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How to Take the Perfect Flat Lay Picture

Gorgeous boots, perfectly laid dresses, colorful flowers, minimalist watches and sparkly accessories—sounds like your typical Instagram flat lay photo, right? Well, you might not know the term flat lay yet, but you’ve definitely seen them everywhere!
Here’s an example:


Now you’re excited about creating your own flat lays, aren’t you?! Lucky for you, we’ve got this covered.

You can achieve the perfect flat lay picture by using the following tips:

1. Lighting

Lighting is possibly the most important part of taking the perfect flat lay picture. Setup your scene near a big window where natural light will shine through. If you cannot use natural light, the best light is a soft, overhead light that’s bright enough to illuminate your image, but doesn’t blow out the lighter colors. Don’t forget to position yourself in a way that avoids lurking shadows.

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2. Background

A white background works best as colorful backgrounds can sometimes drown out the items you are trying to highlight. Although latest trends are showing a combination of background and foreground colors that compliment each other. If you don’t want to go for the same old solid white backgrounds, try using wallpaper, wooden floorboards or bed covers.

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3. Use Blu Tack

Tack down the items that have a tendency to roll away, e.g. lipstick, mascara, pens, pencils.

by @phoebesoup

A photo posted by Flatlays (@flatlays) on

4. Make it pretty

This technique is quite the art form. To take the perfect flat play you will need to think carefully about what products you want to include and where you want to position them. Positioning the items is the longest process and can take many different attempts to get right. Don’t use too many colorful items, or things that clash. Think about negative space, sometimes less is more and sometimes more is less! It helps to choose 2-3 unifying colors and, if necessary, branch out from there.

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5. Square format

Remember that Instagram uses a square format for photos, so you may want to set up your items in a square (or, if you have an iPhone, select the Square option).
Although, if you haven’t taken a square photo, don’t panic, because you can download a range of free apps that add a white border to your rectangle photo to make it square. Or just crop until you’re happy with the result.

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6. Camera

Today, it seems, smartphones are sometimes just as good as DSLR’s for taking great photos. But if you want to go one up, you can use an actual camera. If taking pictures on an iPhone, you can hold and select the space in the photo to lock the focus in place so you can move your camera around without having to re-focus your screen.

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7. Props

Use what’s around you, but keep in mind your color palette and style! Add a special touch to your photos by using flowers, candles, prints, a MacBook or magazines.

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8. Get flat lay inspiration

Search the hashtag #flatlays on Instagram and follow the profiles that you like. You can take inspiration from a range of profiles and create your own flat lay combining these looks with your own style. But watch out – you might end up addicted, or disappointed that you cannot achieve flat lay greatness – but fear not, practice makes perfect!

Julie Skellar

Julie Skellar

author
When I'm not being a social butterfly, you can bet I'm being a social media bug!
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