Flat Lay Photography - an Overview 2024

in Photography Tips

Flat Lay Photography - an Overview

Creating an online marketing strategy for your business involves thinking about what kind of photos should be included on your product listing and your brand's social media pages.

In this article we explore Flat Lay photos:

1. What are Flat Lay Photos?

2. Why are Flat Lay photos important?

3. Does your brand need Flat Lay photos?

4. How to Take a Good Flat Lay photo?

1. What is Flat Lay Photography?

Flat Lay photography refers to photos taken from a straight down top view perspective. These photos have always been popular, in the past in magazine spreads and with the arrival of social media flat lay photos have been making their way into pages. The top view perspective allows for a lot of creativity, because unlike a more traditional angle of photography, you can put a lot of different elements in the photo, tell a story, and the photo still doesn't look messy, which is always a goal, no one likes looking at messy photos.

2. Why Are Flat Lay Photos Important?
Flat Lay photos are important, because they are fun AND informative. Look at the pink photo example above. Probably it didn't take you long to see that this has something to do with Valentine's Day. Champagne bottles, chocolates, candle, roses and a hint of fine dining with a very nice plate and silverware. If we were to take this photo with bottles standing, the photo wouldn't look nearly as dynamic while at the same time showcasing so many different products. The top view photos really allow you to be creative and play with the photo composition and add elements to create a story. Creating stories is important for your brand.

3. Does Your Brand Need Flat Lay Photos?
Your brand does not NEED to do flat lay photography, and certainly you shouldn't rely on flat lay photos alone to market your products because they are not a solution to everything, however, you should include them in your photography mix. We always recommend clients to have a variety of different photos for your products. Product on white background photos, lifestyle photos, photos with live model, and flat lay photos. Some products are more suitable for top view photography than others. For example clothes, shoes, and accessories can create great flay lay photos. Even a nice sweater on its own, can make an inspiring photos when styled correctly. Kitchen utensils, pet products, some toys can also be great candidates for flat lay photos. Even small kitchen appliances, like toasters can create a whole imaginary world in flat lay photography. While rings and bracelets, are probably more difficult to make interesting in a top view photo.

4. How to Take a Good Flat Lay Photo?
This is the fun part! While for photos on white you need the product, full lighting kit, and camera, for a flat lay photo the most important thing you need is a concept. For example, in these 2 photos below, we had a simple concept, to create fun photos with pasta. We created a face and something resembling a knitting project using different types of pasta and a couple of very simple props on a simple wooden background. This is a very simple production, there is nothing special about the props, the lighting, and there are no special effects. We just used a simple concept, and the result is something fun and memorable. While these photos are no substitutes for photos of well prepare and beautifully lit pasta dishes, they offer a nice variety to a social media feed.

On the technical side, flat lay photos always look better when done with professional lighting and camera. A photo taken under good lighting and with a camera will always look significantly more appealing than the exact same set-up without lighting and with basic camera. For small products a flat lay photo can be taken simply by the photographer leaning over a taking a photo from the top while paying attention to keeping the lens parallel to the background surface. For larger set-ups, the photographer may need a chair or even a ladder. When using a chair or ladder to take a flat lay photo there should always be at least one assistant supporting the legs of the photographer or ladder, to prevent a fall and injury.

Flat lay photography is part of our social media photos and lifestyle photography services.

Learn more about these services here:

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