Our Mini Family: What are Flatlays? Finding Your Flatlay Style

Sep 8, 2015

What are Flatlays? Finding Your Flatlay Style

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MySoundStyle #CollectiveBias

If you're on Instagram, you most likely have already seen an image that sounds like this: a square picture that has a number of 5 or more different items arranged together that all fit into a theme. This could be an Instagram photo of an outfit from a fashion account, different ingredients for a recipe from a food account, miscellaneous skincare and makeup items from a beauty account, or even an "essentials" image that is popular among travel accounts. This a certain photography style that has continuously been trending on Instagram, and is now making its way across other social media channels--it's called "flatlay."

Today, I'm going to talk about some dos and don'ts when you're styling your own flatlay!

The key to a good flatlay is a cohesive theme! When you're designing your flatlay, ask yourself "what do I want this image to convey?" By doing this, you can evaluate the items you're including in your image and see if they are actually adding to your theme, or if they are just there to take up space. When you look at this flatlay image I took, what vibe does it portray to you? Can you tell what my theme is? If any sort of mood or theme comes to mind within a few seconds, then you know that the flatlay has fulfilled its purpose; you may or may not have thought "punk rock fashion," but that was my theme I had in mind when I designed my example flatlay! 

The easiest kind of flatlay to design is an outfit flatlay--this includes your clothing. The reason this is the easiest is because you're naturally already used to matching outfits together, and you are probably fairly familiar with what you own in your closet. Your clothing is also already a personal statement in itself--what you wear can define a feeling or goal (e.g. a flowy skirt makes a feminine statement vs. a pants suit which makes a power statement). If you're looking to experiment with flatlay photography, I recommend trying to style a few outfit flatlays first. Get a feel for your own personal style!

A good flatlay is like a song--it has rhythm and personal style!

Every aspect of your image should be evaluated: the variety of the items in the image, the backdrop, the filter, the composition, etc. All kinds of flatlays look gorgeous, but it just depends on your personal style! Flatlays can be feminine, masculine, or even gender-neutral! If you are like me and want to go for a bold impression, don't add anything neutral to your image (e.g. don't use a soft background or airy filter). Think of a flatlay like a song--it has rhythm and personal style! Your photograph should have a rhythm to it in that your eye should easily bounce back and forth between the different items in the flatlay. 

DOs: stick to an overall color theme, use miscellaneous textures, add a pop of color, fold any clothing that you're using, consider the proportion of everything, have a variety, and use the #flatlay hashtag when sharing to Instagram (and social media).

DON'Ts: use a distracting background, take the photo too close up, take it from any other angle except bird's eye, show any scuff marks or major wrinkles in the items, and include items that are too large.

I encourage you to go to Instagram and search through the #flatlay hashtag for more examples!

Now that I've told you a little bit about my bold flatlay style, why don't I share a little bit about #MySoundStyle! Every single day, I listen to music while I work. In fact, I find it beyond difficult to manage my workload without some sort of music playing. I usually like to listen to something with a good beat to it, since I find that it helps me keep a good pace and work through my to-do list. Some of my preferred genres to listen to include rock, hip hop, and even electronic dance music.

See this speaker? This is the Infinity One Portable Speaker

Since I first got my Infinity One Portable Speaker, I have had my music with me no matter what I'm doing! All last week while I was cooking, I had my speaker with me on the counter in the kitchen every time I was preparing a meal or cleaning; I also brought it with me when I went to go workout and there was no one else in the gym, and I had rock music blasting while I was on the treadmill. The sound quality is so incredible, and the bluetooth has paired/worked seamlessly with all of my (and Adam's) devices.

Listening to my music on the Infinity One Portable Speaker has become a part of my daily routine! I'd love it if you could have a chance to try it out--or better yet, I'd love it even more if you were to WIN an Infinity One Portable Speaker of your own!

Enter to win this awesome Infinity One portable speaker!

So whether it's my flatlay style or #MySoundStyle, I'm all about finding something bold!

What's your Sound Style? Take the quiz and find out here! I got "Rock It Scientist!" Comment below and let me know what result you got!

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  1. Every day something I did NOT know - "flatlay" is now in my vocabulary. Great pics. You really have it down pat with those tips. It takes me forever to put my images/words together - but just a thought how about an image like "Dont" and "Do" for a flatlay example. Anyhow, awesome no matters.

  2. I've been wanting to work with flatlay techniques but every time I see them they feel so 'Martha Stewart.' I need to find a way to make it my own. Maybe I can use one of my favorite songs as inspiration? Thanks for the great tips! #client

  3. So... technically I know what a flatlay is because I've seen them of course, but I had no idea that's what they were called! :) So thanks for that. And the giveaway!

  4. Love your flat lay tips! I would add brightness as another must DO!

  5. I'm a Vinyl Virtuoso - "You honestly love the way the needle scratches on the vinyl, adding another layer to an already wonderful analog sound." .... Actually, I really do! I have my mom's old record collection and love listening to them! I've also submitted 4 entries into the giveaway. Sweet! Thanks for the tutorial! I love your flatlay photos on instagram! They have inspired me in my own social networking marketing!

  6. I am a Sonic Sophisticate! I love your tips on doing a flatlay. I always need new IG tips.


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