Well, today I’m going to share with you all the tips you need to take your flat lay photography tips to the next level! This is the ultimate guide to flat lay photography setup.
How to Make Flatlays on Instagram
No. 1: Choose your Subject
What’s the highlight of the picture? Want to show off a new pair of shoes you got? Necklace? Loving stripes right now? Choose something to focus on and build an outfit around that item. I am a sucker for stripes and pink (hi this whole blog design) so I wanted to focus on keeping the picture simple (since stripes are busy enough) by not crowding it with too many accessories. To me, the top picture looks better than the second picture because it’s not overdone with the addition of the cross-body purse.
No. 02: Balance is Key
Make sure that you balance out large items with more dainty items so you don’t end up with a bundled mess. This green Madewell jacket is actually pretty boxy when laid down, so I tucked the sides into the waist (to give it a more hourglass shape as how it fits on my body) and paired it with a white mini skirt to make it more summer friendly.
No. 03: Arrange and Re-Arrange
I rarely take just one picture when I’m doing a flat lay. Sometimes I notice the picture causes a shadowy wrinkle, others may just look disproportionate, and some I just don’t like. So to make sure I get the perfect shot, I take multiple pictures while rearranging the items in the picture. You may notice from the first and the second, I ditched the sunglasses and moved the wedges to the left side of the picture to balance out the straw tote. This created much more symmetry for the eye and is, by marketing standpoints, more appealing.
Colors can help evoke emotions, so pick a color that goes for the mood you are trying to convey. Summertime is all about blue hydrangeas (especially if you live on the East Coast), so these made the perfect statement color for the photo. To me, it screams: Totes Adorbs.
Now that Instagram lets you upload a larger photo than just Square utilize as much space as you can! It’s proven that an image that is outside of the square setting gets better engagement than one that is shot on square. You also will have more of a canvas to work with when shooting on the standard photo frame. Instagram does have a limit of only uploading a photo size that is 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels, so make sure you are uploading an image at least that large to get the right clarity while viewing it in the app.
Nature graced me with height, so I don’t typically have to stand on a stool or my tippy toes to get enough height to capture the entire shot. But if you need, make sure you get enough height between you and your subject so that the entire focal point can be in the frame. Also the further away you are, the better chances you have to adjust the straightness of the photo without compromising the picture itself.
No. 07: Only use Natural Light
Good lighting is hard to come by inside unless you’re willing to buy expensive lighting kits and setups. My favorite thing to do is take my subject outside in either early morning or later at night right before the sun is setting. Anytime between then, you can’t shoot in direct sunlight or you may get odd shadows and extreme color saturation. So if you can, plan your outfits beforehand, and then take the shots during the “golden hours”. If you still think the picture needs more “oomph” after you’ve taken it, upload it to the app “PS Express” and adjust the brightness. For free this app has been as amazing as Photoshop without uploading it to your computer! I can’t recommend it enough!
No. 08: Have a Neutral Background
The biggest game-changer I have noticed between successful flatlays and unsuccessful ones were the backgrounds they laid on. Everyone wants that perfect white background or white marble for their photos, but marble is expensive and contact paper gets messy easily. There are a ton of great background companies to choose from and you can even get creative with your background like this whitewash “wood floor” lookalike. I like using Vinyl mats because they are easy to transport. If you’re looking for certain backdrop options, check out the list below of popular backdrops.