10 Tips For Styling a Successful Flat Lay for Instagram

Are you a photographer showcasing your workspace, a graphic designer with inspirational props, or a handbag designer demonstrating your skills?

Flaty lays are a great way to exhibit your profession through social media and website imagery. They are so much fun, but can be tricky if not done right. Follow these steps and you will thrilled with the outcome.

1. Tell a Story

When styling a flat lay, decide on what story you want to tell. Plan out a theme. Tell a story about going on a trip to California for example. If you are a boutique owner selling summer clothes, think of all the items you would wear with those clothes. A beach hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, flip flops, bathing suit, etc.

2. Work in Odd Numbers

Don’t clutter the space of your image. A rule to go by in the design world is to work in a group of odd numbers. Start with three and no more than 7 or 9 items.

3. Layer your items

Layering your items will add depth to your photos and make them come alive.

4. Declutter your background space

Make your background clean and simple. Use a white poster board for example to create a simple look. You can also use textured fabrics, wooden desk, or kitchen counter top.

5. Window Light

Once you’ve got all of your items ready to go, find your window light. Set your items in the cover-shaded area, not direct sun. The window light is like a big diffused softbox and is perfect for taking pictures.

6. Reflectors

Use a reflector to bounce light onto your subject. You can use a white poster board from the dollar store for this. No need in breaking the bank for photo props :)

7. Shoot From Above

A flat lay is photographed from above, but once you get that angle, work around your subject for more photo opportunities.

8. Keep It Real

Make your flat lays interactive. Add in a hand model demonstrating your product. For example, if you are selling sunscreen with Beauty Counter, squeeze out the sunscreen on your hands :)

9. Keep it Simple

Use negative space to simplify and impact your photograph by drawing the viewers eye directly to your subject.

10. Don’t Over Think It

Have fun and play around with several different layouts. This will help you decide which layout you like best. You shouldn’t spend more than 20 minutes on each layout. If you do, you are over thinking it.

Have fun creating! Samples of flat lay ideas are below!

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