Updated: May 18, 2020
Before we jump straight in and start showcasing our Flat-Lay Styling Tips that you can practise at home, we thought it would be best to define what exactly a "Flat-Lay" is.
Essentially, this is when your items are photographed from above - normally on a flat surface - and arranged in an aesthetically appealing way. There are so many tips out there when it comes to designing your flat-lays. But, why do we love Styling Flatlays so much we hear you ask?
Flatlays are the perfect way to communicate your creative style, and add a little bit of flair and design to your editorial or wedding details.
Flatlays essentially support in our storytelling as photographers. By gathering all of your significant details, we can help bring the story to life and showcase some of your most important memories.
Your grandmother's lace handkerchief; we want to include it.
A pocket watch that was gifted to you; get that in there.
Your beautiful invitations that you spent hours creating with your stationer; we absolutely need to include this.
So, let's begin by creating a little list of items that we recommend you pull together for your photographer on your wedding day.
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands.
Your Veil or Hairpiece.
Jewelry such as earrings, bracelets and so on.
2 Copies of your Full Invitation Suite (so we can photograph both the front and back at the same time).
Heirloom memories such as photographs, handkerchiefs, lockets, and tokens of affection.
Your Nova Ring Box (of course!)
Loose Florals from your Florist.
Gifts to your Bridesmaids
....and, if you have it, your "something blue, borrowed and new".
So, as you can see, as photographers, we can spend a lot of time capturing these items for you. Essentially, these are important pieces of your story and we want to make sure that we dedicate time to this.
How to Style a Flatlay at Home
So, if you're tuning in and looking for the "How-to" portion of this blog post, you've reached the right part!
In the following segments, we'll go over a few things...
An important part of the design process is being first aware of the type of flatlay you wish to style. Think back to what your clients are like as people, and stay consistent with the rest of your portfolio.
Do you want to create a flatlay that is slightly whimsical or are you more structured? By slightly adjusting the rotation of your invitation suite, or by adding something soft like ribbon elements, you can soften the image created.
Are you hoping to go for minimalism or more elaborate? Whatever you choose, have fun! There are so many options available so be sure to get a variety of crops as well.
Ultimately, your flatlay should have a "flow", where the viewers eye is taken from one side of the image to the other, down and back again. You don't want them to ever "get stuck". A good way to do this, is to first layout your items and take a quick cellphone image - if it looks balanced and co-ordinated on a smaller placeholder image, it will look great as a larger image too. Look for leading lines in your image and make sure that anything of interest is placed within the intersecting points in your camera's viewfinder. These are called "Power Points" and used frequently in the "Rule of Thirds".
When composing your flatlay, I always suggest beginning with the largest item first. This will ground the image. Secondly, look for items that you have in pairs, like shoes, rings or ribbons. You can then place these near opposite to one another. This will create a flow and balance to the image. The same goes for colour tones, darker tones look great at opposite sides of the frame, and help to set the image creating an equal visual weight.
A good tip here is to have a colour wheel nearby or on your phone. This will help you when choosing coordinating or clashing colour tones. By selecting a colour immediately opposite the primary colour in your flatlay, you will get a complementary colour palette. If you notice, one side of the colour wheel is made up of warm colours while the other is made up of cool colours. Complementary colours, since they are across from one another, will have one of each. They create a vibrant contrast, making each other pop without being jarring to the eye. You can have fun with this as well and select colours within the same tonal family! Contrasting colours can have a modern effect on your image. For example, selecting from below; Ruby, Poppy, Smoothie and Sorbet provide a bright and contrasting colour scheme which adds interest for the viewer and an unexpected twist.
If you want three colours in your colour scheme, you can use a "Split-Complementary Trio".
Simply choose one main colour and the two colours on either side of the main colours complement.
An example of this would be if Blue-Green is your main, primary colour, then rather than add the immediately opposite "Red-Orange" but instead choose colour hues from the Orange and the Red wheel.
Don’t use them equally, think of a ratio 60% / 30% / 10 % to keep things fun.
In conclusion, we recommend just playing! Introduce new textures, fabrics, patterns or items to your flatlays and see how you can create something wildly visually interesting!
Photography: Jacqueline Anne Photography
Wedding Bands: Locusart Jewelry
Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes