How to Flatlay Like a Pro.

September 4, 2017

Milkbar Digital - How to flatlay like a pro

Want to flatlay like a pro? This popular style of social media photography is used widely across Instagram and Facebook, and in today’s blog post, we’re going to teach you a couple of basic tips and tricks to lift your flatlay game.

1. Consider your lighting

Nothing ruins a flatlay more than a bad shadow cast by your arm, phone or camera. Make sure you consider your lighting before you set up a shot. We like to set up lighting gear, however if this isn’t accessible to you, aim for shooting in soft daylight (too much sun can be a pest with shadows!). We also try to avoid shooting late at night when there’s no natural light left, unless we have our proper lighting gear with us.


{Shot by Milkbar Digital for Flowers Across Australia}

2. Think about your props

The smaller the product is to shoot, the easier. That’s why it’s a no brainer for cosmetics, bags, accessories, and even food! These are all easier to shoot, because they’re physically small in size, and you’re able to pack in a lot of additional props to help ‘style’ the shot. Some of our go-to props include handbag essentials, fresh flowers, ingredients used in the products we’re shooting, and desk essentials (such as a diary, notebook, pens, etc).

3. Colour block it

Consider the colours in your product, and think about the overall colour scheme you’re trying to achieve. We also like to consider our overall Instagram aesthetic – are we trying to feature our logo colours heavily in the feed? Are we trying to aim for a beautiful and feminine pastel look? This can heavily influence the choice of styling props being used. If you’re unsure, try to stick to a single colour palette (such as many shades of blue, or black and white) or just a few different colours. Alternatively, we have seen jaw-dropping flatlays that are as colourful as the rainbow!


{Shot by Milkbar Digital for Teeny Tiny Stevies}

4. Invest in some backdrops

From popping down to a hardware store and picking up some plywood boards, to simply purchasing a wide variety of coloured poster cardboard – the backdrop options are endless, and don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Think about your long-term vision for how you’d like your social account to look, and have some easy portable backdrops on hand – it’s a simple and cost-effective way to look instantly more professional.  You can even use adhesive contact sheets for a more textured look!


{Shot by Milkbar Digital for Healthy Hipster}

5. Choose your editing tools wisely

You don’t need to be a Lightroom or Photoshop expert to have an incredible looking Instagram account (though it certainly helps!). Make the most of the amazing range of mobile apps out there, that can help take your standard looking phone snap to the next level with some simple tweaking and colour grading. We love Snapseed and VSCOCam!

6. Be inspired

Check out some of the hashtags like #flatlayoftheday #flatlay on Instagram to see what other creative ideas people and brands are using. There are also plenty of Instagram accounts dedicated entirely to the art of the flatlay! The inspiration truly is endless.

So do you have any extra tips or tricks for taking amazing flatlay photos? Feel free to share them below in our comments section.

If you want to take your social media photography and content to the next level, be sure to get in touch. Milkbar Digital is a Melbourne social media and digital marketing agency here to help small businesses.

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