Four Tips for a Great Flatlay

I don’t know why, but flatlays are one of my favorite things.  Maybe its because it gives me a creative outlet without having to switch up an entire room.  And well, my Rae Dunn collection gets a little more use and visibility (why, oh why do we love white pottery with giant words on it so much?!)

{Aside, if you do not know who Rae Dunn is, rest assured, you WILL after this post.  Pretty sure all but like, one, of my flatlays features Rae Dunn. Obsession? YES. #sorrynotsorry}!

Now, back to it! FLATLAYS. If you use Instagram like I do, you’ll see them everywhere.  Maybe you’re into them, maybe you aren’t. But they are definitely a great way to feature a product or show off a particular decor piece. I particularly enjoy flatlays of my breakfast and when I’m baking. Probably because in addition to home decor, I also LOVE FOOD.  Give me all the baked goods ASAP!

If you’ve ventured into the flatlay world, but still feel a little lost, here are my top 4 tips for a great flatlay:

4. Faux (or real!) greenery.

It’s not a feature in all my flatlays, but I would say I incorporate some kind of plant life, whether fake or real, in about 80% of my flatlay photos.  In the flatlays where it does not make an appearance, the theme is usually something to do with baking – I usually like to focus on the food for those!

So as you can see – here are some of my classic “breakfast” flatlays.  With? You guessed it – faux greenery!  The greenery just adds a bit of natural (albeit being totally unnatural, unless you go the real plant route) element to the photo. It adds something else too, but you’ll see what in Tip #1 below!

3. Figure out your purpose.

Ask yourself – what is the purpose of this flatlay?  Is it to “show off” your breakfast (and Rae Dunn collection – like many of mine clearly are)? Is it to market a sign you’ve made to potential customers?  Perhaps it’s to feature a new specific decor piece you’ve purchased? Or to feature a recipe you want to share?

Whatever your purpose is, keep that in mine as you are staging your flatlay.  And of course, the purpose could also be to simply have fun and get creative! If that’s the case – keep that in mind too! Sometimes I get larger picture ideas for our home from flatlays I have done!

Purpose: Show off these DELICIOUS blueberry muffins I splurged on! And some Rae Dunn, per usual.

Purpose: Feature this adorable new sign I purchased, and also attempt to figure out how the heck I wanted to style it in our home – at the time I bought it, I knew I loved the little guy but had NO idea where he was going to go! This could be a great flatlay for you as well if you MADE that sign and are trying to sell it!

Whatever your purpose, remember that as you style! If your purpose is to feature a product, keep your flatlay simple – if it’s to show off your breakfast, well by golly include whatever you want, ESPECIALLY all the deliciousness you’re currently enjoying!

2. Balance your colors/Find a color theme.

I think this is another reason I love Rae Dunn – the pottery always adds some needed white and bright to my photos!

In my flatlays, I do my best to find some balance between dark/light, or color/non-color.  That’s not to say that some of my photos arent almost entirely one color, but in that case, I have a theme in mind.

Here a few examples of balancing color (and as you can see, I don’t ALWAYS use faux greenery!):

And here are a few examples of a color theme – for me it’s usually white/bright with a focus on ONE or TWO particular colors:

So the CAKE PAN/CHEER MUG photo has a baking theme, with an overall white pallet and a focus on red.  The ENJOY/COOKIES also has an overall white pallet, with a focus on a muted red/green pallet that the cookies provided!

> And, DRUMROLL PLEASE… My number one tip for flatlays is: <<

1. TEXTURE. TEXTURE. TEXTURE.

Honestly, if you throw away the three other tips I gave you, you still have a great head start if you remember this one – Texture.  Add texture to your photos (yes – this is another reason I add greenery)!

Texture starts with the base of your flatlay.  This is why I often style my flatlays on tea towels, wood, scarves, really anything that gives the base layer some texture. Why texture? Because it adds visual interest!

Different textures should continue and extend throughout the rest of your photo – faux brick, chocolate chips, cotton stems, coasters, candles, baking utensils, wood beads, food, and the list goes on!

Even in this fairly simple flaylay, I have four (or even five if you count the engraved lettering) textures going on! 1. herringbone wood background 2. vintage book 3. woodsy/rustic pumpkins 4. Rea Dunn spoon rest

Texture is really where it’s at my friends.  Flatlays are ALL about the visual interest, and that is what texture gives you!

So here are a couple more examples with ALL of the above steps included:

Step 1: Faux greenery? CHECK (again, totally not mandatory, just a tip to add some interest if you feel your flatlay is lacking!) Step 2: Purpose? Showing off these delicious cookies alongside my beloved COOKIES canister! Step 3: Overall white pallet with greenery and neutrals Step 4: TEXTURE! I’ve got faux greenery, faux brick, a tea towel, a wood cutting board, Rae Dunn, chocolate chip cookies, and some added chocolate chip in there! Visual interest? You bet!

 

Step 1: Yup – faux greenery is there! Step 2: Purpose? Working on my tablescaping – not only to feature my design, but also to brainstorm for myself for upcoming gatherings in our home! Step 3: Here, the whie is focused in the center, with pops of color (green and copper) on the edges. Step 4: TEXTURE! Ive go a wood background, greenery, copper, silverware, 4 layers of plates, and another tea towel!

So there are flatlays in a nutshell! I’m definitely no expert, but I find that I come back to these 4 main tricks every time I go to style a flatlay!

Do you have any flatlay tips or tricks? I would love to hear them! Drop me your top flatlay know-hows in the comments below!

Until next time, friends,

XO,

Ana

 

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