How to Style a Flat Lay Photo Like A Pro

We're thrilled to have one of our past Bloom attendees here today giving you some of her best tips for improving your photography and styling skills, and boy are they great! Brit joined us for Bloom Bash Seattle back in 2015 and we are just so proud of her for where she is now, what she's doing in her business, and mostly, just the genuine, kind, and super talented person she is.

flat lay styling like a pro

Whether you’re browsing your favorite online boutique’s catalog or scrolling through your feed, chances are you’re stumbling upon flatlay after flatlay. What is a flatlay you ask? It’s a “top down” (aerial) shot of a styled scene, typically themed as an outfit, or a product shot, or a mix match of favorite things. Nailing the styled flatlay is crucial to Instagram success, so today I’m sharing my 5 tips for styling a flatlay. 


flat lay styling tutorial

1. Choose Your Topic

What is the purpose for the photo? Are you taking a shot for your new product launch, or to share what you’re currently reading? Think about the message that is going to be conveyed in the photo and make sure it’s clear with the props ad objects you’ll be using. 

PRO TIP: Think about your color palette. Do you want the image to match your brand colors? Where will this photo live? What does it need to be cohesive with?


flat lay styling tutorial

2. Gather Your Props

Now that you know what you’re taking a photo of, gather elements that help tell the story of the scene. Use ingredients to highlight the freshness of the pie. Include a lit candle and a comfy blanket to make the viewer want to curl up with your new book as well. 

PRO TIP: Use the same props throughout different flatlays and brand photos. This helps create a cohesive feed.

flat lay styling tutorial


3. Use Awesome Backdrops

Your backdrop sets the scene for your flatlay. While plain white backdrops are always safe, you can improve the look of your flatlay by using textured styling boards. Check out the tutorial for this awesome DIY styling board that I made here

PRO TIP: To add to the cohesion of your photos, use the same 3-5 styling boards for all of your flatlays.

flat lay styling tutorial

4. Start with the Triangle

I always style flatlays and vignettes with odd numbers, and I love to start with 3. When styling a flatlay, I’ll arrange my 3 objects into a triangle, usually with some objects layered over the others depending on the scene. 

PRO TIP: Layer objects underneath your props. This will keep the look of the triangle, but add depth and interest to the image. 


flat lay styling tutorial

5. Elevate Your Flatlay

Take your flatlay to the next level by adding in texture, or adding a human touch. Lay down a piece of lace for texture, or include a handwritten note to include an unseen subject. Crumble cookie crumbs to kill two birds with one stone.

PRO TIP: Include hands in your images. Have them interact with the scene or the props to really take your image to the next level. 

flat lay styling tutorial

Are you looking for more help with your photos? Check out Brit’s blog, and don’t forget to download your free Cohesive iPhoneography Worksheet here