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Seven ways to create the perfect flatlay

February 21, 2018

 

 A picture says a thousand words, and in today’s competitive marketplace, building a picture that conveys who you are and what you stand for is crucial. This is especially important across platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest, which are becoming the go-to places for visual inspiration.

 

One of the most popular media formats is the flatlay, often used by bloggers, social media influencers and brands to help tell their story. Arranging a selection of items in a seemingly effortless way will make your brand stand out, so how can you make your flatlay count?

 

1.   Set the scene

It may seem obvious, but before you start, have a think about which items best represent your business, product or campaign, and try to include something quirky if you can. For example, an abacus for a bookkeeping company, or perhaps an old typewriter for a copywriting business.

 

2.   And…Action!

Although static, there are various ways you can make your flatlay come to life. For example, if you run a restaurant you could shoot a pizza with a slice missing, demonstrating happy customers tucking in.

 

3.   Light up the room

Achieving sufficient levels of lighting is a fine art. If you’re taking the shots yourself, without professional equipment such as a flash light or ring light, then soft, natural light will provide the best results and prevent unwelcome shadows. If you have a spare whiteboard, or even a white bedsheet, this will help to reflect light evenly onto your props. For internal shots, aim for a bright day without too much sunshine, in a room with plenty of windows. For external shoots, choose a place in the shade to avoid heavy contrast and hard shadows.  

 

4.   Background check

Ensuring your background doesn’t detract from the focus of the flatlay is crucial. Once you’ve decided on the props you want to capture, choose a backdrop that will complement the overall theme, i.e. colour scheme and arrangement of content. Avoid a fussy pattern; instead go for a plain background, or a fine, even-patterned surface such as woodgrain or marble. 

 

5.   Add some colour to your creation

Again, the key here is to follow a theme – don’t just throw random props and/or backgrounds together and hope for the best. Choose accessories and backdrops that will either match, or complement the focus items, allowing them to take centre stage and catch the viewer’s eye.

 

6.   Strike a balance

With today’s distracted consumer deciding which content to view within a matter of milliseconds, you don’t have long to attract the attention of your audience. While it might be tempting to cram in as many items as possible, this can make your flatlay too fussy and confusing, and is likely to put people off. Play around with your props, take a few shots, then take a short break and come back to review them on-screen before taking more shots if necessary. If your image is too bare, add a couple of items; if it’s too fussy, take some away. 

 

7.   Be inspired!

Take some time to do your research and see what’s already out there. And remember, no matter how confident you are, sometimes a professional touch is the key. Whether you need advice on choosing a theme, or help taking the shots, talking to an experienced photographer could just make the difference between a customer being drawn into your story, or clicking away from your page and towards the competition. For free advice, do get in touch – we’re always happy to help! 

 

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