Flat Lay Photography

In this live photography workshop, now available to watch as a replay, Karl demonstrates how to take flat lay photographs using a 35mm camera and 50mm lens.

Flat lay photography is an eye catching way to get your product noticed amidst the chaos of the internet. In this class, Karl shows you how simple it is to take eye-catching images using just two studio lights.

Working through the shoot step-by-step, Karl explains his background and prop choices, his lighting setup and the best modifiers to use, as well as how you can accomplish total control over the depth of shadows.

He achieves a number of different results, with varying degrees of shadows – from totally shadowless light to strong, sharp shadows. At the end of the show, you’ll understand exactly how to achieve each result and have the confidence to try this simple setup yourself.

In this class:

  • Flat lay photography
  • Studio lighting setups for flat lay photography
  • How to compose a flat lay image
  • How to create soft light using a point light source
  • Using reflectors for product photography
  • How to photograph in small studios
  • How to reduce reflections in shiny objects
  • How to control shadows

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi Karl,

    This flat lay tutorial was very helpful. However, I am looking for advice on how to do flat lay product photography. I shoot baby items such as birth announcement signs, baby blankets, and baby clothes. It is rather difficult to find tips and inspiration for this type of thing. I love watching your tutorials, but my products need a little more “softness”. How do I balance between the picture looking professional, yet soft and inviting?

    1. Hi Marley, we have other classes on Flat Lay, one of them is no fashion accessories with a softer light look. If you use the search function at the top of our website and type in ‘flat lay’ it and others should come up.

  2. VERY interesting and fun to watch. All of it. I think I’ll watch this segment again.
    Also, and this I’ve wanted to say many times before, you are a lucky man to have such wonderful assistants. Ash in particular is a real gem.

    1. Hi Marc, thank you and glad you are enjoying the content. Yes Ash was the most meticulous and precise assistant I’ve ever worked with but unfortunately she has moved on to bigger and better things as she was a very capable young lady and I don’t think an assisting role was going to be a long term position for her I’m glad to say but it was a pleasure to work with her for a few years!

  3. Hi Karl,

    Do you have a link please for the insert pole in this video (9.38 sec) backdrop stand and Convi clamps suitable for clamping my R6 to the pole for Flat Lay.

    Thank you.

        1. Hi, yes as long as it’s rigid enough, at the end of the day anything will work as long as it can hold the camera and clamp and you can fix it between two points.

  4. Hi, in order to do as in the video I would like to know what is the name of the clamp you use to hold the camera to the bar. Before it uses a kind of screw that you put on the camera, how do I know which one to use for my camera? where can I find these things? In the webs that I have searched for photography in Spain I can’t find it.
    Many thanks,

  5. Hi Karl,

    In case you do venture into the world of Lightroom in the future, it is possible to make adjustments in the ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture and WB within the Lightroom software.

    All are adjustable in the tethering bar, left of the Exposure button.
    No need to go back to the camera.
    Happy New Year.

  6. Thank you Karl, I am a new subscriber & already feel more comfortable with using my speedlights. I usually freestyle my flatlays meaning i handhold the camera while standing on a chair which isn’t great obviously. I just dont’t have any space for anything more than my two softboxes and tripod. I could buy one of those extension “arms” for my tripod as I already invested a lot in my photography just starting out. As you always advise, I want to learn the gear I have before buying more. Would this be ok and a good substitute for the method used here? Many thanks.

    1. Hi Irena, any way you can think of getting the camera locked above the setup will make your life easier because it means you will be able to get repeatable consistent results and modify your lighting and composition accordingly until you are completely satisfied without having to get up and down on a chair (or risk falling off!) I used a pole and two stands in this but it could also have been a stiff piece of timber, other ways are to mount a detachable pole to a plate in the ceiling so that the camera is hanging from the ceiling on a pole.

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