7 Fantastic Tips for Fabulous Flat Lay Photography - Enlight Leak
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7 Fantastic Tips for Fabulous Flat Lay Photography

March 24, 2016

Flat Lay photography is an insanely easy way to showcase awesome items you own, tell a story, and wow your Instagram followers. Flat Lay is simple to do, can be shot almost anywhere, and can be as simple as emptying a knapsack or arranging the items on your desk. And, of course, all you need is your iPhone. Here are a few tips and tricks mobiographers can employ when shooting and editing their next #FlatLay shot.

 

1. Choose a Color Palette

It helps to choose 2-3 unifying colors. This helps provide your image with a consistent theme.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

Speaking of colors, choose a neutral background, like a basic white, or, depending on your subject, a wood floor, desk, or table. If your content calls for it, pavement or earth can work well, too.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

 

2. It’s About the Narrative

Flat Lay is compelling because it brings a lot of disparate elements together. But it’s also about the narrative of your image, as conveyed by the things you select, and how you place them. It can be something as simple as “Sunday Brunch” or as expansive as “my trip to Europe,” but your photo should tell a story, and not only showcase off a collection of items.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

A flat lay photo story can be obvious and overstated, or subtle and playful. Try both.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

 

3. Experiment with Empty Space

When shooting flat lays, photographers often incorporate one larger item that anchors your image. The goal is for this primary element to unite the other, more disparate parts of your image. Try the opposite – using a blank space to unite your image and make it more interesting.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

You may find that less is more.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

 

4. Use Natural Lighting

The best light is a soft, overhead light that’s bright enough to illuminate your image, but doesn’t blow out lighter colors. Avoid the urge to use a high-powered lamp to brighten the image; as long as you have enough light, you can raise the saturation afterward, when editing. A good tactic is simply to go outside, preferably in the morning, before the sun comes out in full force. The ideal weather conditions are a cloudy, overcast day, since you’ll get more neutral, balanced light.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

 

5. Add Some Old School

Some of the best Flat Lays are the ones that mix an old item in with a newer one. If you’re shooting a modern “day at the office” Flat Lay with a laptop, headphones, and an iPad, feel free to incorporate a more analog item like a notebook, mechanical pencil, or even a typewriter. The contrast of new and old will make your photo stand out and stir up feelings of nostalgia.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

 

6. Edit Your Flat Lay in Post

After you’ve arranged and snapped pictures of your Flat Lay array, you’ll want to spiff them up in post-production. You can really add to your image by applying filters that increase your photo’s detail, highlight the colors you’ve chosen, and make the background of your image looks more compelling. You can, focus on simple image correction and increase your photo’s brightness to make the colors pop a bit more, or adjust your image’s structure and contrast.

 
You don’t have to stop there – take a step beyond basic image correction. A flat lay composition is the perfect place for getting abstract and changing colors or shapes. Follow your imagination where ever takes you.

 
To change colors in Enlight, go to Image > Adjust > Tools tab > Basic > Color > and play with Hue and Temperature. To warp shapes, go to Tools > Reshape.

 

7. Get Textual

Adding text to your image is a great way to articulate the message you’re trying to convey, or provide a “mantra” for your image. Enlight’s Text > Type tool is an easy way to add a word or phrase to your image. A particularly cool effect to utilize is, within Text, to use the Blending > Overlay tool to have your text match the texture of the background or items beneath it. Be sure that your image isn’t too text-heavy – the best content shouldn’t be more than four or five words.

Flat Lay Photography | Enlight | Enlight Leak

Image by @rawolutionary_me.


 
With these seven tips, you’re well-equipped to conquer the world of #FlatLay! Remember to keep your image colorful, interesting, and story-oriented. Now grab your iPhone, open Enlight, find a great wooden background, and get snapping!

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments below.
 
 

Written by: David Leshaw.

David LeShaw
David LeShaw

David is a freelance writer, and is often found at www.siliconspatula.com, where he writes about tech, business, and food, and the delicious times they coincide. In his spare time, he enjoys running marathons and traveling.

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