I thought I’d take a stab at a popular sub-genre of still life photography, the flat lay. This is the method of photographing a carefully arranged collection of themed objects from directly above in order to tell a story.
The theme I chose for this composition, ‘Moody Blue’, was a single unifying colour. I began by making a list of possible props in blue, and from that list I pulled several of my favourite writing and journalling supplies.
A plain background works best for flat lays, as a busy, patterned background is too distracting. I chose black because the dark blue seemed broody; had I chosen a light one (which I think I might have preferred), the effect would have been entirely different.
Even though most blogging platforms favour horizontal images, I decided on a square-ish layout for this composition. (Pinterest likes vertical oblongs, and Instagram – famous for its flat lays – supports square designs best.)
I laid my objects from the outer “frame” inward, although another method is to place one or two key objects in prominent positions within the design to make them really stand out. Flat lay composition benefits from the Rule of Thirds, i.e. dividing the space into an imaginary grid of nine equal parts using two horizontal and two vertical lines, and placing objects of interest along the lines or intersections. Setting the camera on grid view is a helpful way of keeping everything on track.
This is just my first attempt at a flat lay; I hope to experiment with more, learning as I go.