How to do Floral Flat Lays
Floral flat lays can look intimidating, but they are actually quite simple. Here are a few tips to help you achieve high end flat lays with flowers.
When choosing colors for your flowers, stay in the same color family to keep it simple. If you're going with pink, you can include light pinks, medium pinks, and peaches. Stay away from whites or any other color that is too contrasting. If you're choosing white flowers, stay with whites, off-whites, and very subtle pinks. This is the easiest way to make sure the flat lay will look cohesive. (Of course, this doesn't apply to floral designers.) Adding some greens is fine, but you don't actually need to if you don't want to. In the photo below, I have some dried leaves on the left photo that match the peach/pink flowers well, and greens on the right that add a little bit of contrast to the lighter flower colors.
Arranging a floral flat lay that is pleasing to the eye requires some thought and time, so don't be afraid to take it apart if it's not working. Grouping flowers in sets of 3 is an excellent and easy way to make sure it doesn't look random or like polka dots. Group 3 of the same flower and add others around those groups. Random scattering of flowers look messy, grouping the flowers make them look designed. You can see in the photos below that there are groupings of types and colors of flowers with other flowers layered on top or below those groupings. Pay attention not just to color but also to texture and petal patterns when grouping.
PROPS WITH FLOWERS
Mixing props in with the flower arrangement can be eye-catching and balance the image out. Choose props that make sense with the flowers, like this photo below with golden butterflies made to look like they are landing on the flowers.
USING MULTIPLE COLORS
If you're advanced in floral design or want to try your hand at mixing colors say from your yard flowers, go for it and make the biggest flat lay you can! This photo below has a lot of contrasting textures and colors. It works because it's layered, colors and textures are grouped together, and there are a lot of flowers making it look like a natural garden. This doesn't work as well if the flowers are sparse. It's best to keep sparser flat lays with the same colors as mentioned above. If you're doing a large flat lay, you can get a little more varied in your flower choices.
Dried flowers are an excellent way to build a flower flat lay whenever you want. I saved these flowers in the photo below from another floral flat lay and let them dry out so I could have them to use any time I want. I decided to only use the brown dried flowers in this photo because I liked the monotone look and how it emphasized the invitations rather than what's around them. I arranged the flowers to create a frame and movement in the photo so that your eye is drawn around the photo and not just to one clump.
FLOWERS AS THE FOCUS
Flower flat lays don't always need other objects. I do a lot of flower flat lays that have nothing but the flowers or flowers with some dishes/trays to add depth because I think the photos are beautiful and I can use them for a variety of things like writing promotion words over the flowers. I also have several photos that have a floral design and a dish or blank space in the middle where I can photoshop words. I usually do these flat lays with other flat lays, for instance, the photo below with the white dish had ring boxes on it for promotional photos, and I simply took this one photo when I was done without the ring boxes so I would have it to use later for whatever I need.
WHERE TO BUY FLOWERS
Flowers are expensive, especially the prettiest ones you see all over instagram. Some of these flat lays cost me well over $100 in flowers because I bought premium flowers. I always make sure to clear a few hours when I buy this many flowers so that I can make multiple flat lays and get the maximum use out of them. I also usually photograph them the next day since some of them last, and sometimes I let them dry and continue using them. The flat lay below was photographed over 2 days as the flowers dried, they were left over from a styled shoot I did and had spent about $1,000 on flowers, so I had a lot to work with. These dried beautifully and the way they changed throughout the 2 days was fascinating, so I kept photographing them in different ways and produced an entire gallery of photos to use. I also kept many of them since ranunculus dry well.
If you want to save a little bit of money, check out your grocery stores to see what they have. Trader Joe's often has very nice flowers and are the cheapest option. You can also buy fake flowers at any craft store or keep paper flowers on hand. Both of those are expensive but will last forever, so they're a good investment. If you have a yard, look for things you can use in the spring and summer. You might be surprised at just how much you have to work with!