Experimenting with My First Flat Lay
In this short blog, I wanted to just dive into my first Flat Lay images, without any restraint. I’m not really relying on anything, besides just using my eye and putting together some ideas. I didn’t want to look at any tutorials or how-to blogs or videos yet, because I just wanted to see what i could come up with first. Using both my smartphone and dslr camera, I’m relying on nothing but my basic photography skills and simple composition.
And this is more of a personal feat for me – to dive in and try something new instead of waiting later after i’ve done my research. I’m doing this really from the same mindset of a photographer who’s always carrying their camera around, ready to take a shot – any shot – including bad ones. The more I take, the better I’ll get, with practice.
What do I begin with?
For beginners, the one thing that I’m certain of is that you need a flat surface. This shouldn’t be too hard. Since this isn’t still life photography, I don’t need to worry about setting up my objects or products on any sort of table or stand. All I need is a solid, horizontal surface. And since I’m spending most of my time indoors during these times, I have a few limitations on what I can use.
Finding a Background
There are some options you can find in your home to begin with. I’ve seen many different types of backgrounds on flat images, and the one thing that I’ve noticed is that they’re all different – whether that’s the colors or the texture. Some of them are smooth, as if taken from a table or smooth surface. Others are granier, and look like hardwood floors, ground, or another rough surface. And there are some that are light and delicate, as if taken from someone’s unmade bed after getting up in the morning.
This gives me a good deal to choose from. Although I’m a minimalist when it comes to the amount of furniture in my home, I can at least start with something basic for my first ever flat lay image. So between the marble countertop in my kitchen, art table, kitchen table and other options, I decide to go with the plain white sheet off the bedroom mattress.
Just a reminder to myself and everyone else, that I’m playing this by ear. Just exactly how do you take a flat lay image if you’re looking down from above. Now if I think about it, I need the light source from above, like natural lighting. From what I remember glancing at on the internet, most of the flat lay images that I notice appear evenly lit and very uniform – without any shadows. So either they’re outside or their light source is straight from above, because again, there shouldn’t be any shadows in these images.
Now I just want to remind everyone, that I’m basically taking images on the fly, without any prior knowledge of flat lays, or how to proceed. Do I start with a subject, or a “hero product”? (Again, this is a term that I’ve heard, that I’ll get into more details on a later blog). Do I find some items with a similar color palette? A particular theme? Do I only pick objects that match my background?
So right now, I’m basically taking a shot in the dark to see how to start off with flat lay photography. I know there are issues already with my lighting, shadows and layout, even after some post editing in Photoshop. But I still feel that it’s a decent first attempt below.
I’ll post these to instagram and see what type of feedback that I get. Like I said in the beginning, it’s a shot in the dark, just to see what I could come up with. My next steps are to get more specific and figure out some of the proper approaches to take with flat lay images, and improve my flat lay images. It’s like stated in an earlier post – the only way to grow and get better is with plenty of practice.
See everyone at my next post!