How To | Flat Lays

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Flat lays and styling. Do those words sound daunting to you? Then you’re in the right place because I would love to share how I go about styling the photos you may have seen on my Instagram page. But first, maybe we need to actually start out by defining what in the world a flat lay even is! Essentially, it's a picture taken of a collection of items from a bird's eye view. There is often one item that is the focus while the surrounding items help frame and highlight it. Here is a short and sweet list of these must-haves for the perfect flat lay.

1. Photo location + natural lighting

This is crucial for a great photo. Try setting up near a window and then using a white poster board propped up to the side to reflect the lighting onto your products.

2. Background/Texture

This can be whatever you like but try to stay consistent in your background choices (such as marble or wood) to give your Instagram feed a cohesive look. And there are little hacks you can do such as using a faux marble wallpaper to get that classy look even when you don’t have the real thing.

3. Styling props + styling

Here is where your creativity is put to the test so start collecting and compiling all kinds of props that range in size, texture, and pops of color to compliment your color scheme. I often use ribbon, stamps, scissors, fabric, and my all- time favorite – flowers! Then you can start arranging to see what works best while framing your product.

4. Create depth

This creates interest and well, depth to your photo! Though it is called a flat lay, different levels of depth, size, and texture allow for the eye to be drawn to those elements so things don’t just blend together. This can be tricky with something as flat as a wedding invitation or RSVP card so here’s a little trick: use something like a paper clip or eraser to elevate the invite just slightly above the rest of the stationery.

5. Photo shoot time

Whether you are using a DSLR camera or your phone, try to get a bird’s eye view above your products and take a lot of different shots to get detail photos as well as the whole shot. This will give you a lot of options to choose from later when you go to edit your photo. I use Lightroom to edit my photos, usually always brightening and bringing in some contrast. I stay away from Instagram filters as I prefer to edit for the exact look that goes with my overall aesthetic.

Happy flat laying, friends.