Flat lay photography inspiration infographic alongside ShootDotEdit logo
Has a bride ever asked for your suggestion on what props she should include in her wedding flat lays? Or, did a couple bring in a bunch of wedding details that they wanted you to photograph to include them in their album? If so, you might already be aware that what they’re asking you for is flat lay photography. However, if you are not familiar with this style of photography, let’s break it down for you. Think of it as still life photography, only that in this case, the objects are arranged in a visually pleasing style on a flat surface and photographed from above. The focus is on cutting out the distractions and enhancing the aesthetics to make the image look appealing and attractive. These details could include invitation suites, save-the-date cards, wedding rings, any other jewelry, items of sentimental value, getting-ready elements such as perfumes, tiaras, cufflinks, or even decor items. Now, if you are wondering how to photograph perfect flat lays and still make them look different and unique each time, we’ve shared a few tips for you and some flat lay photography inspiration from ShootDotEdit customers. 

Tips & Inspiration To Ace Flat Lay Photography

1. Know The Why

Infographic stating get a clear understanding of the story you want to tell through your flat lay photography

The foremost thing you need to know before you compose a flat lay shot is why you’re creating this image in the first place. Want to bring out the beauty of the exquisite wedding ring or highlight the bride’s sparkling accessories? Or maybe capture the groom’s engraved cufflinks? Consider getting some clarity on whether the image is going to be included in your couple’s wedding album or just posted on social media for marketing. If you want your images to be in sync with the rest of the wedding photos, we suggest you talk to your couple and get information about the wedding theme, decor, and color palette that they’ll be using. Ask your couples about their wedding vision to get a clear understanding of the story you want to tell through your flat lay photography.

Related Read: 3 Tricks To Tell A Story With Your Images

2. Find A Great Background

A tabletop, a bed, the floor, a window sill, a leaf, a letter, or any other unique surface that matches your creative vision can act as a background for you to create your flat lays. This is something that will set the tone and add definition to the objects you choose for the shoot. Make sure your background is clean and free of any unflattering spots. You may pick a simple, non-distractive, and elegant surface or anything else that goes with your couple’s personality and the wedding theme. While some photographers believe in choosing plain backgrounds to highlight the arranged objects, others are open to experimenting with different patterns, shades, and colors, just like ShootDotEdit customer Nick Arvold of Narvold Photography. Nick created this incredible flat lay image of the groom’s accessories against a gorgeous and rich wooden background that seems to seamlessly blend with the groom’s watch. Just the right elements to render those manly undertones to the image!

3. Arrange Your Items With Props

A close up shot of a watch, belt, shoes, a ring, and a tie placed on top of a wooden table
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @narvoldphotography

Once you are clear about the effect you want to achieve and have chosen the background you think will best complement your vision, it is now time to arrange your items on the surface in an artistic fashion. You could simply follow the rule of thirds or the rule of odds to place your objects. Avoid creating harsh lines while arranging your items and bring in props to add an element of interest to your flat lays. This will also make your images look more natural and dynamic than dull and made-up. Think of florals, decor items, fabrics, or pieces of paper as props while planning your flat lay photography. Even the simplest of props such as ring boxes can help you create impressive flat lay images just like our customer Brandi Allyse Salerno of Brandi Allyse Photo did. Check out how beautiful that emerald green ribbon looks against the intricate lacework and those dazzling pieces of jewelry. Great image to get ideas and draw inspiration from!

4. Get The Right Light

A close up shot of a wedding ring, bride's sandals, and other bridal accessories
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @brandiallysephoto

You may set up your flat lay near a window or a door to get an ample amount of natural light, but ensure that it isn’t too blinding – because harsh light can create unwanted shadows, resulting in poor quality images. Spotty light can have the same effect and spoil your photos. Subtle shadows may look beautiful though. So, if you do not find a source of natural light, you can create the desired effect by adding artificial lighting to your compositions. This will help you capture your couple’s something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue in the most perfect way possible. For inspiration, take a look at this lovely image of the wedding rings photographed by ShootDotEdit customer Joseph McFetridge of Love by Joe Mac. A great combination of amazing lighting and unique background. At a wedding, if your couple has already read the letters they exchanged, you could even use them as backgrounds for your flat lays for that lovely personal touch to the image!

Related Read: Hard Light Vs Soft Light: Understanding Wedding Lighting

5. Experiment With Angles & Add Dimension To Your Flat Lays

A close up shot of three wedding rings
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @lovebyjoemac

Now, how do you ensure that your flat lay style of photography doesn’t really, well, fall flat? Did we confuse you? Don’t be! What we are simply trying to say here is that just because flat lays require you to mostly shoot from above, you don’t need to feel restricted by this condition. Instead, feel free to play with interesting angles and try to infuse fresh perspectives and dimensions to your images when photographing flat lays. You could either place everything much below your own height to get a good bird’s-eye view when taking the photos, or – if you feel the need – consider taking the help of a stool or chair to get the right angle from above. Also, change your position and photograph the arrangement from other angles so that you can pick the best one later. To ensure that your objects do not look absolutely flat, you can use risers such as makeup boxes, sponge pads, lens caps, or folded handkerchiefs to add some volume and body to the elements used. That will help you make your image look dynamic and add some dimension to your overall composition while working with flat lay photography style.

Suggested Read: Wedding Photo Ideas: Inspiration From ShootDotEdit Customers

Infographic stating try out interesting angles and use risers for attractive wedding flat lays

Remember that flat lay photography is all about telling a story through backgrounds, objects, play of colors, and arrangements – without using a model. So when you select your flat lay background or the elements and props to place against the surface, make sure that everything comes together as an organic whole that matches your couple’s style and your vision. Gaining immense popularity over the past few years, this photography style is used not just for wedding albums but also on social media by photographers as teasers to weddings and even for brand marketing. With so many benefits to creating wedding flat lays, we’d recommend that you experiment with the technique with a mix of backgrounds and elements. And if you need inspiration, you could always refer to the tips and images we shared here to create some captivating flat lay shots.

Further Read: Unique Close Cropping Inspiration + Tips From ShootDotEdit Customers

At ShootDotEdit, we love sharing photography tips and stunning images created by our customers that can inspire and help you grow as a wedding photographer. What we also love doing is to help you build your wedding photography brand and meet your business needs. And we do that by providing professional photo editing services to bring down your post-production workload. To learn more about how we can help you, check out our pricing plans.

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