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Ever scroll through Instagram and happen upon one of those super-satisfying shots of food or products artfully arranged on a flat surface and shot from above? That’s called a flatlay, and it’s an Instagram fan favorite. Flatlays can highlight a product, capture an experience or moment in time, or tell a story about your brand. Incorporating flatlays into your grid is a surefire way to earn double-taps and engagement from your followers, but there’s a science to getting them just right.
In this post, we’ll share our best magic tricks for creating well-styled flatlays that will stop social media scrollers in their tracks.
1. Find Your Focus
Decide what you want your flatlay to accomplish. Is your goal to drive sales by showcasing your company’s latest gadget? Or do you want to show customers how to use your product or service with a cool lifestyle image? Maybe you just want to highlight the latte art at your favorite local coffee shop!
Find the subject you want to focus on and make it the starting point of your flatlay design. This is called your ‘hero’ piece, and everything else you include in the photo are the supportive backup singers that help it shine.
2. Pick A Theme
Your flatlay should reflect your brand and personality, so think like an editor and pick a cohesive theme to tie it all together. Is your vibe fun and colorful, modern and minimalist, or earthy and organic? Choose all of your elements -- from the background to color scheme and props -- based on that theme.
If your brand is fun and family-focused, use bold pops of color and sweet treats as props. If you prefer a modern aesthetic, stick to a neutral palette with metallic accents. Earthy and organic? Bring a plant to the party!
3. Back It Up
You can’t go wrong with a clean, neutral background. It’s easy on the eyes and lets your hero piece ‘pop’ with minimal distraction. Marble countertops, wood tabletops or floors, butcher blocks, white poster board, neutral wrapping paper, and light-colored squares of scrapbooking paper are all great background options for your flatlay designs.
Pick a background that works well with your theme. Wood and natural textiles work great for earthy vibes, while white marble is a minimalist go-to.
Tip: Don’t have Instagram-worthy marble counters? No worries! Take a trip to the hardware store and buy a large marble tile from the flooring department.
4. Get Creative
This is the fun part: arranging all of your elements into an engaging flatlay design. The styling possibilities are endless, but if you’re just starting out, less is more. Just remember to place your hero piece front-and-center in your layout, and layer in other props.
Here are a few of our favorites:
To get the signature 'bird's-eye-view', stand directly above your flatlay setup and shoot straight down.
5. Play With Filters
You’re not done yet! Flatlays really shine with a bright, clean filter. Check out this post for our favorite user-friendly iOS photo editing apps that will take your flatlay images to the next level.