Last week in our Facebook Group, Let’s Talk About Fashion Trucks FB, someone posted a cute picture of two dresses on hangers that where against a wood backdrop and asked how they could accomplish the same look.
The technique is called “Flat Lay” and it’s accomplished by laying your products on a plain or textured surface like a wood table or floors. You then get up on something like a ladder, step stool, chair, or bench (be safe) to overlook the products and take a picture of them from above.
This technique is crazy popular right now. You’ll see it a ton on Instagram and Pinterest. Since the clothes are laying flat on a surface it also reduces dark shadows around your products (depending on where the light is).
Flat Lay Tips
Remember these are just suggestions. Experiment and find what works for your brand.
Arrange clothes as if you were putting together an outfit in the morning. Imagine yourself laying out jeans, overlaying it with a sweater, putting your earring next to it, and then maybe adding some shoes. The key is to help the buyer envision being in the clothes. Once you’ve mastered that technique get daring and try adding several items in the picture.
PICKING THE BACKGROUND
Choose a background that aligns with your brand. For example, if your products are simple or minimal an all white background may work. Ideas for backgrounds: wood, concrete, shag rug, white comforter, or grass. Get creative! Be sure to take most of your product shots on the same background or similar backgrounds so when you see then together in places like Instagram they have some consistency.
TIPS FOR USING WOOD FLOORS
Pay attention to the direction of the lines on your wood surface. Try to keep them perfectly horizontal or vertical each time (more so for clothes, smaller items you have more leeway). It keep the illusion that the picture was taken on wall versus a flat surface.
If you do chose to have the lines go diagonal make sure it looks natural. Also, just because you have wood or laminate floor it doesn’t mean you should use them. Some floors don’t photograph well. Some types of wood could also make your picture appear dated (not in the trendy vintage kinda way).
SHOOT FROM ABOVE
Try to shoot the picture from above instead of at an angle. If your image is at a slight angle it won’t look “flat.” This is where the step stool, ladder, etc coming in handy.
Use natural light. your photos will always come out crisper and more vibrant with natural light. Pictures taken at night under florescent light almost always come out grainy, dark, and/or blurry.
Examples of Well Executed Flat Lay Photographyon IG
This is from The Wandering Wardrobe Fashion Truck.
She uses diagonal lines, but since the floor is almost washed out it works. You can tell she uses this same surface for close up shots of small products.
@_liesl_ (Pretty.Random.Things) definitely has a unique style. She wants you to know these shots have been taken or her bedroom comforter. If you look through the account you’ll even see pillows in some of the pictures. She has a great eye for layout.
The layout from @justineceline is a great example of using a hard surface other than wood. She’s using marble, which really helps the color pop. She’s also laid this out as if you were trying to determine what goes together in the morning.
@spreelabsubang uses what looks like a shag rug and also lays out clothing as if you’re trying to put an outfit together. She uses this background for most of the pictures on her account.
Last, but not least, here is an example of a possible product shot from @designlovefest. This post is highlighting a trip to Tuscany; however, imagine if you were trying to sale the magazine. By adding floral accents and cup a tea it gives the picture visual interest.
NOTE: All images belong to respective site.