Smooth Lay Photography: The Ultimate Guidebook (+ Tips)

Flat Place Photography: The Ultimate Guide (+ Tips)


What is flat lay photography, and how can you capture stunning level lay photos of your own?

Recently, flat lay photography has exploded in popularity. So when done well, flat lie down shots get tons of interest on social media.

But beginners often struggle to capture beautiful even lays. There’s so much to think about, from subject choice and compositional arrangements to lights and colors, that many professional photographers give up without really offering the genre a chance.

That’s where this post should help you out. I talk about all of the basics, and am also include plenty of flat rest examples so you can see exactly what my advice can do for your photos.

Let’s dive right within.

What is level lay photography?

Flay lay photography describes photos where subjects are arranged on a flat surface and photographed from above. The flat work surface and the camera sensor are perfectly parallel; therefore , almost all objects are captured using a top-down, or bird’s-eye, watch.

Here’s a set lay example:


But while level lay will involve arranging subjects on a flat surface, this does not mean your picture should look flat. Some flat lay photos look flat, of course , but others have lots of depth, and am later discuss how to attainteresting flat lay shots while still maintaining lots of three-dimensionality.

Note that flat lay images should be captured from above the flat work surface, but this can be at any distance. Yes, most flat put photography is shot from a few feet above the table arrangement, but this isn’t a requirement. If you have some drone camera, for instance, you could shoot landscapes and mansions in a flat lay design!

Stagnant lay photography subjects: Exactlty what can you shoot?

For the reason that flat lay photography is known as a broad genre, you can blast just about anything – assuming you may arrange it (or still find it arranged) on a flat surface.

Here are a few potential matters to consider:


Flat place portrait photography features persons lying in the grass as well as in the bed, generally considered with wide-angle lenses from above.

(Pro tip: When doing flat set up portraits, be sure to watch your darkness carefully and ensure it does not end up in the final photo. )

Newborns are easier to photograph from the critical angle because they’re smaller. You can capture their total bodies plus a background from a short distance; in fact , you can certainly do newborn flat put on photography with a 50mm the len’s:


Though it is possible to capture kids and adults in area lay poses, too, supposing they’re willing to lie down in the grass.


You can photograph type object in the flat make style; these images are usually referred to as flat lay still lifes .

This is probably the simplest way to get started with flat lay photography: simply find some objects the fact that interest you, arrange them on a bit of colored paper as well as fabric, then shoot previously mentioned.

The photo below required almost no work, and I photographed within a bright and evenly couche space for a nice end result:



In your residense lay food photography is popular, the beauty is in how easy it is to do, and it looks amazing. You have probably seen plenty of plain lay food examples (they’re everywhere on Instagram! ).

A dish of food is small more than enough to snap a quick snapshot, and because we naturally pay for our food on firm surfaces – the poker table – food flat lays require minimal work.

In fact , when you photograph food while eating out in a restaurant, you can simply just point your camerand shoot, as the food may generally be well given you on the plate. That’s could captured the three photos hung below. They were shot at a restaurant with zero hair styling on my part:



Flowers are packed with texture and color, and they make available limitless styling possibilities. They look great no matter what you do in their eyes, so as long as you get a nice flat lay background you spend a bit of time wondering your arrangement, you’re guaranteed to come away with results.

You can lower flowers from your garden, you can also buy some at your native grocery store. Then put them on a floor, do some beautiful arranging, capture a wide-angle lens, and additionally take some shots!

I shot the following photo on the floor of an accommodation using a 24-70mm lens (at around 35mm):




My final beloved flat lay subject is certainly jewelry, and while it’s a bit more unconventional, jewelry flat lies are a great way to have fun with a rainy day.

I love juxtaposing jewels in addition to metallic textures with comfortable fabrics, as the layering involving textures creates tons appealing.

If you get the jewelry route, pay careful attention to your lighting. You dont want to get blown-out highlights at a too-harsh light above a shiny ring, necklace, as well as clasp. If you’re using fabricated light, add a softbox with your flash to soften the effects. And if you’re using day light, be sure to shoot when the in the is cloudy or as soon as light isn’t hitting the earrings directly.


Flat lay photography helpful hints

In this portion, I share a handful of helpful tips to get you improving your in the house lay photography, starting with:

1 . Don’t be reluctant to use your smartphone

Yes, professional flat hang photographers tend to work with full-frame DSLR and mirrorless webcams, but did you know that you can catch images of comparable quality using just a smartphone?

It’s true. Accepting your lighting is good, you may get stunning flat lays simply by holding your phone above your susceptible and shooting.

Smartphone flat install photography is insanely suitable, too. If you’re out at a restaurant and you love the glance of the food, just get your phone, and – snap! – you’ve got this shot.

