A GUIDE TO IMPROVING YOUR FLAT-LAY PHOTOGRAPHY

23.7.20

*THIS POST INCLUDES GIFTED  EXPERIENCE 
W/ ABBERANT PERSPECTIVE COURSE *

Have you ever just not felt good at anything? Like you're always a little bit average? Well that's me in a nutshell! Hi, hello, Sarah here and I'm unsurprisingly average. 

Much to my surprise though; y'all think I'm good at photography and as much as I question this on the daily, I'll take this as a massive compliment and feel forever grateful - so thank you, seriously. 

See The Stars - a guide to improving your flatlay photography
See The Stars - a guide to improving your flatlay photography

That being said, even I understand that my flat-lay photography has become a fundamental part of my blog and my other platforms; there's a reason you call me the *flat-lay queen* (don't worry I'm looking after my crown v well) and the only reason I believe I've been given this title has been my refusal to give up. 

I've been blogging and taking flat-lay and product photography since 2013 and trust me, some of those photographs have been far from perfect - so remember if you're still new to this style of photography, as cliche as it sounds - practice makes perfect. 

The point of this post however, is a lot of you wanted to know how I do it, and as much I want to admit that most of the time I'm winging it, I didn't think that would make for a very good blog post. So I've *finally* put together the ultimate guide to flat-lay photography. 

So, here goes...

SET UP YOUR BACKGROUND. 
Sometimes it's the most simple of adjustments that will make a massive change to your photography. Having a clean and clear background is vital, over the years I've curated 3 different background sets using products like wallpaper samples, contact paper/cork board combo and a variety of different bed sheets. 

Once I've decided which will be best for the image I have in my head, I then think of the 'extra's' (these are typically used to add colour, textures and importantly, layering) Top Tip: don't go over board with your background design, adding too much will make the layout become overcrowded. If you want more examples, I upload sets regularly on my instagram and I've forever pinning ideas onto pinterest.

See The Stars - a guide to improving your flatlay photography
See The Stars - a guide to improving your flatlay photography

ADDING TEXTURES. 
Once your background is ready, you'll ned to continue to add definition, what I find works best is adding a variety of different textures to really create those different layers. 

Similar to my background set up, I have a *couple* different options (yep, I have a 'blogger box' filled with props, trinkets and so many colours). I often to decide my colour scheme based on the products I'll be including; starting with layers of books and magazines -  experiment with them being open or closed books. I often include wooden boards & trays, candles, mugs of tea, flowers and plants (fake ones are super cheap & much more durable) and then it's time for all the confectionary, most of which I've hoarded over the years, left-over christmas gift wrap, tissue paper, confetti, even bits from my scrapbooking days, I often add pieces of my jewellery just to fill out any of the gaps. 

To get the best results at the point, experiment with what you've got! Pile books altogether, don't lay the clothing or scarfs completely flat (add textures and definitions from lifting little bits up, pull them around products, work at creating shapes with them) and place everything at different angles because let's be honest getting everything perfectly straight is a real pain in the backside...

POSITIONING THE PRODUCTS.  
Obviously this part depends on what you'll be shooting, what you want as your focus point and the sotry you want to tell through the photography and the blog post. 

I often add the products last, I gauge the amount of room I'll need for each product but often when setting up the whole shot, making sure that I don't make the shot 'too wide' I'll often layer these products on top of the set up I've already got. I try to limit how many 'focus products' I use but again, depending on the content I'm creating - I'll just adjust accordingly; taking away props & layers to accommodate the products and just to balance out the shot. 

See The Stars - a guide to improving your flatlay photography

SET UP THE SHOT. 
Once you've got everything how you've envisioned, have fun! Honestly, the rest of this process can be so tedious and I'm always happy when I'm ready to shoot. Find your framing, test your shots, bring flowers in and out of frame TOP TIP: bring the flowers closer to your lens will add some depth of field and give a blur/out of focus effect. Be sure to play around with your angles too, get close up shots and don't limit yourself to the one style - you'll be amazed by the results if you keep testing the shot and your set up.

Personally I've always enjoyed photography and my opportunity to experiment with different styles, imagery and knowing I've know found *my style* with my blog photography has given me such a confidence boost in my abilities. 

Throughout May/June I was fortunate enough to take part in an online course with Aberrant Perspective, ran by professional photography Carla, who has done wonder for my confidence and gave me such a refresher on the things I already had *some* ideas about, the course gave me the opportunity to new insights, understand and refresh my skill set with techniques and discuss troubles, share ideas and learn more about the importance of photography within the blogging niche. 

I've love to find ways of going into more detail about this style of photography, so if there's anything you want to read about, posts you'd like for me to create or if you have any questions - please leave them below. 

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