Flat Lay

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  • #43121
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    I tried my hand at flat lay photography today. It seems to have become a popular photography style on social media, blogs etc. So I wanted to try it out for stock photography using kitchen utensils. I was using the kitchen bench, and it was low light. So had to go up to a pretty high ISO. Much to my disappointment, I realised that it isn’t take sharp when I went to process it. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ (Need to get better at checking that in camera!) Because the bench was my background it was up high which meant I had to be perched on a chair, holding the camera above my head. . . so you know. . . hard to keep the camera steady. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The hardest thing I found about doing flat lay was arranging the items to look full, but not cluttered and not getting the edges soft. The pictures are far from perfect, but does anyone have any critique for the images? I’ve attached the original first. Then the first edit and then a different edit for a more modern feel.

    Has anyone else tried this style before? ๐Ÿ™‚ What did you learn while shooting? Any tips?

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    #43125
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    I’m really not familiar with this style of photography (although as I see your photos I do recognize the style), but two things that I’m thinking:

    1- If you use a tripod rather than doing a hand-held shot, you should be able to get a higher quality image, both by using manual focus, and using a slower shutterspeed rather than a high ISO.

    2- I’d imagine, since it’s called “flat lay” photography that there should be a little less depth in the image. I notice it particularly in the sifter in the top left corner and the measuring cup in the lower right corner. Correct me if I’m wrong about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    One other thing- personally, I’m not a huge fan of the modern editing style as seen in the third image. To me, I find it tends to look dark and dingy. However, if you actually like the style and you want to edit some of your photos that way, there’s totally nothing wrong with that! It’s very much a thing of personal preference. I know that style is popular at the moment, but fads come and go anyways, and I’m just not crazy about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The other benefit to using a tripod is that you would be able to set up your shot, and then experiment with different amounts of utensils to see how “cluttered” or simple you’d like it to be.

    #44454
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Hi @creative-click-photography, I’m sorry I overlooked critiquing these photos!

    Flat lay. That’s a great name for it. Didn’t know it even had a name!

    About arranging items, I don’t have much experience, but I like how the items are intentionally placed. Maybe it would be better if they were not cropped off at all? The cropped image cropping most of the items is better than the original I think, because it makes the items look more like a border, though I do like them not cropped off better I think.

    I really think you should get a speedlite! Something like the Yongnuo YN560 would be cheap and would make a world of difference in the lighting!

    The dark counter top really makes the flour stand out. Wish it was a lighter counter somehow. Thought it was a picture of a sky full of stars, when I saw the little icon at first. ๐Ÿ™‚ Folks would probably want to use this as a background image for text, so making that less contrasty in the initial setup would probably be better. That’s probably the main reason why I don’t feel attracted to the photo.

    As an effect, I don’t mind the second edit. Makes it feel more like a background.

    #45626
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    @bennett-family

    Thanks for your thoughts, Lydia! ๐Ÿ™‚

    If you use a tripod rather than doing a hand-held shot…

    Good idea! I’m all for using a tripod. But, I’m a bit confused as to how to use a tripod to shoot downwards? Would I need a tripod arm or something?

    since itโ€™s called โ€œflat layโ€ photography that there should be a little less depth in the image…Correct me if Iโ€™m wrong about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Well since you said… ๐Ÿ™‚ According to my research, you’re actually meant to have things of different heights to add depth. So, that’s why I included the sifter and measuring cups. The problem I came across with that though was trying to get everything in focus. Think I need a bit more practise. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Iโ€™m not a huge fan of the modern editing style as seen in the third image. To me, I find it tends to look dark and dingy. However, if you actually like the style and you want to edit some of your photos that way, thereโ€™s totally nothing wrong with that!

    Yes, editing is such a personal preference/style thing! I personally don’t mind that style on the right image. But I agree that’s it definitely a fad right now, which will no doubt pass before too long. . . So, I wouldn’t want to go crazy with it. lol ๐Ÿ˜€ I thought that it suited the feel of the image. And since I was using it to sell on Lightstock and that style is quite popular on there, that’s why I decided to go with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #45627
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    Thanks, @jamesstaddon, for you critique!

    Flat lay. Thatโ€™s a great name for it.

    Yes, only just discovered it myself!

    I really think you should get a speedlite! Something like the Yongnuo YN560 would be cheap and would make a world of difference in the lighting!

    Ok! So, I know nothing about speedlites. ๐Ÿ™‚ Would this be an all purpose sort of one? Have you had experience with that brand?

    Thought it was a picture of a sky full of stars, when I saw the little icon at first.

    I finally got around to trying out astrophotography! lol ๐Ÿ˜‚ Yes, it probably is too contrasty – might have to try a new edit or different background.

    #46014
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    My quick tip for you, Caitlin.
    You may have already been doing this, but for something like this you should be setting your aperture to what Iโ€™ve heard described as a โ€œwho caresโ€ aperture. This would be about f/8 or f/11 (because you really donโ€™t care about anything not being in focus). Definitely use a tripod (mine allows the head to come off and attach to the bottom) or something else to hold your camera steady, and donโ€™t be afraid to open the shutter for a good long time.

    Yes, get a speedlite! I donโ€™t know the one @jamesstaddon is recommending, but Iโ€™ve got one that works well made by Altura Photo. An off-brand will work to get you started.

    โ€”@loganlamar

    #46190
    Jamie Parfitt
    Participant

    I like the bright second picture best. It looked like a galaxy, and it was pretty to me. I, too, felt like pushing things in from the edges or stepping back a little to include them. I actually don’t understand why it is called flat if it is supposed to have different heights. Anyway, just my two cents. ~ Mrs. Parfitt

    #46193
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    Thanks for the tips, @loganlamar! Hmm… can’t remember off the top of my head what aperture I was using. But since I was running out of natural light, it probably wasn’t as high as it should’ve been. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll keep that in mind for next time! Yes, I’m definitely going to have to get a speedlite!

    #46194
    Caitlin Compton
    Participant

    Thanks, @momparfitt, for sharing your thoughts! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I actually donโ€™t understand why it is called flat if it is supposed to have different heights.

    Hmm.. good point. Hadn’t thought of that! Well, according to Google it’s called flat lay because you lay everything on a flat surface. So, I thought that makes sense! ๐Ÿ™‚

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