The Comprehensive Guide to Flat-lay Clothing Photography

flat lay photography clothing

Flat-lay clothing photography has become a popular technique for capturing stylish and engaging images that showcase garments in a visually appealing way. Whether you’re an aspiring fashion influencer, a small business owner, or simply a photography enthusiast, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the necessary tools and techniques to master flat-lay clothing photography in 2023. With the right approach and attention to detail, you can create stunning visuals that captivate your audience and elevate your brand.

What Is Flat Lay Photography?

Flat lay photography is a technique that involves taking a direct shot from a bird’s-eye view. In this style, subjects are arranged carefully and with style. The term “flat lay” refers to the technique of laying items flat on a surface, such as a table or the ground, and capturing the image from directly above.

In flat-lay photography, the photographer carefully arranges various objects or elements to create an aesthetically pleasing composition. These objects can include anything from food, fashion accessories, stationery, flowers, gadgets, footwear, and more. The arrangement is usually done in a way that creates balance, symmetry, or an interesting pattern.

What Do I Need for Flat-lay Clothing Photography?

When planning to do flat lay photography to showcase your products, it’s important to set everything up properly, from the surface to the camera equipment. Achieving the best image quality requires proper lighting. To capture sharp and clear images, choosing the right camera for product photography is essential. Here’s a guide on what you need to do when shooting photos in the flat lay style:

Setting Up a Flat Work Surface

flat lay outfit photography
Setting up a flat work surface that complements your products will have a significant impact on the overall visual appeal of your images. You have several options to choose from, such as using a table, floor, backdrop, paper, or even a flat-lay photography machine. The choice of surface setup will depend on your budget and specific requirements. Here are some recommendations for setting up your flat work surface:

Table or Floor with White Backdrops:

If you’re looking for a versatile and budget-friendly option, using a table or floor with white backdrops is a great choice. This setup provides a clean and neutral background that allows your products to stand out. Additionally, it offers flexibility in terms of lighting and post-production adjustments.

Paper in Multiple Colors:

For stylish shoots, especially for social media posts or advertising, consider using multiple colors of paper as your backdrop. This adds a vibrant and eye-catching element to your compositions, allowing you to create visually engaging images. However, keep in mind that if you intend to sell your products on a shop platform, using white backdrops or paper is recommended for easier image post-production editing and consistency.

Use Tripod to Hold The Camera

To capture high-quality images, it is recommended to use a tripod when shooting from a bird’s eye view. A tripod is an essential tool for flat lay photography, providing stability and precise positioning. While it is possible to shoot without a tripod, using one allows for more comfortable and controlled shooting.

Use Tripod to Hold The Camera

By using a tripod, you can ensure that your camera remains steady and secure, resulting in sharper and clearer images. Additionally, a tripod allows you to position the camera at the desired angle and height, giving you better control over the composition and focus of your flat lay photographs.

Use High-Quality Camera

When it comes to flat-lay clothing photography, using the best camera can make a significant difference in the quality of your images. Senior photographers use reputable brands such as Canon, Sony, and Nikon Camera for product photography.

Remember, the camera you choose is a tool that empowers your creative vision and enables you to showcase your clothing products in the best possible light. So, research and choose a camera that suits your specific needs and budget, and enjoy the enhanced image quality and versatility it brings to your flat lay clothing photography endeavors.

Setup Proper Lighting

Setup Proper Lighting

The perfect shot depends on the lighting setup. Even with an expensive camera, achieving the best quality is not possible without proper lighting. Lighting is the most crucial aspect of product photography. To achieve professional results, it is recommended to use at least three lights:

Key light

The key light serves as the primary light source and is positioned directly in front of the subject, typically from the front right or front left. It illuminates the subject and defines its shape and details.

Fill light

The fill light acts as the secondary light source and helps to fill in the shadows created by the key light. It ensures even illumination across the subject, reducing harsh shadows and creating a more balanced look.


The backlight, also known as the rim light, is positioned behind the subject, highlighting its outline and separating it from the background. In flat lay photography, you can use a backlight positioned above the product to add depth and dimension to the image.

Flat-Lay Clothing Photography tips

Are you ready to start shooting flat lay photography for clothing? Here are some tips to improve the quality of your photos:

Use an Iron for Crisp Results

Use an Iron for Crisp Results

Before shooting, iron your clothes to reduce wrinkles and achieve a more presentable look. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – nobody wants to buy clothes that are wrinkled. So, make sure to iron your garments before starting your flat lay photography session.

Experiment with Different Backgrounds

Try using various backgrounds and choose colors that complement your products, especially if you plan to share the images on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook. Creating a visually appealing and eye-catching combination of colors can help your products stand out.

Invest in a High-Quality Camera and Lighting

To achieve professional results, it’s essential to use the right camera and set up proper lighting. Invest in a high-quality camera that suits your needs and learn how to utilize it effectively. Additionally, pay attention to lighting arrangements to ensure that your products are well-lit and showcase their true colors.

Avoid Over-Styling

While it’s important to arrange and style the clothing items for an aesthetically pleasing composition, be cautious not to over-style them. The goal is to present the clothes in a way that looks appealing yet relatable to potential customers. Avoid excessive folding, tucking, or arranging that may make the garments appear unnatural or unrealistic.

Edit Your Images

Once you have finished capturing your shots, take the time to edit each image individually. Remove any dust or imperfections, adjust colors, retouch if necessary, and consider replacing the background or removing unwanted objects. If you want a professional touch, you can even consider outsourcing your editing needs to a reliable clipping path company.

Are There Any Flat Lay Photography Machines Available?

Flat Lay Photography Machine
Flat Lay Photography Machine - StyleShoots Horizontal

If you have a good budget for flat-lay photography, You have the option to either buy or rent a flat-lay photography machine for faster and more professional shooting. Popular choices for flat-lay photography include the Ortery and StyleShoots Horizontal Table. Both of these machines combine advanced lighting technology, an automated turntable, and an intuitive user interface to deliver professional-grade images with incredible efficiency.

Profoto StyleShoots Horizontal offers a wide range of benefits for businesses of all sizes. It significantly speeds up the product photography process, resulting in higher productivity and faster time-to-market. By using this system, you can streamline your workflow and achieve quicker delivery of your products to the market, giving you a competitive edge.

How do I keep colours accurate during flat lay clothing photography?

Calibrite ColorChecker

Using a color calibration card is a helpful tool for keeping colors accurate during product photography. Include a gray card or ColorChecker in your setup to establish a reference point for color accuracy. By photographing the calibration card in the same lighting conditions as your product, you can ensure more precise color reproduction. During post-processing, you can use the card as a reference to adjust colors accurately and maintain consistency throughout your images.

How to Capture the Best Flat Lay Clothing Photography?

In our modern world, technology is advancing at an incredible pace. To achieve the perfect flat lay shot, you can take advantage of advanced technologies such as the StyleShoots Horizontal machine. This cutting-edge technology comes with fully set-up lighting and automated software, enabling you to capture photos with professional output and significantly increase your daily shot count. 

However, it’s important to explore other available technologies as well to find the best fit for your specific needs. By staying informed about the latest advancements, you can elevate your flat-lay clothing photography to new heights and create stunning visuals that capture attention and leave a lasting impact.

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Ariful I Evan
Hey, I’m Evan! As a professional Photo Retoucher and creative content writer, I have dedicated the majority of my career to perfecting images and crafting compelling written material. Every week, I publish new articles on Photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom to help you unlock new skills. Follow Me On Social Media Twitter Linkedin

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