Mastering the Perfect Flat Lay

master the flat lay

Flat lays are the most iconic photography style that has become popular in Instagram. Actually, selfies are still the queen of Instagram world but whenever I see a very good “and I mean very pretty” flat lay photo I feel like I am getting hypnotized to double tap…don’t deny it I know you did that too!

If you’re a total fan, I am pretty sure that once in your life you wondered how can you achieve a flat lay photo yourself …Yes? Me too!

I’ll share with you today some tips that I learned over the past months when I was figuring out this kind of style and of course, some experts that are totally killing it in Instagram and Pinterest.

FUN FACT: Instagram has dedicated an account featuring more than 35,000 amazing flat lay photos.

It all started out as a way to show off #OOTD then suddenly became an awesome journal of fashionistas, food lovers, beauty enthusiasts and travelers alike.

What should you include in a Flay lay?

flay-lay photography-tips-for-bloggers

The fixed four-by-four format is a pretty way to document your daily essentials, passport, shoes, accessories, classy smartphone, plane tickets, hiking gears, bags and the list will go on. The key here is to be as creative as much as possible.

So how can you achieve the perfect Flat lay? Read on.

Pay attention to Negative Space

Arrange you’re pieces with ample breathing room so they don’t look cluttered. Negative space keeps it clean and light. Also, you don’t have to include everything in your shot. Target to fit your pieces in a square frame that appears casual and look effortless.


Image: Shay Cochrane

Shoot from up High

It is called Flat lay for a reason. Shooting from up high makes it look great. So what if you’re shooting in a location outside of your home – like beach, car, mall and elsewhere. Bear in mind that you need enough space to arrange your pieces.

Check your surroundings for chairs, tables, open floor space (with good tiles design or wood) these will act as your vantage point for you to snap the perfect shot.

flatlay photoraphy tips
Image: Faith Kimberly

Use Photo Editing Apps

Let’s have some real talk here. Unless you’re a DSLR pro, most of us find them too complex to use and too bulky and heavy (and you’re neck will sometimes hurt). If you’re aiming for a good quality and fast capture rate you can use your smartphone to shot your flat lay.

Because you don’t always need a DSLR, your image needs to be color corrected and shadows needs to be brightened. That’s where photo editing apps come in handy.

FUN FACT: Global renowned for her flat lay, Margaret Zhang #zhangflat of Shine by Three uses Snapseed and her favorite feature is Selective Adjust.

This is where you select particular points where you would like to change the brightness, saturation, and contrast in the image. You can brighten the whites and highlight the dark areas.

Other popular editing tools are Lightroom, VSCO Cam and for more advanced photo editors, you can even get the Adobe Photoshop Express App.

flat lay photography
Image: Susanna Vento

Keep colors in the same tone

To avoid the clutter as we discussed on tips #1 it is important to keep the colors with the same tonal family. It will look neat, chic and pleasing to the eyes. You need to experiment and play around with your pieces until you find the right mix. Practice and have fun!

flat lay photography
Image: The Dieline

Want more tips?


How To: The Perfect Flat Lay Photo + Editing

Blogging 101: How to take Flat lay Photos

Tips on Taking Flat Lay Photos



How To Master The Instagram Flat Lay

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  • Love this post!! Everyday I try something new…and I still downloaded photo editing apps. Thanks for the advice!!

  • Great share- I’ve really been busting ass trying to get my picture up there (nowhere near as gorgeous as yours lol- but I hope to get there one day) AMAZING tips, I’ll be putting them to good use for sure! 🙂

    • So happy you liked the article! And oh by the way – those flat lays you see up there? Those are NOT mine (how I wish LOL!) I’ve given credits to owners. I’ve been practicing this type of photography and I know for sure that you will see great results esp. when you get the hang of it 🙂

  • Alyssa Tuangco

    Thanks for these tips! I agree that you need to include everything in the shot and make them look organized tho the objects are spread out 🙂 I hope these tips will help me improve my flatlays.

    • Hi Alyssa! How are you doing with your flat lays? Let me know if I can check some 🙂

      • Alyssa Tuangco

        They have improved! 🙂

  • This is fantastic! Thanks for this. I’ve always wondered what I was doing wrong. LOL.

    • Ha! Me too! Actually that is the main reason why I put this post up <3

  • Miss Piggy

    Now I know the secret thanks to you! Been trying to achieve this but I can’t before

  • Charm Gamboa

    Thank you for the tips! I love this article. I’m actually mastering flat lays, the only thing that’s making it hard for me is the high point. I’m not tall and I don’t want to climb up a chairespecially in a resto. Have tips?

    • Hi Charm, you can just stand (leap your arms a bit while holding the phone in your hands, be sure to keep steady for 5seconds then shoot)

  • Marge Gavan

    I am also amazed with flat lays, my food blogger friends always do that whenever we have a food event. I sometimes do that too, but sometimes I don’t have the patience for it. But I want to use the tricks that you mentioned, see how it would make a difference on how I do flat lay.

  • Zwitsy

    I really find it difficult to achieve that IG worth flat lay shot. In fact, I am still struggling in working on it and I may give a try of your recommendations here. I just hope I’d be able to achieve it.

    • I know you can do it. Just play around with colors and elements to use

  • nicolepaler

    Thanks so much for the tips! I have mastered most photo styles except THIS. It’s my kryptonite.. XD I always struggle because everything looks more cluttered than pretty, and the point about keeping colors in the same tone is on point.

    • Haha I can realte to you nicole! That happened to me A LOT.

  • Karla Ramos

    This sounds like more of an adventure rather than an activity! I love that it just started out as an ordinary task and hashtag and ended up being one of the sassiest display of different art with an app. Perfect for my usual activity bug that bites me!

    • Yesss…..! Super tedious at times but definitely worth it

  • AngeliePangilinan

    This is such a helpful post as I am on Instagram for years now and I can’t even do a decent flatlay. I always struggle with the design and the “theme” I want to go for for my Instagram feed. I feel like I don’t have any artsy blood in me but I am not losing hope, these tips you shared will definitely help me out. 🙂

  • Jessica

    I could feel the auto-heart click whenever I see awesome flat lay photos. I am trying to do this and your tips would totally be essential. Thank you, dear! 🙂 Bookmarked and shared! 🙂

  • I have always wondered how to get this done. I think they are so gorgeous and make images stand out in such a great way. Bookmarked this page as I need to take my time with it. Excited to create my first flay lay picture.

    • I am excited for you too! Share with us your first flat lay 🙂

  • Berlin Domingo

    Will really bookmark this for a more thorough reading tom. Love your tips. Ive done a number of flat lays. While others are pretty good, some are just so discouraging.

  • Wonderful post! I have been seeing more pictures like these, and so this is what it is called, FLAT LAY. Good tips and perhaps one of these days, I will do some shoots too. Thank you!

    • Berlin Domingo

      Will wait your flat lay, Robert. Ihihi

  • Ohh I’ve been practicing for that #perfectflatlay. I totally need this! Thank you so much.

    • No problem Mica! I’ve been kinda obsessed in this flat lay thing and I am practicing a lot too 🙂

  • I love this! Thanks!

    • Thank you It’s Emified! Sorry to respond super late. I’m excited to see your flatlay! 🙂