In this series, we present a look-book of authentic photographs collected by the writers and editors here at Envato Tuts+. We hope these pictures inspire new ideas, help kindle new projects, and give you a better understanding of visual communication.
Here’s a great example of a flat-lay photo. Christmas isn’t all about presents, but seeing brightly wrapped and ribboned parcels is certainly part of the experience.
Not all gifts are box shaped of course, but all in this picture are – why? From above, this works well; if the gifts had been a variety of shapes, then the image might have become a messy visual graphic. The boxes, and the neat lines they create in the gaps between them, convey a sense of order, as does the fact that the presents are neatly wrapped – we can’t see any tape or join lines; they’re hidden away underneath.
The looping bows contrast nicely with the straight lines of the boxes, and the different textures are nice too; they keep the composition from being too repetitive.
The wrapping paper is mostly themed around white, red and the taupe colour of plain parcel paper. Putting the title to one side for the moment, there’s nothing overtly Christmassy about the picture, so why do we immediately think that? The photographer has made use of the traditional red and white colours we tend to associate with Christmas, so it’s the thing that immediately leaps to mind.
For me, this image isn’t perfect. The middle, chequered box needs moving down; it’s annoyingly close to the present above it. The ribbon looped sloppily around the small white box creates disorder, and, judging by its placement (at a ‘rule of thirds’ grid intersection), that’s deliberate. Still, it makes me want to take some scissors and snip the ribbon off.
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!