How to Master the Flat Lay in Seven Easy Steps

We all love sharing our favorites on Instagram, but there's a difference between snapping a photo without thinking twice about it and actually taking the time to curate the photo.  Flat lays are all the rage these days and can generate new followers and lots of likes if you do it right.  Whether you're a blogger, business owner, or just an Instagram enthusiast, these tips will help you master the flat lay.

Use a White Background
You can never go wrong with a plain white background and the easiest way to get one is to use a white foam board or poster board.  A white background will make your photos pop by allowing each color to be seen without distraction.  White and grey marble backgrounds are also a big trend these days that anyone can achieve.  Don't have marble countertops?  No worries!  All you need is some marble contact paper and craft wood to DIY your own photo background prop.

Shoot in Natural Light
For best results, always shoot in natural light.  Find the brightest spot in your home, usually by a window for the best lighting.  Nobody wants to see dark or yellow toned photos from poor lighting conditions.

Edit with Apps
A great app to start off with for basic editing is AfterLight.  Brighten and adjust the contrast and exposure if needed.  Another great app is Snapseed.  Use the selective tool to brighten specific areas of the photo and make your background and white space even whiter.

Find a Flat Surface
Make sure you place your items on a flat surface to keep them in place.  Sometimes round objects can be tricky, even when they're on a flat surface.  It helps to use a small piece of double sided tape or sticky tack to hold them in place.

Focus on Placement
Take the time to carefully place each item you want to feature.  Be sure to leave enough whitespace between each item.  If you're working with both small and large items, make several arrangements until you find a desired proportion.

Shoot in Square Mode
For Instagram purposes, you will want to shoot your photo in square mode.  This will help you see exactly how your photo will look in regards to placement and proportion and you won't need to use an additional cropping app to fit your whole photo into the frame.  If you don't shoot in square mode, you may not have as much white space in your flat lay, your photo may look zoomed in when uploaded to Instagram, or even chopped off when viewing your profile in the gallery mode.

Work the Angles
Typically flat lays are shot directly above the products.  This can be challenging depending on how tall of a surface you are working with.  Don't be afraid to bust out a stepping stool and do what you have to do to get above it.

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