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How I Slay That Flatlay


Flatlay is essential in every social media- savvy, millenial's life; it's so popular nowadays that I think it will soon have a spot in the Oxford Dictionary just like Selfie; mark my word, sooner or later, it will become an official word!

In essence, what is a Flatlay? It's a newer style of photography that showcases an individual's lifestyle in a creative format, specifically in social media. I'd like to believe that Flatlay is born out of the need to squeeze in multiple objects in one photo inside the standard tiny frames allowed in popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Flatlay is literally formed from the elements of this certain style of photography: FLAT- the products are shot from top view, giving it a flat look; LAY- the products are laid flat on a surface; Lay could also mean LAYOUT to some, as it's simply a photo layout.


If you're a Blogger, I believe it is essential to know how to do a decent Flatlay simply because it's part of the profession. Flatlays make your social media feed look more professional, attractive, and well- put; if you're a Beauty Blogger, Flatlays will come even more handy to you because it lets you feature the tons of beauty products you have in one go! But if you don't give a fook about what I said, then it's alright; let's go on with our own lives on social media. :)

If you want to learn how to do a Flatlay, here's a 101. I'm not claiming to be an expert; there are far more Bloggers who can do Flatlays better than me, but I don't really mind as long as I know how to do it nicely; this is just a jump off point; It helps to check out these Bloggers also for some tips and inspirations!

Now let's get down to business!

Step 1: Choose your surface. Go for wood, art papers, tables, floors, or whatever; this is the base for your Flatlay. As for me, I'm into white background nowadays so I bought a couple of canvas boards in varying sizes.

Tip: A clean, minimalist background is always better, most especially if you're always shooting products.

Step 2: Choose your accents. I never thought I'd frequent craft stores and furniture sections one day, but Flatlay made me do it. Accessorizing is one of the keys to doing Flatlays so invest in a few.

TIP: Be creative. Look around the house for items that can embellish your Flatlays. Believe it or not, you can use cups, bowls, and certain ceramics to make your Flatlay attractive!

STEP 3: Choose a theme. This will put some sense into your Flatlay. Do you want to portray luxury, nature, fun, romance, or childhood memories in your Flatlay? You decide.

TIP: Your subject can inspire your theme too.

STEP 4: Know your Flatlay. I believe that there are two kinds of Flatlays:

Flatlay- a general layout that uses all sorts of items.
Product Flatlay- a product- centric layout

At the end of the day, they're Flatlays anyway, but it's nice to put a distinction for variety and to differentiate.

Here's a sample of a Flatlay. I've utilized most of my Flatlay accessories in this layout.

Here's a Product Flatlay. No fuss. No beating around the bush. Just the product. That's all. I just changed the background for variety; I used a piece of silk cloth. Yes, you can use cloth as background!

And here are my Flatlays in action!

 Flatlay

Product Flatlay

Just a recap, here are the basic foundations of creating a Flatlay:

1. Choose your surface
2. Choose your accents
3. Choose a theme
4. Know your Flatlay (Product Flatlay or Flatlay)

Hope you learned something new today. Now go slay that Flatlay, sistah!

Got some Flatlay techniques? It's Christmas time, be generous; share it with us at the comments section of this blog post! :D

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beauty. Fitness. Fashion. Food. Travel. Unicorns. World Peace. Digify Corporation.

37 Lovely Thoughts

  1. I don't even know that word existed but thanks to you I knew it already LOL! I've been wanting to learn how "flatlay" my Instagram worthy things but I cannot. It feels wrong for me. But thank you for your tips, I learned a lot, and I might also go crazy over craft stores and furniture stores LOL!

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    1. You've been warned, lol! :D You'll enjoy doing flatlays; it's a bit therapeutic for me. :)

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  2. It takes me more than 20 photos for trial and error before finally deciding which photo will be posted. My biggest problem is lighting since most of my flatlays are shot inside my room. I think that lighting should really be considered for good pictures specially if you're like me who uses an average camera phone in taking photos. For the surface, i sometimes lay the products on my daughter's stuffed animal pillow which is fluffy and fuzzy. I also use lacy or satin dresses to lay the products on. It just takes some creativity i guess, but most of the time i fail at that department.

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    1. Most shots I took for one photo is 10; just couldn't find the right angles haha. Thanks for sharing your tips. :)

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  3. such a helpful tips ms m! thank you for sharing!!! great for beginners in blogosphere

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  4. I've tried doing this at home but I suck hahaha! What I need is patience and some creative juice!

