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The Flat Lay Trend and What is ‘Knolling Photography’?

I bet you’ve already seen these kinds of photos from your favorite image sharing social media namely instagram. And there’s a good chance you’ve already tried it out yourself. And blah, blah, blah. Yadda, yadda, yadda…(Man, this is a pretty weak introduction. In my defense, I’m actually a programmer and not a writter. So please bear with me. Enough with the boring intro and back to what Knolling Photography is about.)

Some people coined it as Overhead Photography, Top-View Photography, or even Flat Lay Photography. Some even interpret it, or rather misinterpret it, as mood boards. But the right term would be Knolling!

Wikipedia time! Knolling as defined by our favorite source of information:

“The term was first used in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor at Frank Gehry’s furniture fabrication shop. At the time, Gehry was designing chairs for Knoll, a company famously known for Florence Knoll’s angular furniture. Andrew would arrange any displaced tools at right angles on all surfaces, and called this routine knolling, in that the tools were arranged in right angles—similar to Knoll furniture. The result was an organized surface that allowed the user to see all objects at once.”

So basically, Knolling is the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90º angles as a method of organization. They are photographed in a flat lay position (hence Flat Lay Photography), all on one surface.

There are actually a lot more pictures that are tagged as #flatlay than of #knolling on instagram. So now that you know what it’s called, why not use #knolling or #knollingphotography on your next Knolling post?

There are a couple of ways to do it. That, we will cover in our future article. But for now, let’s take a look at some of our favorite images from our friends at instagram.






Now take out all your stuffs, grab your gears and start Knolling! And don’t forget to send as a copy.

JD Obedoza
Frustrated Graphic Artist. Frustrated Photographer. Frustrated Blogger.

19 thoughts on “The Flat Lay Trend and What is ‘Knolling Photography’?

  1. I have been trying this type of photography for a long time. I have had relative success and there still more I need to do to get the images above! Thank you for the tips!

  2. I have always wanted to try something like this but never got the courage to try it thinking I would fail…I know silly right. Maybe with a little practice, I can get mine looking this good! I will try out this knolling technique 🙂

  3. Never knew what knolling or flat lay is all about. Been taking pictures like this and I don’t know how it was call. Haha! Great to learn something from your post.

  4. I have been trying to learn more about photography. I will have to give this a try on the weekend. I am planning on spending the day taking pictures.

  5. I was at an event that was actually demonstrating a flatlay masterclass but I had no idea that it is otherwise known as Knolling. Beautiful overview!

  6. These are some really amazing pieces of art. I love the one with the candy and flip flops. I have never heard the term Knolling before but now I know. Thanks for sharing the art and the information.

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