The use of flat lay (table top) style has skyrocketed thanks to the popularity of Instagram and the ever-more-beautiful brand storytelling techniques adopted by larger and more boutique companies alike. Just like in real life where an unappealing shop layout can deter customers, a poor online image can also make a hard impact on sales. This is another reason why flat lay has become increasingly common among savvy ecommerce owners.
The Benefits of Flat Lay
The flat lay style can work beautifully for certain types of product photography but what exactly are the benefits? It offers great opportunity for versatility and creativity when it comes to styling and creating different themes across a range of products, collections and seasons. The flat lay photography setup is also (usually) far more straightforward than other types of image.
Flat lay is an easy way to display more than one product at a time whilst retaining a clean, coherent and compelling image style. It is a great technique for telling a story with your products and drawing the audience in. It’s also practically a given for social media likes and shares, marking a strong return on investment.
Your Flat Lay Setup
Your setup should include a camera mounted parallel to the table top as well as cool LED lamps for best exposure and consistency, diffusers and soft-boxers. One of the biggest risks with flat lay shots is creating an inaccurate representation of your products as they become distorted when laid flat. This means you will also need some tools to play around with the layout and shape of the flat lay such as pins, tape, tissue paper and clips.
You can use these to cinch in/stuff the products, create depth or tighten up the table covering. Styling is by far the most time-consuming part of a flat lay shoot so take your time making things look just right.
Group Items Together
Try to avoid using your flat lay setup as an experiment and instead group complementary items together beforehand, perhaps by colour or style. Once you have the collections for your different flat lays, style up your table then play with different angles and complementary props.
Remember, there’s a fine line between a creative shot and a cluttered one so tread carefully. You also need to be aware of which type of products won’t necessarily work best for this style of shoot. While most fashion photography works great with flat lay, some items such as long dresses, coats and other bulky or oversized items are probably best suited to a different style as flat lay won’t enhance their best bits.
Once you have achieved your desired style with your first flat lay, take notes. You can even create a visual style guide so that anyone who works on the present or future shoots can achieve a good level of consistency and uniform brand image.
We have created exquisite on-brand flat lays and product photography collections for a wide range of brands. For more details on how our ecommerce photography can improve your brand engagement and skyrocket your sales, contact our expert team today.