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How to Take Flat Lay Photographs

19th November 2015

How to Take Flat Lay Photographs | (Photo of tea, biscuits and leaves)

Flat lay photographs

I love creating flat lay photographs – composed stills taken from above. I create them for my online marketing as well as for a few lifestyle brands. It’s fun to arrange the objects and to try and create a still life that tells a story. So, today I’m sharing some of my tips for taking flat lay photographs.

1. Background

Your background can be anything, try a floor, table, some fabric, a sheet of paper or wallpaper. You probably don’t want anything with too much pattern, and it needs to be large enough to accommodate your objects. That said you should never be afraid to try things out!

2. Light

Find a well-lit spot to position your background. Ideally, you want to distance yourself enough so there aren’t any patches of sunlight or shadows – unless that’s the effect you’re after! I always use natural light and when I can, I avoid taking photographs on darker days.

3. Styling

Now the fun part! I usually have an object or theme in mind to start with and then I collect things from all over my home. There are no rules so feel free to experiment, I find the best photographs come from happy accidents. When you have a collection of things start placing them on the background. You can keep your styling minimal and inside the viewfinder or completely fill the space. Experiment with colours and textures and keep moving things until you’re happy with the composition. I use blu-tack on anything that needs holding in place.

4. Capture

As you’re styling, take test shots to see how things are shaping up and when everything is looking gorgeous you can take your final shots. Be mindful of the angle, you want to ensure you are directly over the scene and in the middle. I take between five and ten so I can pick the sharpest. I also prop up some white card behind the flat lay to reflect the light from the window – this also softens any shadows.

5. Practice and enjoy!

I love learning and evolving my style and I find the flat lay process extremely therapeutic. Sometimes things don’t work, or it takes me time to warm up and that’s fine. Never be hard on yourself, creativity should always be a joy!

Further reading

Six uplifting ways to find your creative flow
How to slow down with watercolours
Six simple ways to nurture your creativity

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have a beautiful day!

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  • Avatar
    Reply Eva 19th November 2015 at 3:20 pm

    you always make a beautiful pictures!
    In winter, I used make photos in my terrace because love the natural light !

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 19th November 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks so much Eva!

  • Avatar
    Reply Fiona 19th November 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Your photos are so beautiful, thank you for sharing these tips. You have inspired me to give it a go, well, when there’s some remnants of daylight in the north anyway x

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 19th November 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Thanks so much Victoria. I hope you have fun!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lori 19th November 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Ooh I do love a good flat lay images and I’m just in the process of buying a few backdrops for my images. Loving all the ferns x

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 19th November 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks Lori for stopping by, have a great evening.

  • Avatar
    Reply Sue 19th November 2015 at 9:11 pm

    *sigh* these are lovely images. I’ve decided it’s about time I got a proper camera- what do you use? X

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 21st November 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks Susie. I use my man’s iPhone (6 plus) and a Canon 5D mark II.

  • Avatar
    Reply Jess @ Along Came Cherry 20th November 2015 at 6:22 am

    Great tips! I am terrible at styling photos but I really need to get better at it as I have to take so many photos for my craft blog. I am definitely going to do some more practice ๐Ÿ™‚ These photos are gorgeous x

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 21st November 2015 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks so much Jess for your kind comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar
    Reply Penny 20th November 2015 at 12:19 pm

    What a great post, so useful! many thanks x

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 21st November 2015 at 12:28 pm

      Thank you Penny for popping over!

  • Avatar
    Reply tinajo 22nd November 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for reminding me – Iยดve forgotten how fun this can be! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 23rd November 2015 at 10:53 am

      Haha, thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kathryn 23rd November 2015 at 10:51 am

    Love your images – styling flatlays is fun and so therapeutic like you say, as long as I have lots of time and light to play with! xx

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 23rd November 2015 at 10:54 am

      Thanks Kat. Yes time and light are definitely helpful when taking photos! Have a great day.

  • Avatar
    Reply Katy 23rd November 2015 at 12:50 pm

    I love this and great tips! My biggest issue is figuring out how to use the light to my benefit – definitely an area for improvement xx

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 23rd November 2015 at 6:09 pm

      Thank you Katy for your kind comment. Light can be tricky, my issue is often the white balance.

  • Avatar
    Reply tracey witts 23rd November 2015 at 4:32 pm

    brilliant advice something we need to think about more!

    • Natasha
      Reply Natasha 23rd November 2015 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you Tracey!

  • Avatar
    Reply Katie Albury 24th November 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Love your photos…flat lay images are my fave! Thanks so much for sharing these tips- I’ll defo try the white card idea x

  • Avatar
    Reply Julia @ Rainbeaubelle 16th June 2017 at 6:23 am

    Brilliant advice thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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