A Beginner’s Guide to Flat Lay Photography for Product Shooting

A Beginner’s Guide to Flat Lay Photography for Product Shooting

Product photography nowadays simply can’t settle for haphazard shots that are taken from the front and back. Putting a little bit of production work may help such photographs look a lot more interesting and compelling for consumers to sink their teeth in. 

Given how essential this branch of photography is, one old but gold method has become popular once again: flat lay photography.

What Is Flat Lay Photography?

Flat lay photography is the process of taking images from a bird’s eye view. Such shots in this style have the camera’s lens directly pointing down at a particular subject, which is usually laying down flat—hence the name. 

The angle from above can create interesting photographic effects that can either give the illusion that the subject is floating mid-air or perfectly captures a flat subject, such as plated food or jewelry on a table. 

Flat lay photos do particularly well in those particular industries, but a skilled photographer can make almost anything shine with this style. 

Is It a Recent Trend?

This style has been used for years, so it wouldn’t be fair to call it a trend, as it never goes out of style. However, it has started becoming popular in the product photography scene once more because of the innovative ways that the younger generation of photographers are doing to make flat lays more interesting. 

When to Use Flat Lays for Product Shooting

Not all products need a creative flat lay product shoot either because there is no need for the “extra” factor it brings. Products such as toilet paper or cleaning supplies generally don’t need the whole production because they’re already in-demand necessities that sell themselves. 

Some products that can benefit from a creative flat lay photograph are unique artisanal products, products that belong to a competitive market (such as food), and luxury products. 

To give you an idea of how it works, here are three beginner tips to work with.

1. Make Use of Negative Space

Flat lays are not overly complicated. They are minimalistic in nature and are pleasing to the eye. However, take note that negative space is essential to give the subject a good spotlight!

Negative space refers to the background around the subject. The background can be any color of your choice, as long as it isn’t competing with your product.

2. Use Lighting to Create Focus

Light is always a key player when it comes to any kind of photography. You can use light manipulation techniques to give the subject focus. Directing natural light to artificial light can help cast a shadow on the subject to highlight it. 

3. Add Layers for More Interesting Dimensions

As quirky as it sounds, flat lays can fall into the danger of looking “too flat.” As such, add layers to the frame to fix the problem! 

One common technique is to place a piece of paper under the object. You can also put a complementing object near the camera to keep the focus on the product. 


Flat lays are fun to experiment with to create clear and creative product photos that will catch potential customers’ attention. The setup for it is not as convenient as taking pictures from the front, but it’s good to have some variety to give you options for your marketing strategy! What’s crucial is to get a photographer that can handle such shots to help you with your product photography needs.

If you want proper photographs of your products, then you’re probably looking for the best photography services near Norcross. Armitage Photography Inc. is your best bet in creating stunning photos for your social media or website. John Armitage is a professional photographer with years of experience working with notable brands across the country. Reach out to us today for an appointment!

For more information and how to book services, please reach out via email at aphoto.ja@gmail.com or via phone at 404.247.5458. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for exceptional photo inspiration as well as photography tips and tricks.

John Armitage

John Armitage is the founder of Armitage Photography, Inc. in Norcross, Georgia. He's passionate about product photography and hosting classes teaching various elements of professional photography in Lilburn and Atlanta, GA.

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