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.
3 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.
1. What is the story you are going to tell?
In my opinion, a concept is a 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, especially in flatlays. So make sure to shoot during early morning or early evening when the sun is still low in the sky.
3. 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.