How To Create The Perfect Flat Lay For IG In 7 Easy Steps
Flat lays are one of the most popular image styles on Instagram — especially for brands and influencers trying to promote certain products. While they look really simple, it actually takes a lot of work to put together a successful and aesthetically-pleasing flat lay.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy step-by-step guide to walk you through creating a flat lay that really shows off your products and photography skills — and, of course, looks great on the grid.
So whether you’re an aspiring influencer or a budding brand, read on to find out everything you need to know to create the perfect flat lay for Instagram.
What is flat lay photography?
Flat lays are photos taken from a bird’s eye view, above a carefully curated collection of objects. If you spend any time scrolling through Instagram, you’re bound to come across a lot of flat lays.
When they’re put together effectively, they can make the focus product seem more engaging — and they look very appealing. They’re used for all sorts of products but work especially well for fashion and beauty products (a flat lay can detail an entire look or style in one seemingly simple image), as well as food and lifestyle content.
How to create the perfect flat lay for Instagram
A flat lay is a really simple and effective way to display items on Instagram, but it takes a bit of work to put together the perfect engaging image. These are a few tips for nailing your flat lay images.
Take inspiration from other posts
There are thousands of flat lay images on Instagram, so spend some time scrolling and find ones that really stand out to you. Consider how they’ve laid out the items, the lighting, the colours, and the focus on the image. This is a great starting point for putting together your own flat lays.
If you’re not able to find many flat lays on your own Instagram feed, you can always search the hashtags #flatlay, #flatlays or #flatlaystyle to get a feel for how flat lays work, and how you can make yours stand out.
Use a bright clear background
The focus of your flat lay should be the products that you’re showcasing, not the background that they’re on. It’s usually best to go for a really simple background that doesn’t take any attention away from the items — you want it to be a blank canvas.
Light, plain backgrounds will make your flat lay seem bright and crisp, but go for a darker background if you’re trying to focus on pale items. You want the products to contrast and stand out from the background. A wooden table or worktop can also make a good neutral background.
If you don’t have a suitable area to take a flat lay, then use a plain piece of paper or fabric and lay it down on a table.
Use natural lighting
To get the best lighting (without investing in lots of equipment), take your flat lay images during the daytime in natural light.
You don’t want direct sunlight as this will create a lot of shadows and contrast in the image. Take the photo where there’s a window on the shady side of your building so that your image is lit up without the harsh glare of direct sunlight.
Coordinate the colours
Your flat lay will be more eye-catching if it’s colour coordinated — you don’t want a mix of clashing colours that makes it seem too busy.
Try to pick the main colour from the product that you’re focusing on and then choose similar shades or one contrasting colour to go with it. Be careful that the other items in the image don’t end up drawing too much attention though.
Add different textures
Make your image stand out with a few different textures; it’ll help create more interest in the flat lay and really make it ‘pop’ on people’s Instagram feeds. Try adding in something that’s made of glass or metal, and then some fabric or fur to add more layers.
Vary the size of items
Including different-sized objects in the flat lay will also make it more engaging.
For example, if the main product is quite small then add a couple of larger items around it for contrast. Or if you’re creating a flat lay to show off a range of items, then make sure they’re not all the same size. You want diversity and range within your photo — this will help the whole image come together, and make it look more ‘thrown together’ (despite the thought that has gone into it, of course).
Consider the space
One of the most important things to remember? Don’t over clutter your flat lay.
You don’t want piles of stuff in the picture — that only confuses the focus of the image and detracts away from the image that you actually want to highlight.
Instead, leave plenty of space between the objects, and make sure that the main product or item is clearly the focal point. The beauty of most flat lays is that they look clean and neat — and you’re not going to get that if you heap lots of different items into the shot.
Whether you’re trying to improve your product images for social or you’re an influencer promoting products for a brand, follow these tips and practice your layouts, and you’ll be able to capture the perfect flat lay for Instagram in no time.