Over the years I have tested various lighting set ups to get luminous flat-lay images with some dimension that aren't blown out or dull. Today I am sharing the set up that consistently works best for me and how to find this light nearly anywhere.
In general I like shooting indoors, and I look for a big window on the side of the house or building where the sun is starting to come through. Even the biggest window with seemingly plentiful light might fall flat if the sun is on the other side of the house at that particular time of day.
My personal go to location is in my west facing dining room in the early/mid afternoon. There is one large window (shown above to the left) and when the sun starts coming down, I get a nice soft glow. Even with a sunny day, the lighting in this spot is quite dull in the morning. I also set up my reflector (shown above on the right) to fill in the shadows.
The result is an even lit image with dimension but no harsh shadows or blown out whites.
On a dark cloudy day, this spot wouldn't provide me enough lighting, even in the afternoon. So I would move outside to a covered porch to get enough light while still achieving a similar direction of light. And if I am in a property with windows on two sides of the room, I would find a spot near at least one of the windows and maybe not use a reflector - in order to maintain some shadow dimension.
That's it! As always I am always happy to help so please feel free to contact me any time if you are struggling with a good lighting set up and I'll do my best to direct you towards a better solution.