Flat lay photos are the creative and inspiring images you see on Instagram that give a ‘birds-eye’ view. From coffee cups and candles to phones and flowers, it’s a modern, lifestyle-driven approach to photographing objects. If you want to improve the look of your Instagram account, follow our top tips on how to create gorgeous flat lay photos on your phone.
You don’t have to have a fancy SLR camera to take outstanding flat lay images. Your phone can take high-quality images. Your smartphone has the advantage of being lightweight and easy to hold. You could also buy yourself a monopod tripod for really steady shots. And if you take your photos on your phone, you’ll be ready to upload them quickly and easily with minimum fuss.
Once you’ve got your phone or camera-ready, it’s time to think about where you’re going to take your flat lay photo. If you don’t have a professional photography studio, getting the lighting right is essential. Use natural light sources where possible. Get outside or set up beside windows or open doors. On a cloudy day, using a reflector can help lighten things up. Artificial lighting can cast shadows and unbalance the natural colour of your items.
Flat lay photos are all about creating an inspiring, aspirational image. Props make the photo more interesting and bring the product you are showcasing to life. Bright backgrounds help if natural daylight levels are low. You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune on props. Look around your home for interesting items you could use, such as plant pots, silk scarves, white linens, and vintage ceramics. Take care not to overdo it with your accessories or your photo can look chaotic.
Spend time deciding what is the main focus of your flat lay photo. It could be a book or a phone cover. It might be a plate of food or a ball of wool. Whatever is the focus item, use the grid on your phone and make sure your main subject is in the centre of the frame.
Flat lay photos can be edited and improved with software such as Photoshop or Lightroom. If you don’t have these, you could download a free app on your phone. Take a look at our blog on Free photo editing applications. Don’t forget you can also edit and enhance your photo in Instagram itself. From changing the filter to tweaking the saturation or sharpness, you can make your photo look exactly how you want, but be careful not to overdo the tweaking or you’ll end up with a fake-looking picture.
If you’re keen to take your flat lay photos to a new level, follow #flatlay and save any photos that you like. The more you see, the more ideas you’ll have for your own photos. And you’ll be well on your way to creating your own must-view Instagram account!