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How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

May 16, 2018
How to Create the Perfect Flatlay
(This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it HERE.)

Have you seen some beautiful flatlays and think to yourself, how do they do that? I honestly LOVE putting together a good flatlay, and it’s surprisingly easier than you think! Most flatlays you see may appear to be just a quick snap taken of gorgeous items that fell perfectly in place, but in reality, it’s all completely staged. I definitely have a few tricks up my sleeve for mastering the perfect flatlay, and I am excited to share them with you!

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

See it on Instagram Here

1. Get Inspired by Other Flatlays 

First thing’s first! For anything creative-related it’s important to do a bit of research and find out what inspires you. What’s your own personal style? What do you lean towards liking?

Do you like a more minimalistic flatlay style with very few props? Or do you like having a very busy flatlay with a lot of layers and dimensions? Do you like having hands and feet in your flatlay?

These are just a few things that you might want to think about that’ll help you in creating the perfect flatlay that suits your personal tastes. For some inspiration, I suggest going to Instagram and searching #flatlay or #flatlayforever for some great options!

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

2. Backgrounds

When I first wanted to start creating flatlays, I was a bit disheartened because didn’t have a white desk or beautiful, marble countertops to work with. If this is you then don’t worry, you absolutely do not need it!

One of the best flatlay hacks is to buy props to use as your background. If you don’t have a white desk, use a white poster board. No marble countertops? No problem! Buy a marble slab or adhesive to use as a backdrop.

You can even get creative and use your surroundings. Maybe you could use a mosaic tile in a coffee shop or the red brick on your front steps. Start looking around and see what you can work with and try it out.

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

The background used in this photo is a white bedspread. See it on Instagram Here

Here’s a list of my favorite background props: (and where you can buy it!)

3. Think About Colors

Do you have a particular color-scheme for your Instagram or flatlay idea? If you do, you’ll want to think about this as you’re planning out your flatlay. If you like to have a bright-airy feel to your photos, then maybe sticking to a white background is best.

Flatlay-Valentine's-Day - How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

For this flatlay I used a lot of pinks and reds for Valentine’s Day – See it on Instagram Here

For my flatlays, I typically use a mix of both a white and wooden background. Then I like to spice up my photo with colorful props. Often times you’ll notice I add props that are pink and green to give the photo more life. Which brings me to my next point, let’s talk props!

4. Props

Props are really going to make the biggest difference for making your flatlay photos pop! Think about what you already own. Do you have anything that you think could work? I recommend going through your home and making a mental list of what you think could look cute for your flatylay.

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

See it on Instagram Here

To help you out, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite flatlay props for you!

My Favorite Hats

My Favorite Pillows

My Favorite Coffee Cups

(I looooove using coffee or tea in my photos for a cozier feel)

5. Have a Focus

The rules of composition are still important, even when taking a flatlay. Focus points are important because it tells the viewer what to pay attention to in the photo. Even in a flatlay (where often times there seems to be a lot going on) you’ll find that typically there is a focus point.

For the majority of my photos, the printables are where I want your focus to be. Even though I also might have my legs in the photo, or am holding a cup of coffee, the print is still the focus. Everything else around it is just an added accessory to make the photo more beautiful and eye-catching.

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

See it on Instagram Here

6. It’s All About the Layers

Now that you have your background and your props, let’s put it all together! You might be surprised by how many layers I actually create in my flatlays.

Let’s take a look at the below photo as an example. Do you notice how many layers are actually in this photo? The background is a natural wood floor, then at the top I have a Moroccan rug with a hat on top. Off to the left I have a gold makeup tray with a plant and flower on it. Then I have a white fluffy rug casually laying on top of the golden tray. And to add a hint of pink to the photo, I am sitting on a pink rug.

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

See it on Instagram Here

Not every photo needs to be this complex, but I love it because I find it adds a lot of dimension and intrigue to the photo.

7. Perfectly Imperfect Arrangements

A trick to creating the perfect flatlay is you want to arrange it perfectly imperfect. Let’s say you have a flatlay of your purse, shoes, and blouse. You want it to look like you effortlessly just laid it on your bed and it landed in this “picture-perfect” position. No one needs to know you spent the last 30 minutes styling it. 🙂

Tips for achieving this look is to make the purse strap a bit drapey instead of straight and stiff. Instead of perfectly folding your blouse, make it a bit loose and flowy.

In my flatlay below, you’ll notice my print isn’t perfect straight, but instead is a bit crooked as if I just tossed it there. The same goes with my slippers. My feet aren’t perfectly even, instead one foot is higher than the other to make it look more natural. You’ll find that small touches like this will take your flatlay from average to excellent.

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

See it on Instagram Here

8. Lighting

Okay guys, thanks for hanging in there with me! 🙂 We have finally come to the last point, lighting. You might have heard this before, and if so, I am going to tell you one more time. Lighting is crucial. Good verse bad lighting can make or break your photo. I always take my flatlays during the day next to a large window that offers plenty of natural light.

If you can’t get enough natural light in your home, you may want to invest in a light ring to brighten up your photos. This light ring is very popular, but this one would be better if you’re willing to make the investment. 

The rules are different if you take your flatlay outside, however. When taking photos outside it’s best to shoot with softer lighting as to avoid the harsh light and shadows on your products. If you are taking your flatlay outside, I would recommend taking it on an overcast day, at sunrise/sunset, or in the shade.

How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

See it on Instagram Here

And that’s a wrap! I am excited to see what kind of flatlays you create! Feel free to follow and tag me on Instagram so I can check them out! 🙂

What are your tips to creating the perfect flatlay? I would love to know in the comments below!

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How to Create the Perfect Flatlay

TIFFANY NICOLE

Tiffany created Lavender Vines as a place to share her love for Jesus and adventures from around the world. She has a slight obsession with salted caramel lattes, Japanese kimonos, and an ongoing love affair with NYC and Paris.

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