Al here, back with another Tip Tuesday! - and this week I'm so excited to share one of my favorites: the flat lay.
When I first started sharing pictures of my yarn crafts on IG I'll admit, my photos just weren't up to par. I was quick to snap a shot and share it without thinking too much about the lighting, the content or even the message I was sending out. But something clicked and shifted in my photography style when I discovered just how much I like the flat lay. I'm not sure what about the flat lay lends itself so well to Instagram, or why an overhead shot of something always looks cooler to me then the same shot taken at a different angle, but it just does.
I'll preface this week's tip by saying that I am in no way an expert photographer but I am looking forward to sharing this insight with you into what I think makes a perfect Alison/OML-approved flat lay and what I've found works for me stylistically.
Ready to get your flat-lay on with me? Ok let's go!
My Flat Lay Tips
1. The Angle
This may seem pretty self explanatory, but when taking a flat lay shot I carefully make sure that my camera lens is as perpendicular or flush to the ground as possible. This can be tricky if you're taking your photos one-handed or by yourself. Often you'll end up with something you think looks flat, but then when you go to upload it you realize one corner of your image is warped or your coffee mug looks more oval than round from above. The easiest way to avoid this is using a tripod or getting a pal to help you take your shot. (Self timers and tripods are everyone's friend)
2. The Edges
When I take an overhead shot I like to make sure some of my objects are falling out of the frame. I find it a subtle reminder that there is a world outside of the photo and this is simply a snapshot of what I'm up to at the moment. I also find that it adds movement and life to what may otherwise look like a stiff shot. (That being said, I've seen beautiful flat lays where are all objects are centered and organized inside the frame)
3. Including a part of you
As you may have noticed, Instagram is all about those hands and feet. At first I thought that this was some creepy fetish we were all secretly into, that IG had zoned in on, but now I realize that adding a part of you to your shot is much more than that. Adding yourself to the photo shows that this is not a stagnant, staged photo shoot but a slice of your maker life. And let's face it, most of us makers make alone. So adding your hand to a shot is almost like taking a selfie of your making process-- very personal!
4. Find your style and do you!
This tip extends not only to flay lay shots, but any shot you ever take: you do you! Do you love working with color? Do you have a textured blanket you always curl up with while you knit? My biggest tip is pick a couple of your favorite backgrounds and stick to them. This will make your feed look consistent and give everyone a true sense of who you are and what your work space and life is like. At the same time, don't let this hold you back from taking a great shot while you're out and about doing something amazing with your day!
5. Make it Personal
This is very similar to tip #4, but perhaps the most important tip of it all: make it personal. Why is there a cup of coffee in this shot? Are you wearing your favorite sweater? Did your pet make a surprise appearance? Including a short message about why you have chosen to include such details in this particular shot will bring your photo to life. Some of the best flat lays I've seen are not the best photos ever taken, but instead, are photos that I simplistically and truly connect with.
Did this inspire you to pick up your iphone and get snapping? Tag #OMLflatlay on @ourmakerlife IG so we can see all the amazing ways you are using these tips - you just might have the next great flat lay that we'll feature!
Alison, OML dream team
Alison is the knitter behind @la.reserve.design She has always loved making things with her own two hands and the idea of turning strands of yarn into warm, wearable garments gets her itching to pick up her needles. With a background in textile design she currently works as a design assistant for a menswear company in Montreal, Canada. Her favorite thing to knit is warm chunky blankets made of cozy, thick wool.