In this blog post, I want to focus and give the final guide to master flat-lay shoots with film photography. It works with digital photography as well. But analogue photography has a unique look and it is more difficult. If you master film photography, then digital would be super easy.
The Final Guide to Master Flat-lay Shoots with Film Photography
Since I started blogging I always loved creating the images for my blog posts myself. I took every chance I have to create original photographs, like here with my favourite Illamasqua and Dior Backstage products. I cannot even think about stock images but I would love to create some.
But that’s not the point.
Starting from 0 Experience on Photography
When I started blogging I used to see all these beautiful images of skincare products and beauty products and I was so inspired that I wished to get the hands-on those products. More than this, I wanted to create images of such beauty.
You should know that I had no idea where to start. Little did I know about lights, aperture or depth of field. I knew nothing about this science and the manual mode was just a matter of luck for me.
So I started from nothing.
All I could do was saving the images I liked and trying to replicate them. Try to understand how to make them only by analysing. I was doing a sort of visual retrograde-analysis.
As for flat-lays – what is even this term? Everything that is literally put flat on a background and the images are taken from up above.
Flat-lay is becoming more and more necessary for every blogger. But how to replicate this still life photography easily?
Well, I cracked the code.
The Ultimate Guide to Master Flat-Lay Shoots
Now everything I am writing now it works either for film photography that with digital photography. These images were taken with a digital camera (you can actually see my Pentax showing there) but the theory is exactly the same.
Then I am not a film photographer purist so I like to recreate the analogue look in post-production thought filters, grain and working on the dark shades. Just as I did here.
How To Master Flay-Lay Photography
Play with Position
The first thing I noticed when studying all these beauty and skincare photos taken by my favourite bloggers (Zoella when she still updating her blog, Katie La Vie, WishWishWish and WhatOliviaDid were my major inspirations) was how all the products were positioned.
I was sure there was a pattern there and actually there is. It is quite freely but I would suggest you place your beauty, skincare, lifestyle products in this way:
- leave some space around them, like a bubble surrounding
- alternate the orientation
- imaging placing the Xmas bowls on the Xmas tree, it is the same
- alternate big products to tiny ones
- it would be nice to keep the bigger ones next to where you are photographing (bottom part) so their shadow won’t cover the other products
This was kind of the difficult part for me, but I learned that it is okay that everything is different. Mascara can be put in one place and the next time to another spot. Simply just play with them, like a Xmas tree.
Don’t play with Colors
Like when you are thinking of the same colour scheme for your Instagram feed, I would do the same here. Try to find products and props of a similar colour scheme.
It is easier for you when you are photographing as well when you are post-editing.
Of course, this is not mandatory. If your flat-lay is dedicated to rainbow-unicorn style then you can skip this point of mine. If not, try to think about it next time you use an orange lipstick next to a purple eyeshadow.
what’s in these images: Dior Backstage Foundation / Illamasqua Lipstick in Minx / Illamasqua Eyeshadow in Heroine / Pentax ME / old Nylon Magazine
Learn the Importance of Natural Lighting
This is a basic one and I also talked deeply on how to make your images look brighter in winter but it works in every season.
If you are curious you can go and give this post a read.
Try to have a look around your house to find a good window. The light that comes from that window is perfect for flat-lays. It is subtle, delicate and smooth on objects.
Exactly our kind of light.
If you instead feel a little daring and want to go outside and do something more out-of-a-magazine-like (I am thinking of this Dior Backstage made by the one and only Inthefrow) well try to find a spot in the shades.
Also try to find a location that matches the colours of your products, just as we said before. When you are ready, then go for it.
Think of the Whole Blog Post
Flay-lays by themselves become boring. I cannot even imagine a blog post with 10 flat-lays images.
I’m good with a 3 flat-lays images – alternating horizontal with vertical please – but if I need an insight on more products, meaning 8-10 images for blog posts, I would suggest avoiding having all flat-lays.
Like I did here, think about alternate overall images (flat-lays) to close-up (images of products details or portraits of products). In this way, the reader and the whole photos gallery to flow better.
A little recap of the flat-lay tips
To sum it up, the best tips you need to follow to master Flat-Lay photography are:
- Play around with products position
- Instead don’t play with colors, maintain a color scheme
- Use Natural Light
- Think of the Big Picture: alternate flat-lays with close-up images
So these are a few tips I thought about the topic but I am writing a more complete free guide on blogging photography. Stay tuned and let me know if you ever thought of these tips when shooting flat-lays?