As a fashion and lifestyle blogger, Instagram is my primary marketing tool. I work very hard to ensure that my Instagram feed is beautiful, unified, and on-brand. One of my “specialities” is the flat lay. It’s so much fun to style and create flat lay photos to share on my Instagram account. I love it so much, that I’ve gotten quite good at it. I get questions on a regular basis from those who follow me, asking for my Instagram flat lay photography tips. I’ve quickly realized that I have far too much to say about the subject for one post, so I’m breaking it down. Today, I’m starting with the basics and sharing my top 10 Instagram flat lay photography tips.
10 instagram flat lay photography tips:
1. Always shoot in natural light
As any photographer will tell you, lighting can make or break a photo. If you’ve ever tried to take a photograph when it’s dark, it’s probable that your photo was a yellowish, blurry mess. Most Instagrammers get their beautiful, bright photos via the power of natural light. Fancy equipment does help control the light, but it’s not a requirement. Keep in mind, depending on the time of day, the type of lighting will differ, but you will always get a better shot with natural light.
2. shoot from above
When you’re shooting a flat lay, it’s all about the angle. Make sure to hold your phone or camera directly above the items that you’re shooting. This will give you that distinctive 2D look to the final photo.
3.Choose a theme and build upon it
While some of the best flat lay photos may seem random on the surface, the truth is, they’re thoughtfully planned out. The goal is to tell a visual story with the photograph, so pick a theme and stick to it. For example, if the focus of your photo is a casual sweatshirt, it’s not the best time to throw your high heels into the mix. Every element in the frame needs to work together to tell your story.
4. Shoot in square
By shooting your photograph in square, you’re able to play around with different composition ideas. This makes it a lot easier to experiment with the rule of thirds, and other important photography basics to make your final photograph look Insta-ready!
5. take a ton of photos
Take a ton of pictures. If you think you’ve taken too many, take a few more. Play around with different photo compositions, props, distance from the ground, etc. The more you have to choose from, the better!
6. Check out other instagram accounts for inspiration
There is nothing wrong with checking other sources for inspiration, as long as you don’t copy someone else’s exact photo. If there’s certain accounts that you’re always admiring their flat lay photography, try to figure out why and let that inform how you develop your style. When I’m at a loss for inspiration, I also look back at my own feed for ideas.
7. keep props on hand
If you want an excuse to buy another cute notebook, or holiday candle…Instagram is a pretty good one! Sometimes, a photograph needs a little something extra, to give it some more interest and personality. You don’t have to go on one big shopping spree, or even spend a lot of money. Always be on the look out, so you can organically build a collection. That being said, when in doubt, throw in some flowers!
8. use a simple background
You may have noticed, almost all of my flatlays are shot on a white background. The reason I do this is two-fold. First, it makes my feed look and feel unified and on-brand. Second, the simplicity of the white background allows the subject of the photo to shine through. There’s so many gorgeous (and affordable) backdrops that you can use, including white wooden floor backdrops, and faux marble counter backdrops.
9. edit the photos to your liking
Even if you get the perfect lighting and photo composition, one of the crucial Instagram flat lay photography tips I can offer, is to edit your photo before you post it. While I don’t suggest that you go crazy with too much editing, or X-Pro II at 100% intensity, there’s a happy medium. Once you find an editing technique that you like, keep doing it! This will help create a unified feed, like Alex of To Vogue or Bust has created. She even shared a tutorial on her Instagram editing process.
10. practice, Practice, Practice!
Like so many things in life, the more you practice, the better you’ll become at Instagram flat lay photography. My older photos make me cringe, but hey – it’s always a work in progress.
I hope you found these Instagram flat lay photography tips helpful! If you have any other questions, leave a comment – I’ll be sharing more tips for Instagram in future posts!
Oh – and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!