Get inspired!

Visuals play a huge factor in the success of creating a brand experience and making a sale, especially in today’s hyper-competitive market. With the world rapidly changing and becoming more competitive and brands popping out left and right, engaging content becomes even more vital.

We’re here to help! Our expert team and stylists are on-hand to create incredible content to enhance customer engagement, help drive traffic and increase sales for your brand. We recently took some time to play with our Horizontal Machine. We pushed boundaries, tried new ideas and have collated all of this advice into one easy step-by-step guide! 

This is what we came up with…

1. Backgrounds

The backgrounds of your flat lays will determine different settings, scenarios and moods. Rather than being limited to a white background or clear cut, experiment with different textures, materials and coloured card.

Nothing screams summer more than the beach! To create the illusion of the beach, we placed a drop sheet over the horizontal machine and covered it with sand. Another way to do this is to drop a couple of towels in the background. This makes it look like you’re sitting on a towel at the beach. Accessorise with fresh fruit, swimwear and other beach props.

Paper is another easy way to add colour to your images, or to emphasise particular colours within the garment you are focusing on. Simply add a single colour into the background, or multiple sheets to create a more layered, diagonal effect. To take it to the next level, you can cut different shapes and edges as seen in the image above. For this image, we elevated the paper to create a shadow over the top of the shirt. This gives the illusion of depth and layers.

Make sure you take advantage of the machine’s ability to instantly clear cut your images. Simply shoot a composition directly onto the table and export it off as a PNG to get an image with a transparent background. Use online free resources, or personal images to drop in your own background in post production. 

2. Props

Props are the perfect way to fill gaps between products or items you want to show off. They are also a great way of emphasising the theme, colour scheme or your brand identity. When prop sourcing for this particular shoot, we got into the headspace of someone who was travelling to the beach. We considered “what makes sense for a beach day?”. Sunglasses? Yes. Hats? Yes. Beach Bags? Yes. Stilettos? No. Carefully consider the genre or category that your flat lay falls into and ensure you select props that sit in that. For even more texture and visual interest, you can add natural elements such as fresh fruit, greenery and other natural elements. 

Tip: Keep a prop box at the office. As you see relevant props, collect them and place them in the box. As you throw flat lays together you always have something to use. You can also use items from around the studio or office such as books, stationary and cutlery to make your images more relatable. 

3. Colour

Colour is a vital consideration for your flat lays. People engage in images when there is a colour theme involved or when they subconsciously notice that you have matched items together based on colour, because it appears aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

To make your flat lay look more cohesive, choose items that have complimentary colour tones. If you are unsure where to start, a good option is to go with a monochromatic look. Stick with one dominant colour like the orange image above. 

4. Outfits & Collections

Outfit flat lays are a good way to show your consumers how to style your products, and what you could pair particular pieces with. It’s inspirational and helps to upsell.

Before you lay the items out, you need to consider whether you want a clean and organised approach or an effortlessly casual look. For an organised look, you would arrange your items in a linear, grid-like fashion. For a more casual approach, arrange them as if they have just landed that way. You can even throw them onto the table. Both options work, it just depends on how you want your brand to be perceived… 

5. GIFs

Simple movements and GIF animations will give your content an edge. This is especially important when you consider that Instagram and Facebook are favouring video more and more.  To create moving images, simply capture a series of still images and edit them together in Photoshop or an online website resource. This can be done with two images, or with hundreds.

Note: You can’t upload animated GIFs to Instagram, but there are smartphone apps that will convert your images to video files, or you can drop your images into Windows Movie Maker or iMovie to edit your animation and then export it to the right format.