Knolling photography has been used by graphic designers to create visual imagery and represent brands for over three decades.
Knolling has also been called flat lay photography. Although the term sounds mysterious, it is really a very popular and familiar top-down photography that you will be very familiar with.
As a popular design technique, knolling photography has shaped a familiar design aesthetic.
What is knolling photography?
Knolling is photography from above. It involves arranging objects at 90 degree angles, and then capturing them using top down photography.
Knolling photography creates a very balanced and symmetrical aesthetic. The overhead perspective allows people to see a range of different objects in one photograph.
Many photographs which use knolling highlight their objects against a solid background. This makes each object easy to identify, and highlights them as the most vital part of an image.
Tips and Tricks for Knolling Photography
Choose your colors
Before taking an overhead photograph, it helps to choose 2 or 3 colors to connect your objects or image. You can use these colors to create a unified theme for your top down photos.
Allow your colors to stand out against a neutral background. Depending on the aesthetic, this could be a white or black studio wall. You could also use a surface texture such as a wooden countertop or concrete floor.
If you are going for a raw aesthetic, earth, cracked concrete or even a pavement could work well. Use knolling photography to tell a story
When you group your images together, you’ll be connecting them into a larger story. The story or connection should be told by what you select and how you display your objects.
Your story could be as simple as coffee, dips, fruit, cheese and bagels for a “Sunday Lunch” or as creative as the items you gathered up from a thrift store.
Your goal is to combine your items in a way which tells a story. The whole should stand out as more than simply the sum of its parts. Your items should tell a story.
Experiment with Empty Space
When you shoot your overhead photo, many photographers choose to focus on one item which stands out from the crowd.
This item, be it a large coffee pot, or a colorful butter dish, is often the largest item and will stand at the center of the story, grounding the image.
However, you don’t only need to use your objects to ground your image. You can also use white space to tell a story. This can often be an intriguing way of allowing your story to emerge, making it far more interesting.
When creating a composition, it is often more visually pleasing to use the rule of odds. This rule states that when a setting is composed using uneven numbers, it automatically becomes more interesting.
When creating your composition, you could choose your statement object, and then balance it with the surrounding pieces.
By allowing your statement object to stand out and then using symmetry to balance the remaining objects, you will create a visually appealing image.
Use Natural Lighting
Knolling photography works best when you use soft, natural light. This light must be able to illuminate your image, but not so stark that it drowns out the soft, subtle colors in your composition.
A high powered lamp might brighten your image, but it will often drown out the subtleties. Instead of using studio lighting, raise your light saturation during the editing process.
Morning light is the perfect time for knolling photography. With the sun not yet out in full force, the lighting will be soft and gentle. A cloudy day will give you a soft, neutral light.
Edit your overhead product photography
Once you’ve taken the overhead, it is time to edit your photos. This will help you to produce finished off results.
You can use filters to increase the detail of your laying down photography. You can highlight your colors and even alter the background of your photos to make them look more interesting or intriguing.
Once you have brightened your photos, adjusted the contrast or helped your colors pop, it’s time to release the images. Your viewers will see stories within the images which will help the objects appeal to them.
Examples of Knolling Photography
Once you learn how to take overhead photos, you will find them very inspiring. The portraits or patterns created often show the beauty or appeal of objects we use every day.
Knolling photography is really an art form. Master photographers can give ordinary items an extraordinary appeal.
Here are some great examples:
Strat Knolling By Electricized.Com
Did you know that an electric guitar could be taken apart and given an outstanding visual appeal?
It can when knolling photography is carried out by a master.
90 Degrees By Minimallyminimal.Com
Can medical equipment make a great photo? It can with overhead product photography.
You’ll also see Apple products arranged on a clean white table, showing the beauty and style of their designs.
The Art Of Clean Up By Geri Born
This overhead photo is actually a book cover.
Written by a Swiss artist, this book, The Art of Clean Up shows us how beautiful and orderly everyday items can be.
Herbs By Tobias Bergdahl
Top down photos which include plants can be highly attractive.
Yes, herbs also make great objects in these overhead pictures.
Carry-On Essentials By Jeff Sheldon
This highly attractive example of knolling photography shows essentials for a trip to Norway.
All of the items have been carefully arranged according to size.
Apple Store ByIFun.De
If you love knolling, then you’ll love how it has been used in this image.
It shows the beauty and aesthetic value of the objects it captures while inviting the viewer’s awe.
What’s In My Bag By Stuart
Stuart’s satchel is filled with highly intriguing objects, as this overhead photo shows you. You’ll love how this knolled image shows a range of colors to brighten up your day.
Neatly Organized Shot By David Weir
This image uses laying down photography to show you how attractive neatly organized possessions can be. The calico material used in the image provides a clean and natural aesthetic.
Sandwich Food Design Knoll By Nicholas Aufiero
Food has long been used by artists to depict the beauty of everyday scenes. This is no different in this knolled image of sandwiches.
This arrangement is both aesthetically pleasing and hunger invoking.
Ending thoughts on knolling photography
What makes knolling photography so attractive? As we see from the images above, it is how overhead pictures are arranged to tell a story.
Everyday objects, such as food, the contents of a suitcase, or a traveler’s journal become highly appealing when arranged in a specific order.
We hope this article has shown you how to take overhead photos which truly stand out. If you’ve been inspired to start knolling, go ahead!
Arrange your photos with precision and keep practicing until you enjoy the awesome results.
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Source : Design your way