How to take a flat lay photo

Happy Tuesday!

I’m writing this post because I was asked how I take my flat lay photos for Instagram. But before I start sharing my tips and tricks with you, I need to clarify that I’m not a pro. Some methods might be “wrong”. Nevertheless, I still want to share 7 tips with you which work perfectly fine for me. Please bear in mind that you don’t need a fancy or expensive lens to take flat lays (I used to take pics with my iPhone until the phone storage got full), getting creative and playing with your camera are the only things you need to do! 

1. Natural light
Natural light is your best friend! I always take pictures in natural light so I don’t need extra equipment.

2. Background
Choose a plain, clean background. When in doubt, opt for white. You can never go wrong with it. If you would like to play with textures, choose a rug or laminate floors as your background.

3. Camera grid

Most people use grid lines to apply the rules of thirds. I’m using those lines for my so called ‘symmetrical’ flat lays. Extra tip: use a ruler if you want to be more precise.

4. Aspect ratio


Getting tired of cropping images? Adjust your camera settings! In order to create square images for Instagram, I simply select 1:1 aspect ratio.

5. Balance
Try to keep the colour balance. If you have more than 1 item to display, make sure to add at least 1 neutral colour to your photo (e.g. white+yellow+pastel blue).

6. Angles


The best way to find the perfect shot is to shoot from different angles.

7. Practice makes perfect!! 

Now it’s YOUR turn! If you have Instagram and you find my tips useful, please tag me @imviviantse so I can see your amazing work! Would truly appreciate it:) Happy “flat-laying”!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post. Until next time! ;)

LoveVivian

43 Comments

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 15, 2015 / 9:59 am

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you found it useful! Hope to see your flat lays in the future! ;) xo

  1. Naeun April 15, 2015 / 4:52 am

    Perfect timing for this post! Thanks for all the tips Vivian, all your flat-lays look amazing! I’ll have to start practising haha xx

    http://www.tongue-in-chic.com

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 15, 2015 / 10:00 am

      Haha you’re welcome Naeun! So glad you have instagram now! ;) Hope to see your amazing flat lays soon! ;) Happy Wednesday! xo

  2. Feline Creatures April 15, 2015 / 8:09 am

    Wow this is amazing Vivian! No wonder you always have the BEST flat lays now I know your “tricks” haha. Thanks for the share my dear, I really learned something new today with the grid system. Will have to test it out!! Hope you and Wai are having a great week so far! Much love hun! :) xo~ Lena
    http://www.felinecreatures.com

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 16, 2015 / 4:05 pm

      No problem Lena! Happy to share my secrets with you hehehe..Can’t wait to see your flat lays! Have a great day babe! xo

  3. Colovibes April 15, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    You are really an artist making this sort of pictures!! Love them!! I need a white big table!! hahaha!!
    Thansk for sharing these awesome tips!! ;)
    XoXo
    http://www.colourvibes.com

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 16, 2015 / 4:22 pm

      Haha you’re flattering me babe! :p But no problem! I’m glad you find it useful! ;) xo

  4. herfivesenses April 15, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    Lovely guide! It almost seems like a piece of art! hahah :)
    Thanks for the tips!

    JJ xx

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 16, 2015 / 4:24 pm

      Haha you’re making me blush :) No problem babe! I’m glad you liked it! Hope to see your amazing work very soon ;) xo

  5. ivana split April 15, 2015 / 6:44 pm

    I don’t have instagram but I have found out that natural light is the best asset for flat lay photos. It really makes a difference, so if it is available we should make use of it. Also, practice makes perfect as they say.

    http://modaodaradosti.blogspot.com

  6. Mitzie Mee April 16, 2015 / 3:19 pm

    I love these flat-lay images, and I have a white matte glass table, which I usually use as background. My biggest challenge is not to get my big fat shadow in the picture. Any tips? :)

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 16, 2015 / 5:08 pm

      Hi Mitz! Nooo don’t say that! You look perfectly fine! Trust me!;) Hmm I’m not quite sure to be honest, but there might be a few reasons why your shadow appears in the photo. 1. Direct sunlight, particularly in the early morning/late afternoon can cause shadows. Try to pick the right time of the day to shoot your flat lays. 2. You’re having the sun at your back. If this is the case, try to move a little farther back from the subject or you can change to another (standing) position. I hope these help! Have a great day ahead! ;) xo

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 16, 2015 / 5:09 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you find it useful! Make sure to tag me if you have IG, I would love to see your amazing flat lays! ;) Have a nice day! xo Vivian

  7. stylewich April 17, 2015 / 7:20 am

    hi vivian!! i’m still struggling with flat lays so this was the perfect post for me. i LOVE the beautiful inspiration on this blog! kay, i’m going to poke around a little more… :)
    love, liz
    http://www.stylewich.com

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 22, 2015 / 4:02 pm

      Hi Liz! Thank you so much for stopping by! Truly means a lot to me and I’m glad you find it useful! :) Happy Wednesday! xo

  8. K. / Pure & Complex April 17, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    I just love this post. My problem is always the angle. I can never get the best angle for a flat lay so I gave up doing it all together. I need to try again. Really informative post Vivian. I think you just saved me :).

    Kay of Pure & Complex
    http://www.purecomplex.com

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 20, 2015 / 6:41 pm

      Hi Kay! I’m sorry for my late reply..I guess I’m getting old, got a short term memory lately *sigh* but I’m glad you find this post useful! :) And I know exactly what you mean, I also found it difficult to find the perfect angle until someone told me that the best practice is to take a pic from different angles;) I’m sure you will find the perfect angle soon! Good luck and have a great week! Xo Viv

  9. avenuecamilla April 21, 2015 / 2:51 am

    I love all of your flat lays! I would definitely say that you are a pro!! These are all amazing tips, I had not thought to do something of these things! I am going to practice, practice, practice once exams are over haha :)

    xxx
    Camilla
    http://avenuecamilla.com

    • vivian | t w o w a r d April 22, 2015 / 4:07 pm

      Thanks Camilla! Glad you find it useful ;) Good luck on your final exam!! Happy Wednesday ;) xo

  10. lacasabloga December 5, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    Really great tips! I have never been very good at flat lays but hope to start practicing soon as I love the way yours come out. Thank you!
    http://www.lacasabloga.com

    • Vivian Tse December 14, 2016 / 1:10 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by! Glad to hear ýou find it useful :) xo

  11. Subomi Salami February 8, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    Hi Vivian,
    I absolutely love this post. My biggest challenge when creating Flatlay photos is shadows. Sometimes the shadows made look so unflattering even though there is lots of Natural light! Any tips please?

    Subomi|My Fashion Musings

    • Vivian Tse February 8, 2017 / 6:42 pm

      Thanks Subomi! Glad you find these tips useful :) Direct sunlight, particularly in the early morning/late afternoon can cause shadows. Try to pick the right time of the day to shoot your flat lays or try to shoot on cloudy days if possible :) Íf you’re having the sun at your back, try to move a little farther back from the subject or you can change to another (standing) position. Hope these help! xo

Leave a Reply