We don’t know about you, but we can’t get enough of flat lay photos. There is something so simple yet bold in flat lay photography. Are you looking for flat lay inspiration for your Instagram or blog with a bit of behind the scenes tips and tricks? We’ve scoured the web for some of the best flat lay tutorials and wrapped them up in this blog post. Let’s dig in!
What are Flat Lay Photos?
Flat lay photos are a birds eye view of products, food, or anything you’re inspired by and want to share. They are a great addition to your food or lifestyle blog, product shots, and Instagram feed.
Natural vs Artificial Light for Flat Lay Photos
We’re located in Denver, CO, where it’s sunny for something like 300 days out of the year, but we still don’t want to depend on natural light for my photos. It’s too much pressure! Especially if there is food involved.
But we get it, natural light can produce stunning images. We’ve set up my home studio to only use artificial light—but we still utilize the same concepts of natural light photography because we’re doing our best to mimic an airy window right next to my subject.
The tutorials below include flat lay photo tips and tutorials from people who utilize both natural light and studio lights. We’re betting you’ll learn something from both approaches, regardless of your preference.
11 Incredible Flat Lay Tutorials
1. Top 5 Flat Lay Tips from a pro photographer (via Georgie St. Clair)
Connie is a visual artist who creates stunning flat lays for big and small brands alike. Her images inspire me beyond words and give me major motivation to continue to up my flat lay photography game. Connie’s post Top 5 Flat Lay Tips that was posted on Georgie St. Clair’s site is a great starting point if you’re looking for some basic flat lay tips and ideas.
2. Stunning Flat Lay Food Photography
We’ve been studying a lot of food photographers for lighting inspiration and styling direction—especially dark and moody work. The Simplest Technique for Stunning Flat Lay Food Photography had me salivating and so motivated to get into my studio to play. Skyler from We Eat Together is funny, relatable, and shares incredible tips on his blog and his ebooks.
3. How to Shoot a Flat Lay and Product Image
This flat lay photo tutorial is a great starting point for anyone looking for the basic steps to building the perfect flat lay image. Olivia does a great job of simplifying the process all while producing this gorgeous image (below). Her article made me feel like we could do it all!
4. Flat Lay Photography Tips
Sharon Holland is a textile designer and has mastered flat lay photos. She gets pretty technical in her post, Flat Lay Photography Tips, but also brings it back to ways to apply her technique while using an iPhone. You can take stunning iPhone photos—it’s all about understanding proper lighting techniques, color, and composition!
5. Food Photography Tips
If you are only interested in using natural light, Andrea from Bella Eats has great food photography tips and techniques on utilizing natural light (with a great apple cake recipe, to boot). She also has ideas and resources for unique backgrounds and props—great backgrounds can set your photos apart when someone is scrolling through Instagram. They shouldn’t just be considered for food photography!
6. How to Set Up Your Home Photography Studio and Sell Your Work
This article from Photo Workout has great information, ideas, and recommendations for gear for a home photography studio. How to Set Up Your Home Photography Studio wasn’t written with flat lay photos in mind, but I still took away some great ideas. For example, when you’re first starting out and you don’t want to depend only on natural light, invest in a budget-friendly lighting set up and get creative!
7. Shooting Overhead? Save Your Back With a Tripod Arm
FStoppers is a great resource site for photographers of all levels and experience. We appreciated the author of this article Shooting Overhead? Save Your Back With a Tripod Arm because he was so practical about getting the shot. My back is already tired and sometimes shoots can aggravate it. A tripod arm is a great tool to keep you from shooting over head of your subject for that perfect bird’s eye flat lay look.
8. 10 Household Products That Can Improve Your Food Photography
Oh man, these are genius ideas! Lindsay shares great lighting and basic styling tips using stuff you have in your house right now in this article 10 Household Products That Can Improve Your Food Photography from Pinch of Yum.
9. Flat Lay Photography Guide
This is a great beginners guide to flat lay photography from Discover Digital Photography. The author covers composition, backgrounds, lighting—all with great examples.
10. 7 Fantastic Tips for Flat Lay Photography
We absolutely love the ideas that David from Enlightapp shares in his post 7 Fantastic Tips for Flat Lay Photography. He has a more artistic approach to his tips such as using color theory and visual planning when creating a flat lay. Definitely check this one out for inspiration if you’re planning some flat lay photos that will push your creative limits.
11. 5 Tips to Master Instagram Flatlays Using Your iPhone
Chaitra from PinkPot has an awesome article on how to rock your Instagram flat lay game with just your iPhone! She covers everything from story, to lighting, to background and she even has a free 7-day email Instagram Flatlay course!
That should be enough to get you rolling on your flat lay photography journey! Whether you’re shooting with a dSLR, a point and shoot, or an iPhone, these tutorials should give you everything you need to start creating gorgeous flat lays for your Instagram, shop, or blog!
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Thanks for reading!