Thursday, 7 July 2016

Fashion: Mastering Flatlays With Ciclón

mastering the art of flatlaying for fashion photography

One of the biggest challenges to me as a fashion blogger is to get my outfit pictures taken. I usually don't struggle with inspiration for putting together looks or finding new pieces that I'd like to show on Style Lingua. It is really the photography part that triggers regularly that "Oh hold on - there was something" moment and that "something" is a missing photographer. 

I've tried to get my friends and family involved and it has worked out well so far. However, not everyone is excited and enthusiastic to spend their weekends taking pictures of me and some of my friends live quite far away and aren't around all the time. A tripod can come in handy but it can take quite a while to find the right setting. To be honest, shooting in bursts and ending up with over 500 pictures to sort out afterwards isn't fun either - back to the initial problem.

So what do you do when you have decent photography equipment, a batch full of outfits planned but no photographer (boy) friend around? You learn how to master the art of flatlaying. 

Flatlays are no longer just mere "pretty" compositions created for Instagram. To me they have become a vital part when structuring and planning my fashion posts and I more and more start relying on them. I'd rather share a fashion post with a flatlay then missing out on a fashion related post due to the missing photographer dilemma.

Though flatlays can't show your readers how the garments look worn on an actual person, they have the big advantage that you can work around with the styles quickly and easily create fashion compositions in no time.

1. Background

White backgrounds are perfect for flatlays as they are light, neutral and shift the focus to your fashion pieces. White boards, flooring, panels, adhesive foil or wallpaper (available for a few £ from amazon or ebay) can help you to get the best out of your picture and create pretty flatlay results. I use either my white coffee table or IKEA Hemnes sideboard. Sometimes I also use our wooden flooring which adds character to my fashion pictures.

2016

different backgrounds for fashion images flatlay

2014

festival outfits flatlays

My first flatlay attempts, featured in my Wireless Festival and Outfits post, where actually shot on my carpet. I was fairly new to blogging and still playing around with what would work best. At the time I thought I did a good job, but looking at those flatlays now, I feel I've improved the quality of my pictures a lot. Carpet didn't work out for me too well, as I feel the structure of the carpet can't give the background that smooth finish that makes pictures aesthetically pleasing for the eye. 

2. Neat Clothes

Presentation and composition of clothes are everything. To make the flatlay picture perfect, I iron all of my clothes and make sure, they are presented in a neat and tidy way (you can't always prevent all crinkles and creases but give it at least a try!). I feel pictures with ironed clothes look more appealing and pleasing to the eye - professional rather than clumsy, as a crease shirt looks careless and messy. If you've given your best shot and the clothes still have some wrinkles, you can smooth them out slightly with your editing software. I sometimes use Picmonkey's effect "Orton" which blurres and softens the picture.

fashion photography flatlays

3. Props Such As Jewellery

Little things such as jewellery won't distract but enhance the quality of your flatlay. Not only are they part of the outfit but adding some sparkle makes the entire fashion composition more appealing and interesting. 

For today's flatlay, I've decided to use Ciclón's Four Strand Leather and Silver Murano Crystal beaded necklace*. Not only is this high quality necklace a prop for my flatlay, it is actually the key piece for my outfit. I love jewellery and when I'm on holidays, I usually don't buy the traditional souvenirs. Instead I tend to bring back a fashion piece. Unfortunately, I won't make it to Spain this summer, but this beautiful necklace is definitely an incentive to visit Ciclón's boutique and workshop in Madrid one day.

You must know that the entire jewellery collection is designed and handcrafted at the Ciclón workshops in Madrid since 1998. The used materials come locally or from Italy and are non-allergic, nickel free and silver plated. My necklace is made out of leather and Murano crystals and it is exceptionally well made. I fell in love with the style because it reflects Spain's arty influence of surrealism to me. Think Dali, Gaudi or Picasso who all worked with floating and curvy forms, some were misshaped but always represented an aesthetically pleasing dynamic and Ciclón jewellery have this element to their jewellery which makes their pieces so unique. 

fashion pictures outfit ootd flatlay
Trousers: Uniqlo (£30), Blouse: Peacocks (£18), Heels: Jane Norman (£35), Satchel: ASOS (£40), Necklace: Ciclon* (£89)

4. Angles & Perspectives

To get all parts of the look into the picture, most flatlays are shoot from the above frontal perspective. However, playing around is allowed with flatlays and you never know, you may create a great picture with a slightly different, but interesting angle. For my Moss Copenhagen flatlay, I changed the angle slightly to highlight certain elements (in this case the pyjama blouse) and half-cut out my ASOS cross-body satchel. This way, the bag only "hints" without taking away the focus from the blouse, but at the same time makes the composition interesting and engaging.

Moss Copenhagen Pyjama Blouse Flatlay Fashion Shoot

5. Interesting Outfit

Last but not least, choose an interesting outfit. If the look is boring, even the best flatlay won't change that. Stay true to your style and again, feel free to play around with your items. In my case, I went for a classy look that can easily be worn in the office or for a meal out. Red is the colour of the year and as it is a dominant colour, it is vital to keep some harmony in your look. Black always works well with red and applies a level of chic to the look. The silver beads and red elements of the necklace pick up that elegant style. A pair of heels add a feminine touch to this jeans and blouse combo.


flatlay fashion post
picture perfect flatlays

Thank you so much for reading today's post. Flatlays are not that hard but they do require a bit of practice. Play around and don't worry if all of your items don't fit into the picture. As I've mentioned, sometimes it is more interesting when certain elements only hint instead of taking focus away. How have you mastered the art of flatlaying? Do you think flatlays are a good alternative for ootds? Do you find it hard sometimes to get outfit shoots done? Any tips missing from my list? I'd also love to know if Ciclón would be a brand you'd be interested in? Let me know, I read and appreciate every comment!

Till next time,
xx CAZ xx

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