What Is A Flat Lay? Photography Ideas, Equipment & Much More

If you’re part of the online world then you might have seen the word flat lay being bandied. What exactly it means? How you can jump on the flat lay bandwagon? Let’s find out.

Flat lay Overview

What is a Flat Lay?

It is a picture taken from a birds eye view. A collection of items laid out on a flat surface. Usually there will be one item that is the main focus of the shot known as the hero. All the other items in the flat lay are there to complement the hero piece.

5 Flat Lay Photography Ideas

Let’s take a look at few of the Photography Ideas

Sr. No.Photography Ideas
1.Look for Inspirations
2.Get Yourself Props
3.Pick a friendly Background
4.Include space for texts & Graphics
5.Basic Editing which will enhance the image even more

Equipments You Need For Photographing Flat Lays

Here is the list of equipment

  • Good Tripod
  • Tethering App or Cable
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Get The Right Camera Lenses

How To Edit The Photographs

Things you need to make sure you keep in mind while editing

  • Make sure you adjust the exposure
  • The Objects in the pictures needs to be sharpen
  • Enhance the Colors
  • You can either replicate or remove items

Does it have to be birds eye?

There is some debate about whether or not it should be taken from directly above. Giving the viewer a birds eye view of the collection. Generally speaking a flat lay should be taken from above. A slight angle to the shot won’t stop it from being a flat lay.

If you start straying too far from an overhead angle then it’s no longer considered a true flat lay. Although if what you’re after is an aesthetically pleasing picture then don’t let that stop you from getting the best shot you can.

How many items should there be?

Bird View

As many or as few as you like. Flat lays tend to contain at least three or four items. You can find great examples of flat lays the contain a tonne of items, and others that contain single items. There’s no hard and fast rule about the amount of items that need to be in the shot to make it a flat lay. So, long as any items that are in frame work well together that’s all that really matters.

What is the Hero?

You’ll hear people refer to the hero of a flat lay, basically it’s the main item of the shot, the one that you want the viewers eye to be drawn to. If you take an outfit flat lay your hero might be a really nice pair of shoes, and then additional items such as sunglasses, jewellery, a bag and clothes could be the complementary pieces.


While you do want your shots to have a hero piece that everything ties in with, I wouldn’t worry too much about making your hero really stand out if there’s no obvious way to do it. With an outfit post it’s likely that viewers will be drawn to different items that appeal to them most. As long as you know what the hero is and aim to complement that piece that’s the main thing.

Conclusion : what is a flat lay

While there’s no strict rule on lighting, when you look at a lot of flat lays they do use similar lighting. If you want to fit in with the crowd then even lighting that leaves your final image without shadows seems to be the in thing.

Like with the birds eye view there’s no real rules here so feel free to break the mold and light your flat lays however you want.

If you have any doubt or a question, please feel free to comment below.

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