You could throw a rock and hit a flatlay on any social media platform nowadays. They look easy enough. A lipstick here (always unused), a pair of flats there, a designer keychain artfully splayed across a shaggy rug, a sprig of rosemary thrown in for good measure. But are flatlays as easy as they look? Do you simply lay pretty accessories flat on the ground and shoot wildly with your iPhone?
NO. Trust me, we’ve tried. This flatlay business is not as easy as it looks. We’re here to teach you all we’ve learned from a layman’s point of view: how to master the fine art that is flatlays.
1. Choose your objects wisely
There aren’t really any rules when it comes to the contents of your flatlay, but it certainly helps if they’re related in some way. Because this is the point of the whole exercise. Obviously. For example, if you’re showcasing your #outfitoftheday, chucking in a pair of gardening gloves just because they’re the same colour as your shoes might be a bit incongruous. Accessorising with actual accessories, such as your watch, jewellery, a cute headband or your favourite bottle of fragrance is always a good idea, and looks incredible if they complement each other.
If you’re including clothes in your flatlay, tread carefully. Unless you’ve ironed them, flattened them and folded them perfectly, they look messy. Remember: everything in flatlay world is symmetrical and in the same condition as it was the day you bought it- i.e. unmarked and unused. The mantra here is fake it ‘til you make it.
Another hurdle you must overcome is the way in which you plan on photographing these objects. If you’re photographing shiny surfaces, like mirrored sunglasses for example, make sure you’re not reflected in the lense; it does happen, and it looks ridiculous. Either stand on a stool and photograph your flatlay from another angle, or get rid of them all together.
Lighting may well be the most important component of your flatlay, and from our experience, natural is best. Get as close as possible to a natural light source and go for gold. Ideally, sunlight won’t interfere with the object’s natural reflection, but will assist them in glowing from the inside. A reminder that we’re writing about jewellery and perfume, not green smoothies.
We firmly believe that anything is possible with the right lighting (read: selfies) and that shadows are not your friend. Afterlight can only get you so far.
Product placement is potentially the most difficult aspect of your flatlay to master and really is the line between ‘good job for trying’ and ‘I envy your picture-perfect life’. Think about that girl you know that always has incredibly arranged cheese platters. SHE WAS NOT BORN THAT WAY. SHE PRACTICED.
There are (thankfully) only two ways you can go about laying out your objects. They can either be in square formation, where they’re placed horizontally, vertically, or both:
Or, they can be placed at different angles haphazardly and seemingly effortlessly:
Unfortunately, this is all an elaborate façade because it isn’t effortless, it’s actually really hard. Place your objects even distances apart and make sure you juxtapose feature pieces with accessories- i.e., don’t lump all your bigger objects together and leave your smaller objects behind. The key here is to accessorise with your accessories.
Most of the time solid colours, especially white, serve as the most effective background because they directly contrast the content of your flatlay and bring out their true colours. Busy patterns work well with monochromed content and look fantastic if executed properly.
This is the most exciting part of your flatlay, because it means you’re almost finished! SUCCESS. As a general rule of thumb, filters are said to be a no-no, but we think they’re alright in moderation. Sharpen your images, deepen the shadows, heighten the contrast and enhance the glow to maximise your flatlay’s star power. Afterlight is our pick of the bunch, but there’s plenty of apps out there that we haven’t roadtested yet.
There you have it! Our five-step failsafe method for flatlay success. Jump online to http://www.perfumeclearancecentre.com.au and browse our range of fragrance flatlay accessories and get shooting!