14 July 2015

How I Shoot Flat-Lays

One of my most asked questions on social media is often about how I take my photos. *Disclaimer* While I am absolutely not an expert, I figured it would be a fun (and hopefully helpful) post to put together for you guys! Read on for a few tips and tricks I follow while shooting

1. The Background : Choose something basic - whether it's wooden floor boards, marble, or a while surface...make it simple! Flat, matte white backgrounds are by far the easiest to shoot on. I stand by my trusty Ikea worksurface (sans legs). It's big, cheap, well made, and can moved around to find the best lighting. What I love most is that it sits on the floor, allowing me to get directly above the objects I'm photographing. Since it's a large surface I can shoot a lot of product (and farther away) without running out of white space. 

2. The Composition : While I often shoot product completely on it's own, I also love adding "accessories" to photos to create dynamic layouts. Magazines are a favorite, trays and bowls, or even my laptop like you see above. For example, when using a magazine you can open the pages up, place product on top of it while closed, or lay it out in a grid format next to your products. When I'm shooting beauty items on their own, I go for a few different layouts - either lined up evenly, arranged in a grid, or organically placed next to each other.

I like to keep white space between things, this helps keep the photo clean and not so cluttered. I also often shoot many versions of one layout to find the right combination. I actually went through about three versions of the one above before finding the right groove. Sometimes it also takes turning the camera lens different angles instead of shooting straight on.

L->R : Square mode cropping, organic layout, grid style layout using a magazine

3. Coloring : This category hits both lighting and the actual colors in the photo. First up (and most importantly) lighting. I shoot only with natural light and I don't use any reflectors or box lighting. I find that during this point in the year early morning and a bit later in the afternoon have the best light. It's neutral and bright, but doesn't create harsh shadows. I tend to avoid the golden hour since I prefer my photos to be more of a blue white than a yellow white.

In terms of color I like to pick product and items that all work together and have a similar coloring. This helps to keep a cohesiveness with the layout. I also find that it also makes editing (adding brightness/contrast) easier. 

4. The Camera Bits : When shooting with my camera I like to keep the lens between 24-35mm, this keeps things from warping and allows for the products to look perspectively right. I also spend a ridiculous amount of time making sure as much of the photo is in focus as possible. I use those little red dots that light up when pressing half way down on the shutter to gage this. 

5. Square Mode : Since half the time these photos are ending up in square mode for social media I often crop them down. I love the process of taking a fully horizontal image and cropping it. This can sometimes be pure magic and turn a so-so photo into a real winner. Cropping and tilting a larger photo can make all the difference. 

A few links to photo accessories I love...
Translucent Tray
White Lacquered Tray
Marble Tray
Marble Cup

Let me know in the comments any tips, tricks, or your favorite ways to work on blog photos! I love learning about how other people work!


  1. Always good to grab a few new tips – thanks for sharing!

    Annie Reeves

  2. These are great tips that I'll definitely be taking on board. You're pictures always look amazing!

    Katya | The Beauty Harbour

  3. Thanks for you sharing your tips! I think flat lays are a really place for photography beginners to start while figuring their own personal photography style. Plus I love how clean and crisp flat lays can be.
    I definitely need to pick out a bigger place to shoot my blog photos, my desk is way too small for my blogging needs nowadays.

    x beauty, style, life | bespectacled

  4. These are such great tips, your photos are always so beautiful! I shoot all my flat lays with natural light, and I have a cheap posterboard that I put a bit of marble-patterned adhesive on one side so I have one piece that gives me a white background or a marble one!

    Kelsey | beautybykelsey.com

  5. Your photographs are my ultimate favourites in blogging, they are always beautiful and bright, so pretty! Great tips!! xx

  6. Your photos have seriously influenced my style so much! I adore your content.

    Thanks for sharing this, it's really interesting to see the creative process other bloggers I admire have.


    Maria // Fox and Arrow

  7. I seriously love your shooting style, so I'm so happy you shared these tips! Thanks, Faith!

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  8. Thanks for letting us in on your photo styling secrets! You are always so amazing at getting them to look just right, and creating a consistent profile on all of your accounts!

    xx! Jordan Taylor | petiteMODERN

  9. Beautiful images!

  10. really love these tips. thank you for sharing!

  11. Nothing beats natural lighting! Although it can be challenging, the other day one stinking cloud was messing up the lighting for my photos lol! I love your gorgeous photos - especially the pink and blue backdrops you do. They are so fun!

  12. You're welcome!! Glad the post was helpful :)

  13. Thank you so much!! So glad the post was helpful :)

  14. Ikea all the way!! I used to shoot on my coffee table which was small, but getting that board has changed my life!

  15. Aw thank you!! How do you like working with your soft boxes? Can you shoot at night with them? I've always contemplated getting them just for the sake of being able to work on stuff after work in the evenings. (Right now I cram all my photo taking into the weekend!)

  16. Ikea does smaller boards as well! (And I think those are only 5 dollars.) Maybe one of the smaller ones could work for you!

  17. Aw thank you :) I'm glad the post was helpful! Ahh I love that idea of having the board be dual sided!! Got to love a good multi-use product :)

  18. Oh my gosh, thank you :) You're comment totally made my day!

  19. Ahhh thank you!! Love, love, love your blog and photos as well! Still so envious of your gorgeous muji set up!

  20. Aw thank you Kristi! So glad you enjoyed the post :)

  21. Thanks Jasmine, so glad we were able to chat on Twitter the other day!!

  22. You're welcome, glad you enjoyed the post!

  23. This post is PERFECT for you! Your shooting aesthetic is spot-on "Faith" and I love it. Can't wait to see you in a few for brunch + mimosas!

  24. GREAT!:)