How to Style the Perfect Flatlay Every Time for Instagram

How to Style the Perfect Flatlay  Every Time for Instagram

Ahh, the classic flatlay. Flatlays tend to do very well on Instagram and often get reposted by brands. You’d be hard pressed to not scroll through at least one on Instagram. When I first began my attempt at these, I hated it. I mean, you’d think putting one together is easy enough, right? Wrong! To get that effortlessly cool look, I soon realized there’s a lot more to it than I had previously thought. Today I want to share with you guys how to style the perfect flatlay every time for Instagram. You know, so I can save you a whole lot of frustration and beautify your feed! 😉

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How to Style the Perfect Flatlay

Every Time for Instagram




First off, the general basics: 

  • Lighting is key, always take your flatlays in a well lit setting because natural light is king. White, artificial lighting such as soft box lights are a decent second option and always avoid shadows. When doing so, you create the highest quality, clean photos possible. The takeaway? Aim to take your photos by a big window or in a bright room and avoid harsh shadows.
  • Fill your photo space. No, this doesn’t mean you need to crowd the photo with a million items, just don’t leave large amounts of space in the photo empty.
  • Choose the focal point of your photo and excentuate it. Ever wonder how some flatlays look so incredibly pleasing to the eye? It’s good photo composition, which starts with a clear focus. Place that focal point at the center of the photo and make everything work around it.
  • Grab a chair to stand on for the perfect birds eye view you get with flatlays.
  • Use pretty throw blankets as a backdrop to lay out your items on. They’re cheap and make for amazing photos. I love to get mine at Target and Marshalls!
  • Make it look natural. I know, I know..funny right? Flatlays are anything BUT natural and effortless. It takes me about 20 minutes to craft one to my liking and capture a winning shot. However, the less styled it looks, the better the photo will turn out. Make slight tweaks, that give off the impression you took the photo on a whim while it simultaneously looking amazing of course! Confusing, right? lol 🙂
  • There’s other photo backdrops you can use as well such as white marble and poster board. Don’t be afraid to experiment because you never know what might look great! 🙂


Photo Prop Ideas: 

Every flatlay is crafted with a variety of “props” and these can vary based on the type of flatlay you’re taking. Here are some ideas for feminine lifestyle/girl boss/beauty/fashion flatlays..

  • flowers
  • shoes
  • Macbook
  • a pretty tray
  • jewelry; rings, necklaces, bracelets
  • hats, scrunchies or pretty headbands
  • sunglasses, readers, purses and scarfs
  • mugs or cups of coffee
  • magazines, books and newspapers
  • pretty stationary, planners and pencils
  • perfume and makeup with pretty packaging
  • leaves, mini pumpkins or pincecones for seasonal flatlays
  • polaroid photos and vintage cameras


Quick Editing Tips: 

  • Just about all the editing you’ll want to do can be done through the Instagram app. The most important things to do are up the brightness a little, sharpness, temperature and contrast. I believe in minimal photo editing, so don’t feel you need to use 4 different apps for an Insta
  • If you like to use Instagram filters, you can adjust the level to how dramatic the filter is. I typically turn the filter down to about 60% so it’s not too over filtered. My favorite one to use is the Aden filter. Hands down.
  • Be minimal in your adjustments. Don’t bring up the brightness or highlights to the point of obnoxiousness. If you take your flatlay in ideal lighting conditions, only minimal editing will be needed.
  • Ever stumble upon the issue of a couple objects in your flatlay looking really bright? To solve this problem, simply turn down the highlights in your photo. When you have an excess of light and your taking photos with an IPhone, this can happen. If you were shooting with a camera, it would be possible to adjust the settings so the objects wouldn’t be over exposed but not all of us want to use a dslr for Instagram. (I included. lol :D)
  • Do you not necessarily like to use Instagram for photo editing? If that’s the case, try using VSCO! A lot of people like VSCO for its filters but it’s up to what you like most!


A Couple Flatlay Styling Ideas: 

Play with the arrangement of the items in your shot…

This is the process I find myself repeating everytime; Snap photo, review, rearrange and tweak, repeat. Roll up your clothes, layer, add and then remove accessories.. These are the things you can do to craft that perfect Instagram flatlay every time. If you’re photographing clothes, try folding them or layering them on top of one another in creative ways. Want to share a photo sipping on a mug of coffee? Place a couple pretty notebooks underneath the mug and arrange them in an artful way. As you can see the possibilities are endless. Here’s a couple of my past Instagram flatlays to give you ideas and inspiration!

How to Style the Perfect Flatlay Every Time for Instagram

How to Style the Perfect Flatlay Every Time for Instagram

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  • Joanne

    Really love the photos you featured here! I’m not necessarily a fashion blogger and I don’t do flatlays ever because it just seems like a lot of work. But I gotta say flatlay-ing is definitely an art in itself! You gave some great tips, and I agree on the minimal editing. 🙂
    You have a lovely blog! I’d love if we can follow each other on Bloglovin maybe? <3 Let me know, and have a lovely weekend!

    Joanne | With Risa: A Lifestyle Blog