5 tips to improve your flat lays
I talked to so many photographers and business owners before creating this content, and WOW. So many of you have told me that you struggle with flat lays, and feel nervous when you have to style things on wedding days. I hope that through this course you will feel confident on wedding days, shoots, or even just at home shooting for your social media! Flat lays really don't have to be complicated, especially when you have these 5 key things in mind. Before we get started, I want to say a huge thank you to Megan, from Delighted Calligraphy who designed all of the invitations you see in these images.
1. Choose your Surface
It's important to choose a surface that goes with the colors, theme or style of the objects in your flat lay. You want everything to compliment your focal point, and not take away from it or distract from it. Choose colors that are complimentary or even a neutral if you really want the objects to pop. I love surfaces with texture, like the ones shown in the tutorial and pictures. Linen boards and canvas boards that are painted with texture are just two of my favorite kinds, but also keep in mind that your venue or location may offer surfaces that tell the story better. Concrete paths, velvet couches, wood tables... If you feel like the story could be told better with a surface that is already there, by all means USE IT!
2. Creating a focal point
This is definitely one of the most important things you can remember. Creating a focal point allows your viewer to look at an image that may be filled with 5+ objects, but he or she can still just focus on one thing, while the other objects just compliment the focal point. You can see in the images below that the other objects are strategically placed to point to the focal point OR the focal point is actually elevated to be on a different plane, thus creating dimension and distinction between the other objects.
Another strategy you can implement when creating a focal point is thinking like the viewer. Most people will typically look at the bottom left of the picture- maybe without even realizing it! Try to put the focal point either in the center of the image or near the bottom left of the image.
3. Telling a story: Using items to tell a story
The most important thing to remember when creating flat lays is the story behind the flat lay. Whether it's a wedding story or something to promote a brand. There should always be a theme surrounding your flat lay. For example, if your couple is getting married by the ocean or on the beach, you may want to think of incorporating sea shells into your flat lay with the bride's details.
You can see in some of the examples below how we incorporated things like a wax seal stamp or scissors to tell the story of the creation of the invitation. Keep in mind that the story doesn't always have to be around the day itself, but it can compliment what went into creating the objects you're featuring.
4. Use Props
This tip goes along with the idea of telling a story, but I want to expand on that. From an artistic perspective it's good to add elements that tie the entire style together. Whether that's a color, texture, or just another object that acts as a focal point. Props are important in telling the story, but also in the overall aesthetic of your flat lay. Props can be anything from ribbon to flowers to scissors.. the list could go on. Typically I will add these things in at the very end.
5. Layering: Using depth and texture to your advantage
As mentioned in the previous point, layering is a great way to add dimension to your image, while elevating your focal point to the attention of your viewer. By mixing different textures and layering items you can create a cohesive look that has dimension. I love it when I have stationary that overlaps because this creates a connecting point between items and makes them feel like they belong together. Just like when I pose my couples, I want them to have a connecting point, so I want my stationary to have a connecting point. You can also connect pieces of stationary with other objects such as ribbon, stamps, wax seals, etc. You can use these items to touch both items without the stationery actually touching each other.
I put together a simple, short video showing some of my thought process while styling an invitation suite. I am by no means an expert or awesome at speaking on video ;) But I hope that you can gain at least one tip to help you in your future styling endevours!