Throughout these months posting on @coolflatlays I received some questions from readers on the most varied subjects. I received a few more questions these past few days and I tried to select some to answer in this post today.
I tried to answer in details and illustrate whenever possible. As the post was too long I will split into different posts and dedicate some to more recurring themes like editing the photos. So if your question was not answered here, you can rest assured that I will soon post part II.
Hi, I wanted to know how tot ake pictures without appearing the shadow of the camera in the photo, I can never take pictures like that for that reason.
In the flat lays we stand really above the composition right? So in this case the ideal is that the light is not behind you – in the ceiling for example.
I do not have any lighting equipment for photographs, so I prefer to use natural light. I usually photograph on a furniture that is next to a balcony door. So there’s a lot of light coming in from the side of the photo and I do not have to worry about my shadow. In this case it is worth remembering that I have a translucent curtain that leaves the light softer and leaves even the shadow of the objects almost imperceptible.
But if you really need to shoot using some light from your home and it is located on the ceiling I suggest you to do not try to shoot below that lamp, move your composition out of that central focus of light and that will soften your shadow. Or try adding other points of light by entering the sides of the composition, with a lamp for example.
I love this kind of photo and thanks for the tips! But when your arm / hand appears, does anyone takes the picturet or can you do it on the camera’s timer using a tripod?
Currently for the photos in which my hands or feet appear I need the help of Thiago, my boyfriend – who is also the photographer of all my looks here on the blog.
I usually get all the composition of the photo, I leave the right places to position myself and he shoots for me. But we always need a few more clicks since it is difficult to be in the right place and in a natural way without seeing the final result. And it’s zero glamorous: I’m under the ladder and sometimes I do the greatest juggling to be perfect for the photo!
But I intend to buy a tripod so I can shoot alone in these cases, too. As soon as this happens I’ll tell you about my experience with the tripod for these photos.
You use a furniture to take the pictures, right? What’s the size of it?
Yes! Currently a lot of my photos of flat lay are made on the surface of a white furniture. It does not have anything special, but works well because it is neutral and located near a good light. It is 50 cm wide by 1.40m long. As the photos are square if it was 50x50cm would be enough.
Remember that I use this furniture for small flat lay photos, with accessories and smaller objects. In the case of flat lays that has as object garments it takes a larger background!
I have doubts about symmetry. I have already noticed that in your flat lays there is always an imaginary line. But I can not do it…
I loved the question because symmetry is super important in the photos! Actually I think I almost always have two imaginary lines in the pictures, take a look:
External imaginary line: the limits of the photo. My photos are square since I produce to post in instagram. That is why the limits of my composition have this (imaginary) format. In some cases I position the objects and form a square (example 1), in other clean compositions the edges become freer and the objects in the center (example 2) and in a third option I surpass the limits of the square with the objects And make a square cut leaving some of them in half (example 3). Here are some complete photos of the compositions for you to better visualize the imaginary lines in red:
In all these cases you can “preview” the square using the square tool on the camera of your cell phone, for example. This way you can ensure that the outer imaginary lines are positioned as you need them.
Internal imaginary line: this is more difficult to explain and will vary according to each composition. A composition can be with objects perfectly aligned (example 1). But it can also be tilted (example 3) or asymmetrical (example 2). In all cases you will only be able to “draw” those lines by assembling, experimenting and realizing what is best. It is super abstract and depends on the aesthetic sense of each.
How to use mini sculptures (like an eiffel tower) on flat lays?
In a flat lay basically every type of object can be used. But as the angle is always from above it is good to analyze what looks better from this point of view. In the opening photo of this post you can see 2 Eiffel Towers, but notice how they gain a new format seen from above. This will vary according to each object and you will need to test what works or not.
Some things, such as nailpolish, for example, looks more beautiful and visible when placed lying on the photo. A lovely stamped mug, for example, will not be appreciated, since you will only see the bottom of the mug and “lying down” would depend on the composition to look nice and tell a coherent story. So it’s worth collecting some cool objects that you would like to use and perform some tests to see the result in the photo!
Take a look how different the objects look from above in a flat angle to the other perspective in the same height of the objects. The ideal is to always try and discover how it looks better!
You should give classes about flat lays! Have you ever thought about it? “flatlays and composition for beginners”
I had never thought of it, but I loved the idea! I think I’m still learning and every day I discover something new about flat lays, but I think I already have some tips to share and some experience since I began to photograph more assiduously for @coolflatlays. What do you think of the idea? How about a flat lays workshop?
More about flat lays: