Flatlay Tutorial

Tips to get you started

A flatlay is a collection of items shot on a flat surface and shot from above.
Flatlays are really appealing, especially for product shots but also to display a lifestyle way of life. They make amazing websites and blog photos.

  • Tip #1: What is your theme?

Here are some popular themes you can explore:

– Workspace/freelance lifestyle ( tablet or laptop, pens, paperclips, notebook, motivational quotes…)
– The lazy weekend concept (coffee/breakfast in bed, open magazine, open book, flowers…)
– The photographer concept (camera, lenses, etc..)
– Fashion styling (shoes, denim, beauty products, …)
– Kitchen concept (meal, food, ingredient, ustencils…)
– Color concepts (color block, bright-colored items…)

Once you have your theme, it becomes easy to select the items you’d like to include in your flatlay.

  • Tip #2: Find your light


Natural light is really easy to get but, you can also use artificial light if that is what you are comfortable with.

Natural light from a window or glass door is really easy to find but if this is not available to you, you can consider shooting outdoor under a covered space (balcony, front door, etc…)
Depending of what you like you can use a reflector (you don’t need to have any expensive reflectors (a white board, a big white pillow, etc…can help you).  Some people prefer having a bit of shadows so, they won’t use a reflector. Some will always use a reflector. You can experiment and see what works for you.

  • Tip #3: Put together all the items you want to shoot

Select a few props and place all the items together. This will help you see if your items are complimentary, if the colors are complimentary.  By looking at all the items together it will become clear what background to use to enhance all the items you will be shooting.

Here are a few easy to find props that can enhance your flatlay:

Hands: hands that are interacting with the objects in a photo make it very relatable. Viewers can easily imagine themselves in the situation you are creating.

Plants, fruits, petals and organic elements: A nice way to add ‘life’ to your flatlay.  

Books: Books placed very nicely will also increase your narrative include a well-placed book that is fitting to the story I’m narrating as well as in keeping with the color scheme I have in play.

  • Tip #4: Choose your background

Depending of what your goal is, you can shoot pretty much on anything as long as your background enhance your items and props. You can shoot on a kitchen table, on white paper, white foam, white bed sheet, some wooden floor or wooden board, tissue paper, wrap paper, anything around you that could look nice.

Be careful when using fabric as you want to make sure your piece of fabric is wrinkle free.
Make sure your background is clean by removing dust and pushing away all unnecessary items that could create clutter.  

  • Tip #5: Find your balance

It is very important to create a very well-balanced flatlay. You can achieve this by adding objects of different size and by having a clear color scheme (stick to 2-3 colors).
Be mindful of your shapes, For instance, avoid too many circles (coasters, coffee mugs, compact mirror) clustered together.

Same goes with your colors, you need to balance out the colors and keep playing around with the objects until it looks great.

  • Tip #6: How to shoot?

Use anything that can help you to shoot from above. You can use a chair to stand on, a stool or anything available.
You can also consider creating your flatlay on the floor.

For a more natural look with not everything in focus an aperture of f/4.0-5.0 is ok and we recommend using a 35mm or 50mm lens.

Now it’s your turn to put these tips into action and create with us some great Flatlays!
Don’t forget to tag us @PICHAstock on IG when sharing your Flatlays. 

Have a look at PICHA’s selection of flatlays

Flatlay Tutorial


Categories: TIPS & TUTORIALSTags: , , , ,

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