A Closer Look at This Image
In a flat lay photo (also known as "lay flat" photo), the image is taken from directly above. This style is popular with restaurants, bloggers and reviewers, I suspect because they allow you to see each item carefully laid out in a simple and self-explanatory way. Here we'll look at why this is a great example.
When you’re shooting from above like this, one of the big hurdles is avoiding any nasty shadows, particularly the one from you and the camera! This image uses lighting very nicely. It’s a tad shadowy in the upper-right corner and down the right-hand side, which suggests it was lit from the left; probably with natural lighting; so near a window or even outside.
When you choose items for a flat lay, it’s important that they complement each other. The colours work well here, items of the same or similar colours are grouped together and the whole palette works well.
Background and Subjects
What the items are placed on shouldn’t distract from what it is you’re trying to show, so the natural wood here is a great choice, as it’s ‘rustic,’ and so in keeping with the tone, but also it balances the items rather than diverting attention from them.
The items themselves are carefully chosen. There’s harmony between liquids and solid food, between textures like smooth olives and rough breads; and even between the shapes—they’ve sliced the sausage to be round and they’ve cubed the cheese, for example.
A lot of thought has gone into how the food is set: occasionally a breadstick overlaps, there’s a blueberry on top of the cheese; but although this could be chaotic, it’s subtle enough to just tip over the edge of natural so that the image appears honest: we’re just waiting for a couple to wander in and start their picnic!
Reading a Photograph
We'd love to hear your take on this photograph, and if you're not sure where to begin, then How to Read a Photograph will get you started with how to analyse photography. Mostly, it's just saying what you see and how you feel about an image!