:
When it comes to backgrounds for flatlays, less is more. Choose a plain white background for your flatlays so it brings out the contrast in the objects that are creating the flatlay. You can get a white foam board from your craft store or use a white wooden board as your background. You can use colored backgrounds as well, but make sure that it co-ordinates well with colors of the flatlay items. Using a dark object on dark background combination may result in an unflattering flatlay that doesnt look clear. You can use backgrounds with texture, but make sure to avoid patterns and prints on the background as it can be very distracting.
4. Master the bird’s eye view:
Shooting flatlays is all about mastering the bird eye’s view. Bird’s eye view is nothing but the top view i.e when you are taking photos from the top looking down at your scene like a bird looking down from the sky. Mastering the bird’s eye view is pretty easy when it comes to using your iPhone. The secret here would be to keep the iPhone straight and parallel (flat) to the scene. Even the slightest tilt can show up in a flatlay photography, so the secret lies in maintaining that straight, flat-level with the scene.
5. Turn on the grid:
The iPhone camera has a wonderful grid feature that helps you align your camera with the scene. So it helps you avoid tilted or crooked photos. To do this on the iPhone, go to Phone Settings >> Photos and Camera >> Grid >> Turn on. When you do this, a grid appears on your native camera app and helps you compose your shots effectively.
Join my free 7-day email course: Mastering Instagram Photos
I hope this was helpful for you in getting started with flatlays. Again, if you want to learn everything step-by-step on how to master Instagram photos, here’s my free 7-day email course.
In this course, you ‘ll learn all about:
- How to unlock hidden features of your iPhone camera so you can take stunning, high-quality iPhone photos
- 3 mistakes that are making your iPhone photos grainy and blurry
- How to style photos that draw attention
- What props and backgrounds should you use
- How to edit your iPhone photos using just 2 powerful apps
So click below to enroll in the course for free!
A little inspiration never hurt anyone. Creating flatlays requires a lot of creativity and incase you find yourself looking for some creative kicks, here are some accounts that do great flatlays: