Since the launch of Instagram in 2010, a new style of photography had us head over heels from the start – flatlays. The power of these carefully curated (yet presumably effortless) captures, invite your couples and fellow vendors into an intimate experience – much like a wedding. Flatlays offer your community a new perspective on the world, a bird’s-eye view into your work, your life and calls to them to RSVP to your Insta-party!
But where do we start? How do we capture these ‘I Do’ worthy moments? Here at Social Studio Shop, we believe a breathtaking flatlay can be captured in five easy-to-commit-to steps. Keep reading to uncover how to marry intention and purpose to create that perfect ‘grammable flatlay!
Step One: Pick Your Theme
I remember when my husband and I began planning our wedding. One of the first things our coordinator suggested is that we brainstorm a theme for our special day. She asked us to consider, “how do you want your guests to feel?” Think here black-tie versus casual. What is the overall story that you are trying to tell with your visuals? Then follow those questions up by asking, what things would appear naturally together in my story?
Step Two: Keep It Simple
They say that less is more, whether that be from the perfect bridal accessories to editing down your guest list – the same can be said about flatlays! The art of a good flatlay is in the simplicity, the ability to not get caught up in all the fuss and the intentional placement of each visual element that lies within your frame.
This is particularly important when you are capturing a variety of textures and details. A couple quick tips here to keep it simple are to choose a background that does not compete with your foreground. You’ll also want to make sure that you are slowing down, scanning your entire frame and taking out anything unnecessary that does not add to the overall story that you are trying to tell.
Step Three: Get Tall
The trick to getting that perfect bird’s-eye-view is to give yourself more room than you think you need. In fact, the taller you can get the better. So if that means you need to stand on a chair, bring a step stool along with you to shoots, or grab yourself a selfie-stick to magically grow a few inches – go for it! This can be especially helpful if you’re wanting to repurpose your images for multiple uses. For example, you may want a square image for traditional Instagram posts, but what about Instagram Stories? You’ll want to make sure that you are tall enough to crop down or capture that full experience.
Once your head is in the clouds, make sure to check yourself on your positioning. Being too far in front of your scene or behind, will give you some funky perspective distortion. Think here how you look in one of those fun house mirrors. Your head is either way stretched out, or your legs are super scrunched – not so cute! Instead, get tall enough so that you can be right on top of your scene to find that ‘just right spot’!
Step Four: Give Yourself Space
Even the perfect pair needs a little bit of breathing room. This is why we always recommend giving your image room to wiggle by utilizing negative space. By moving your objects closer together within your frame, the rest of your image will have more space to breathe giving your composition a sense of movement throughout.
Step 5: Switch Things Up!
The last step is to switch things up! From start to finish, you can see how our perfect flatlay progressed…
In the beginning, I felt that the marble background was just too busy. I also thought that there was not enough movement happening within the composition. So, to switch things up – I replaced the marble background with a piece of white foam core board (keeping it simple). Then, I choose to add in a few more visual elements (the paper clips) that I felt would naturally belong to this scene.
Expert tip: odd number objects tend to balance out your frame.
Then, I switched things up in my perspective – getting closer, further away and switching up my angle which helped later on when utilizing this image across multiple platforms. During the process, I found that perfect final flatlay and I walked away with several runner ups that we’ve added to our media library for future use. All in all, making for the perfect marriage between intention and purpose!
So whether you’re meeting a new client over coffee, giving a behind-the-scenes look into your work setup, or showcasing your couple’s special day – I hope these tips leave you saying ‘I Do’ to your perfect flatlay.
If you’re interested in learning more photography and photo styling tips, we’d love to have you join us for your upcoming virtual workshop – Smartphone Photography for Wedding Professionals!
We’ll share with you how you can rise above the noise, develop a unique style and tell your story with serious impact using just your smartphone! I hope to “see” you there!