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  5. Thanks for the tips! I really love your photos + flatlays :)

    Meli | www.caramelyyy.com

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  6. I attempt to flatlay once in a while but I often give up. hahaha. Thanks for the tips. :)

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    1. You're welcome. Hope this post sparked some hope! Haha! :D

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  7. Thanks for the tips:) I really love those creative flatlays, just so feel good to see the creativity on it. Instagram has many different kind and style of flatlays that are really commendable and beautiful especially the makeup flatlay.That was Instagram is for others.Mine was lots of selfie:D but because of your tips, I can't wait to try it out.

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    1. go ahead! would love to see what you'll come up with. :)

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  8. i would love to nail that style. hehe. but i don't have cute accessories to support the photo. maybe sometime i'll try to do that #flatlay. thanks for sharing Ms. M. :)

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  9. Thanks for these tips! I actually like canvass for background and furs as well! <3
    How about your lights? are you just using natural light or somewhat like lamps? :)
    Glenda - A Beauty Bella

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    1. I use natural light and white lamp lights.

      I wanted to use fur also, but find them overused, not to mention expensive. :P

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  10. Thanks for this! I have to work on my flatlays. I usually do simple ones, experimenting with simple textures in the background and just the product. I've been looking into adding a few key objects for styling, but I think you are spot-on in stressing a unifying theme you want to portray. Will keep that in mind the next time I shoot!

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    1. That solves the problem of what elements to include in the flatlay other than your subject: THEME. Gets me done quickly all the time! :)

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  11. Been struggling for having decent flat lays. Thanks for the tips. Just want to ask po if the canvass boards are the one used for painting? Yung sa mga bookstore po? And also can you give us tips po for lightning techniques? Thanks

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    1. Yes! That's the one. :)

      I always shoot in the morning and in front of a window to get the right amount of light: not too dull, not too bright. If I'm gonna shoot outside, I wait for the afternoon light because it's less harsh and more ambient. At night, I use three lamps with white light: two on the sides, one on top. :)

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  12. Thank you for sharing your ideas on how to do a flatlay. This will greatly improve my craft too. Thanks for pointing out materials that I can use too to make an awesome flatlay like the canvas board, and yes, cloth. Have a great day, Ms. Martha.

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  13. Learned a lot from this post! I always find flatlays so pretty. :) I so love your pictures as well. Will definitely use this in future pictures

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  14. Just visited your Instagram and i agree with white background! They're nicer to look at especially if you view it by grid.
    Been trying to do flatlays too, but my biggest problem is lighting. I wanna get those white boxes that photographers use pero sayang lang since d ko naman magagamit palagi. I just need to work on finding good lighting. Hehe

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    1. I bought a lot of those boxes in the past, but I got lazy setting them up haha. I just use a white board and natural light and I'm done! :)

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    2. I bought a lot of those boxes in the past, but I got lazy setting them up haha. I just use a white board and natural light and I'm done! :)

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  15. i love photography this would really help me..thank you Miss Martha for sharing this great ideas...at least the time i post products or something I know to make it look good..double thumbs up for Flatlays...

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  16. thank you! but how about lighting? 😯 I struggle doing flatlays haha

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    1. I always shoot in the morning and in front of a window to get the right amount of light: not too dull, not too bright. If I'm gonna shoot outside, I wait for the afternoon light because it's less harsh and more ambient. At night, I use three lamps with white light: two on the sides, one on top. :)

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  17. Flatlay is something that I still have to work on. The photos I took still cover the basics of photography and these tips you shared Miss Martha will surely help me out. Soon, my photos would be Instagram-worthy! ^-^

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    1. Awesome! Practice makes everything perfect; believe me, I started out with crappy photos too! :D

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  18. Yass! So glad I found this, will try this with my photos on social media :)

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  19. I'm just browsing on your blog and voila! Guess what I came across - FLATLAY! I'm reslly looking for some techniques on how to do it. So far many thanks to our sofa and bed, i usually use them as my base and sometimes our dining table. As for the light, I used mixed if a natural light and fluorescent lamp. And lastly, I just use my iPhone camera to take the pic. Been thinking of buying feathers and beads for my props next time. Thank you for this. PS your flatlays are killers... Love it! ;-)

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Thank you for your comments!