How To Style a Flat Lay Photo

6 Flat Lay Styling Tips to transform your feed and website

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Flat Lay Styling has become one of the best ways of styling products and images for social feeds. Gone are the days of taking a picture of the product you are selling with one single image. The only struggle is, how to style a flat lay photo or product photo.

What is a flat lay?

A flat lay is the style of photo. It is where you take a photo of a collection of items from above. 

Flat Lay’s tell a story and take the viewer on a visual journey. 

And today, I am going to share with you my 6 Flat Lay Styling Tips so you can go rock your social feeds and website with awesome product photos!


FLAT LAY STYLING TIP #1: Choose your theme/topic


Each photo you take needs a theme. It should tell a story when people look at it, and they should be able to know what it is about before they even read the caption or description.

If you are creating flat lay’s to help sell and promote your products, your product should be the main [or HERO] item in the photo. People should know what your item is before reading the product description. 


FLAT LAY STYLING TIP #2: Gather your props

I have seen many discussions on whether or not a product image should have JUST the product image in it OR should it be styled with other items too. My answer is that it is completely up to the seller; however, I do 100% believe adding props in your product allows the image to tell a story and consumers are more likely going to purchase your product because they can envision themselves using it. 


Your props do not have to be over the top and you do not have to break the bank buying a ton of items. If you have to buy a few, go for it (for me, that’s half the fun). I ALWAYS SUGGEST taking inventory of what you have in your home that would compliment your product.

Here is a list of items most of us have in our homes that work great for flat lay styling:


    1. Hands
    2. Tea cups
    3. Coffee cups
    4. Legs
    5. computer/cell phone, headphones, 
    6. Plants, flowers, pedals
    7. Books
    8. Hats
    9. Makeup
    10. glasses/sunglasses
    11. Small rings/push pins/bobby pins to fill white space
    12. Baby items
    13. Laptop

It is really endless as long as it goes with your theme.

FLAT LAY STYLING TIP #3: Use a great backdrop 

Choose a background that is not too “Noisy”. You don’t want a busy background to take away from the product. What I mean by that is that patterned or busy backgrounds (if used in the entire image) will cause your product to melt into it and disappear, making it hard for the consumer to see the product. View my post on different types of backgrounds for product photos for a full list.

It is okay to use a pattern as a layering effect or in a small section of the photo, but not the entire photo. Some subtle, yet beautiful backgrounds for product photos that I suggest are:

Marble Vinyl background.

Shiplap Decal is a beautiful and elegant background.

Whitewashed wood vinyl is a subtle and beautiful background.

My top tip would be to practice and test it out. Have others look at your photos and ask them for feedback.


FLAT LAY STYLING TIP #4: Create Layers 

Creating layers in your product image brings depth to your image, making the product stand out and the photo more visually appealing to the viewer. 

Layer items by adding one on top of the other. 

You also need to create balance in your photos. Adding similar colors on either side of the image will balance out the image and help it not feel heavy on one side or the other. You can also balance an image with: shapes and similar objects.



FLAT LAY STYLING BONUS #1: Behind the Scenes

Use a variety of surfaces for your setting. Try: the floor, bed, or table with the background you desire.

Before getting my softbox lights [which I absolutely love!] I used our bedroom to take photos. We have a large window in our bedroom that gets great natural light. I would place my white poster board background on the bed, my foam board light “trappers” on the opposite side, and then I style my design on top of the board.

You want the natural lighting to be soft, not harsh light.

FLAT LAY STYLING BONUS #2: Edit using Lightroom

Although to do all the necessary things to prepare your flat lay photo for a beautiful shot, you will most likely have to still edit. I Use Lightroom during post-production to brighten your photos, create a warm effect, and edit out any unwanted smudges. 

I hope these were helpful tips!



If you are overwhelmed with taking your own photos and spending hours styling, photographing, and editing, contact me to see how I can take that overwhelm off your hands and allow you to focus on creating more products for your business and connecting with your customers. 

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