I have gotten even more into snapping shots for my Insta lately! Taking photos on the go of my favorite places and foods has become one of my top hobbies, including hunting down cute spots and snacks to Instagram! Since I also review a lot of cute restaurants (check out my guide to New York City’s pinkest cafes and shops!) I’ve been working on one of the most iconic Instagram photo layouts: the flatlay.
Flatlay is the term for still-life photos shot from above, usually food, makeup, or fashion products. A flatlay can be a great way to showcase products, show a glimpse into your day when a selfie isn’t gonna cut it (we’ve all be there, right? #undereyebags?). If you’re a fashion blogger, consider using flatlays to arrange entire outfits you’re thinking of wearing or to show example styles. The rules are different depending on if you’re at home or on the go, but there’s definitely a trick to nailing either kind. Here’s my favorite tried-and-true tips for a great flatlay.
For Instagram, we all know square is best. Turning your phone’s camera to square-mode is a given when arranging your flatlay. Feel free to move or change things with the camera on, too, so you can see ahead of time what your photo will look like. Filling the square is also important – you want to make sure there’s no gaping holes in your design.
Using props can be a great way to bring your aesthetic into a photo away from home. A fashion magazine, sunglasses, lipstick, jewelry, a phone case, or even your own manicure or bejeweled fingers can work. If you’re shooting onto a table or counter, getting your feet or the pattern of your dress in the shot also adds personality. You can use whatever you have on hand, or if you’re going out specifically to snap food photos, think ahead and bring some likely items.
Another easy, girly touch: fresh flowers. Pick them up from a street vendor or grab your own if you’ve got a bountiful yard. Roses always look classy, but daisies are becoming popular too. For an airy feel that’s popular in Korean insta pixs right now, pull over some greenery like a potted plants or strands of ivy.
Mind your background.
If you’re shooting at home, it’s easy to experiment with different backgrounds like textured fabric (fluffy faux fur is especially fun), faux backdrops like a single marble tile or piece of painted wood, scrapbook paper, or even your bedspread or rug. On the go, you’ll probably be using your cafe table. Keep in mind the aesthetic of your overall feed – dark tables will look good with dark feeds, and white tables or light wood will look better on light themed profiles. If you have a delicious snack that isn’t grooving with you table, consider adding in your props to take away from the backdrop. Or if I’m unprepared, I’ll ditch the flatlay altogether and look for a likely colored wall, like in my unicorn ice cream cone above.
Think color palette.
Flatlays are a visual treat for the eyes, a little like designing a still life moodboard. When considering your accessories, always be thinking of a color palette. Usually one or two colors worked around a neutral is a good balance. In my case it’s usually pink (surprise) but if you have a dedicated color on your Insta, now is the time to use it. Shout out to my pal Lessie, who manages an amazing monochrome Insta!
Natural light is king.
If you’re at home, finding your biggest window and setting up your background there is a given. In restaurants or cafes, try to grab a seat next to the window or even outside if there’s outdoor seating. At the same time, try to avoid harsh shadows from too strong light – indirect, white light is best. A lot of bloggers suggest morning light is the purest choice, particularly on slightly overcast days.
Here’s a few other blog articles I liked on flatlay advice:
Or, if you want a huge dose of inspo, check out the IG tag #flatlayforever – to see tons of cute flatlays of every style and color palette.
I’m still learning how to master my flatlay skills too, so feel free to comment if you have any secret tips and tricks to a great flatlay photo! If you’ve tried any of these tips, let me know and link your Insta!
Read the other articles on ParfaitDoll.com on how to have a super kawaii instagram!