Note that you will find it difficult to take beautiful smartphone fixed lays in low light, yet. Always pay careful attention towards the light, and do what you may to ensure your subjects get illuminated by beautiful fraudulent or natural lighting.

Speaking of which:

2 . Choose your lighting carefully

Once you’ve chosen your own personal flat lay camera, an individual must think about the light:

  • How much light-weight is present
  • How soft or hard it can be
  • Your direction it hits individual

Above all, make sure you have enough light for you to shoot. I don’t recommend taking pictures flat lays at night; on the other hand, work in the day when you have a lot of ambient lighting to lighten up your subjects.

(The exception, of course , is if you’re a studio photographer. You can capture charming flat lays whenever you are looking for with the right artificial lighting. )

Next, consider:

What quality of light am I after?

Hard light would likely produce intense shadows, which can be great for a dramatic, edgier look. Soft light can produce soft, even lighting for your home with limited shadows.

Neither sort of light is better compared to other, and there’s a place for both hard and fluffy light, but if you’re unclear which direction to consider, principal soft lighting. It’s ideal, it looks amazing, and it may be commonly used by professionals.

To get soft light source, by the way, you’ll want to either shoot on cloudy days and nights or add a diffuser around your artifical lights.

Finally, you should look at the direction of the light. Sidelight is a great way to add three-dimensionality and texture, while backlight produces extra drama.

For the baby photograph below, the room was lively and airy. The main illumination came from a huge window that you write in the cue section, which offered beautiful diffused lighting. Thanks to the diffusion, this shadows are subtle.


These images, on the other hand, were taken having a slightly harder light source, for this reason the darker shadows:


3. For top level flat lay compositions, covering your items

Beginners often struggle once attempting to plan flat lie elements, but in my knowledge, arrangement is easier than you assume – you just need to get started, keep moving around your subjects, and see just how things look.

Over time, however , I do advise you begin to layer the subjects. Make sure that some overlap over others, like this:


Notice the multiple layers? I’ve added the particular dark blue background being the bottom layer, the fairy lights and decorations due to the fact second layer, the food as the third layer, and finally, hands as the fourth and top notch layer.

As well as the result is a flat relax photo with lots of movement : the overlaps guide the women around the frame – and quite enough depth, as the overlap establishes an illusion of three-dimensionality.

By the way, once you only have a few items to work together with but you really want to create tiers, you can always shoot at a huge aperture to create a very shallow depth for field effect :


For the graphic above, I didn’t have got much in the way of layers. Though by using a wide aperture, I got able to blur out the main rose, which became an added layer that I incorporated straight into my composition.

4. Use the composition principles

Flat put in composition starts with layers – but what if you want to create more sophisticated outcome? What then?

Well, composition in your house lay photography is pretty significantly identical to composition in standard photography, which means that you are able to rely on helpful compositional instructions, like symmetry, the rule of thirds , and the rule of odds to get pleasing images.

For instance, you could identify the focal point of your respective arrangement, then position it along a rule regarding thirds gridline for a well ballanced effect.

Or you can take your focal point and place the idea smack-dab in the middle of your real chance for an in-your-face, symmetrical appearance.

Here is a rule-of-thirds style image, followed by a fabulous symmetrical photo:


At the end of the day, well-executed synthèse will hugely elevate your pics, so it pays to spend moment painstakingly arranging your elements before taking a single chance. Make sense?

Someone final note: It’s quicker to play around with composition when you have various objects to use. Sometimes, adding in additional items is a good idea!


five. Don’t forget about contrast

Flat lay first-timers often get hung up on lamps and composition…

…but the difference between a new mediocre flat lay as well as a great flat lay can often be due to careful use of contrast .

Specifically, for the best effects, you need to create plenty of pop between main subjects, along with between main subjects and the background.

Reveal do that by selecting subjects together with backgrounds with distinctive colorings, tones, and textures.

For instance, mild subjects work well against ebony backgrounds:


And smooth, soft clients work well against rough experiences:


Correspondence how, in the images in excess of, I made sure to avoid insipide color schemes; instead, I combined contrasting colors, such as white and pink or scarlet and green.

Because the more contrast you can include, the better!


Flat lay photography: finished words


Flat lay photography is actually lots of fun, plus a fresh wildly creative genre about photography.

So don’t dawdle. Get your camera, find a small number of subjects, creative a flat place photography setup, and start taking some shots.

At this moment over to you:

What do you plan to shoot in your flat install photos? Share your thoughts from the comments below!

Read more from your Tips & Tutorials range

Lily Sawyer

Lily Sawyer

can be described as wedding and portrait photography based in London. Her categorical favourite past time is going on “mummy” dates with her kids as well as husband. Other than that, as a homebody, she is content curled on the sofa, hot sweet in hand, watching films with her family whenever she has a free of charge weekend. Check out her focus on Follow her on her behalf fave social platform Instagram .

I need help with…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.