Let's Get Cookin'!

Anatomy of a Flatlay. A Salad. By Yourdori❤Girl Photography

This blog post idea was directly quoted from a Facebook post I wrote in one of my favorite groups that I belong to, called Sunday Society, headed by April.  You can learn more about it, if you'd like, at Blacksburgbelle I would love to see you there! 😍

So, I'm just going to get right to it. You may remember that this salad flatlay was featured a couple of days ago on Tuesday and I was thrilled how well recieved it was! So here is how my flatlay brain works. 😜

From the thought 🤔 of doing a flatlay,  the light💡bulb moment of what my intial idea was and how it progessed step by step to the very end.  Here we go!  Oh, and the photos were taken after I wrote this, as youve probaly already figured out, without knowing I was going to share them together.  So I apologize that they don't follow the step by step of the words.  Nuff said. Let's go!
It's such an added bonus when you can eat your flatlay and it tastes as good as it looks! 😊
I think the key to flatlays is experimenting and taking lots of shots and playing around with the cropping and angle. I usually work with a 2'x2' space. This gives me tons of shots within the shot.

(Oh my, I just had an idea for a shoot today! What if I did a smaller, separate flatlay, yet still relavant to the main idea, say 12"x12", within the bigger one? Like Oooooo, I'm excited! 🤗)
But I digress. 😜

I also shoot on a table and my table is on bed risers. This makes it easier to get lots of other kind of shots from my flatlay set-up when I'm done with the original shoot. If you're shooting on the floor, it's harder to be as versatile in the range of shots you can achieve.
So, for example, today I'm doing a food flatlay.  My theme is going to be salad. Here's what I think I'll do. Mind you,  this is all subject to change as I go along . . . that's just part of the process.

I think I will use 2 large tiles (18"x24") I got from Home Depot and put them together and then use a 12"x12" white marble tile for the flatlay within a flatlay. I think that will be the "table" for my place setting.  An empty plate, bowl, cutlery, cloth napkin and salt & pepper shakers & maybe a tiny vase of tiny flowers.
For the rest of the flatlay, I'm going to put many different small & tiny bowls and plates all over for the individual ingredients. I'm seeing the place setting off center and towards the bottom right of my larger tile(s). Once that's placed, I'll  just start composing the scene. (I'm totally geeking out now!😜) I'll just start filling it up now, putting it together . . . kinda like puzzle pieces.
I'll have grabbed my sewing machine chair earlier to stand on to shoot.  Sometimes in the set-up, you'll want to get pics of your ongoing process or you just think, "Hey, that looks cool". 😉

Now it's set up, sans food, but I want these shots too.  I usually take 3 or 4 all-inclusive shots and then I'll break it down into quarters or sixths depending on the size and shoot closer up.  I'll do that twice and focus on a slightly different view the second time. And then just random, if you're feeling it. 😍
I'm going to add the food now. I'll probably get out a cutting board, all the ingedients & a knife and  chop what I need to & get some shots of that as well, and then lay it out on a tray.

Now the fun part of deciding what ingredient looks cutest in what dish! (Totally geeking again!🤗) Repeat the same process as before.
Tweak as needed as you go along. Straightening a dish, brushing some lint away, using tweezers to get that sunflower seed right where you want it. I don't get too carried away with this part though, I like the handmade look as opposed to perfect lines. Most times. 😉

Now, before you even think about breaking down your shoot, make make sure you get some straight on shots an close-ups. Go ahead and restyle the set-up even! Sometimes you'll find yourself more inspired by your creativity and the ideas keep flowing and youre in "the zone"! Keep going until you're completely satisfied.
So, that's basically it.  Flatlays can be as simple or elaborate as you want. I love the versatility and inventiveness of them. Each one is like a fun game to me.  Have fun with the editing!  Zoom in, angle it crop it, off center, etc. I love this part!  (Final geek moment!😜) You are going to find some duds and some keepers and some that will knock your cute little polka dot socks off!! Now pat yourself on the back!!  Maybe frame it! ❤

Here is what I said at the end of my post in my Facebook group . . .

"I do believe I just wrote an entire blog post! I hope it helps you, guys! 😎😂"

So I did and I certainly do hope it help! Holler in the comments if you have any questions at all! 😊


1 comment

  1. Who got to eat all the fabulous food? I hope you invited some friends and enjoyed!


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Maira Gall