How to Create a Very Simple Flat Lay
I get the most questions about my photography. While I’ll have most of my photo tips in my book coming soon this spring, I wanted to share this one because it’s so simple and easy. You can use this all year with all styles of decor. You’ll only need a few things.
What you’ll need:
- A riser of any kind. I use my Crafty Home originally designed bench for all of my flat lays.
- Faux Greenery. Different types of greenery add for different textures.
- Small Decor pieces.
- One or two large decor pieces of your choice to be the "anchor" of your picture or main focus.
- Solid surface for decorating on. I have a little photo booth that I made to stage my decor in when it comes to my business.
From having teaching experience with one of my degrees in education, I know that when teaching something new it's helpful to know why instead of "just do it" with no rhyme or reason.
I wanted to explain why you need each of those materials. First, having some kind of riser will allow you to create depth in your photo. I know you can lay everything totally flat, but for me and my personal pictures, I like this depth that you'll see. The items on the riser will be part of the main focus and the other little items on the sold surface will be in the background and be out of focus slightly.
Why faux greenery? Oh. my. goodness. One of my best tips for you in your decorating is greenery. You won't believe what investing in some greens will do for your decorating. I'm not kidding. It was the missing link in my decorating for years until I invested in my decorating and now everything feels so wholesome to me. I have different types like lambs ear, boxwood, and eucalyptus. I use all faux greenery--except for a few so that I can use it all year. I always have this on hand for decorating. You can never have too much on hand because you'll love it all over your house--room to room. I have some greenery in my shop you can check out.
The small decor pieces and your main decor pieces are obvious. You'll need the larger items to be your focus and the little items to surround to go with the scene you are trying to make.
Okay! Let's get started!
Start with your riser. And as your decorating, always stand exactly over your flat lay to see how it looks and always check in as you go to tweak things. This is my bench on my solid surface. And since this is about taking a great picture, feel free to check in on your camera to see how it looks. Displays in person and on a camera look totally different so always decorate to what looks good in the camera if it's for a fabulous looking picture. There's some tips and tricks that go along with making a display look good to the camera.
I added this cheese board for a little contrast, some more interest in the display, and just because I liked it and wanted to add it into my decorating! You can always add or take away anything that doesn't go with your flat lay. Little details like this look cute in the end even if they are subtle. This is an easy step to change or get creative with.
Next up are some greens! you know I love it. I do it to create depth and texture...and even some color interest. I put this boxwood pick through the bottom of my bench. I just stuck the pick in and fluffed a little. This is super easy and simple. If you're looking to invest in some greens I have and am still adding some faux flowers and greens through this spring to the shop. I have really high quality picks because this is something you want to last for years.
Alrighty! Moving right along to one of my favorite pieces. We have a wreath--this exact one is from the target dollar spot. I love this for flat lays because you need need need something to hold your decor upright. You'll see what I mean. I use this wreath on the daily and have multiples because I made the mistake and only got one. I love that this wreath adds to the greens in the picture.
Next, I add my focus point. See how the birdhouse lays perfectly on the wreath holding it into place. In photography you'll find that things will shift and move and you have to have these kinds of tricks in your pocket to make it work. I love how simple and warm it looks with the similar wood tones and color pallets with the pop of the green. You'll notice that my inspiration is nature so I always need natural elements to my decorating. After this you can start adding and filling in your small decor.
I went in and adding greenery to the top of my frame so that it came in from the top left very naturally. I put a rain boot from the shop in this baby blue color. Placement is important in flat lays. For this reason, I played off of the orientation of the chirp birdhouse and mirrored the rain boot. It plays off of a line of symmetry which naturally looks good. I tilted the vintage teapot in the same direction again and put the rolling pin in that direction as well.
When taking the actual picture, not everything has to fit into to the frame. You're capturing a staged snipet. Notice how part of the teapot isn't in frame, the top left of the greenery, and the bench itself. Play around with angles and take some shots directly from above. This picture is from above but has a slight angle. I play around with it depending on what I'm taking a picture of. Below I compiled some other flat lays that I've done in the past to show you some examples of how things can change and move but still have some constant pieces.
I just wanted to mention that this is the style of flat lays that I've come up with myself and what feels good and right to me in my decorating. There are so many ways that you could do it too.