A fashion flat lay is a popular image frequently posted on Instagram and often seen in magazines. It is a picture of a complete outfit laid out flat and photographed from above. Sounds simple I know but have you ever tried it? I can assure you it is not as simple as it looks! I worked in fashion and practiced visual merchandising for many years. So I thought I would share a few things I have learnt …
How To Create A Fabulous Fashion flat lay
Please Note: I am a neat freak, I admire a tidy fashion flat lay. You may be different, if so please adhere to, or ignore any tips as you feel fit…
You will Need:
- Your camera/phone
- A Space with Natural light; the floor by an open back door or a Conservatory is excellent.
- A sturdy chair, ladder or stool to stand on. Be safe!
- A decorative background, or an attractive floor.
- A complete outfit, and accessories.
- Some Patience, a good fashion flat lay will take time, I take mine in batches.
A Note: I am a neat freak so I do admire a tidy flat lay, you may be different, if so please adhere to, or ignore any tips as you feel fit…
Top Tip One: The Background
Keep it plain and simple and in keeping with the outfit. For instance if you are showing jeans with a casual top and shoes, a concrete floor or rough wood background is great, if you have selected a smarter outfit, then maybe you dining room table would be better. I have several of Capture by Lucy’s brilliant photographic backgrounds they are made of vinyl and roll up when not in use.
I have 5 and they are perfect for all flat lay photography not just a fashion flat lay!
Top Tip Two: The light
Always use natural light. Take your background and outfit to the lightest room in your house and set it all up as near as possible to a window. Avoid having an electric light or lamp on anywhere near your flatlay, your image will have an orange dull tinge.
Choose the right time of day. As its now winter in the UK my best time to take pics inside is during the morning.
I often use the garden table as the outside light is superb and the table has a great texture. Texture is wonderful for a fashion flat lay. Look around your house and garden and always consider the light. Open the window and move the curtains right back. Shadows are fine, they can add interest, just check they are not changing the shape of an item or dominating the lay out?
Look around your house and even the garden and always consider the light.
Top Tip Three: The Outfit.
For a fashion flat lay outfit, select everything you would wear in real life, from your shoes to your hair accessories. Details are key and will always finish off a good flatlay. For instance if you are showcasing just a dress, shoes and a bag you may have room for a perfume. People will want to imagine themselves wearing your outfit. So tell a story, suggest a mood, pick a theme, or highlight a colour.
In this outfit layout I am telling a casual story keeping it simple and just adding fragrance…
Tell a story, suggest a mood, pick a theme, highlight a colour.
Top Tip Four: The Preparation
Iron everything first! Creases that can be hardly seen in real life for some reason show up magnified on camera. Iron, fold and then iron a garment in its folded position. It really does make a difference to the finished image, it will look fresh and crisp and will give you a greater chance of being ‘re-posted’ aka regrammed!
In the image below you can just see my slipper! I’m standing on a stool to get a photo from above and you can still see the creases in the jeans…
Creases that can be hardly seen in real life for some reason show up magnified on camera.
Top Tip Five: The details
Details make or break a fashion flat lay. Do everything up! ie. zips on jeans, laces on shoes, buttons on cuffs etc. The outfit on the floor should look exactly as it would be on your body. I know its obvious but check your shoes aren’t muddy and there are no stains anywhere. See top tip four! You can keep it simple with one striking piece or add in something quirky and unexpected? Its all about the details, details, details!
This is one of my favourite jewellry shots…
Its all about the details, details, details…
Top Tip Six : The positioning
Once you have completed everything above, you are ready to position the outfit on your back ground and start snapping. All I would say here is try to make sure your own unique style shows through. You could layer shirts and blouses under jumpers and lay accessories on top, perhaps add necklace?
Diana Vreeland famously said “….the eye needs to travel” I wholeheartedly agree. Do you have a star piece? if so this is your focal point and the eye needs to travel from that point around the rest of the image. You can achieve this by subtly pointing something a sleeve or a shoe in that direction…
If you want to get a little more technical then you can follow the ‘rule of thirds’ If you are using your phone you can turn on your grid. To put it very simply it means if you line up your outfit along the grid lines it is more pleasing to the eye. I found this excellent post so if you want to know more have a read?
Diana Vreeland famously said “….the eye needs to travel”
In the image above the belt leads your eye down to the words and then the shoes takes you around and back up to the plant. It was taken outside on my garden table!
PS. Diana Vreeland also said …
Happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments below, but the best thing is just to get started and experiment and have fun!
January posts you may have missed
- Mon, 21st: Vintage Laura Ashley on Swanage Beach in January!
- Tue, 15th: Lately December 2018 6 Things Marc Made Restored & Fixed.
My New Instagram Account
You may have heard that I lost my Lazy Daisy Jones ig account and all my 15.8k friends and followers to a hacker?
So please do join me on my. You will see more pics of my favourite places in Dorset and some behind the scenes shots of our home!