Up your flat lay game: #30days30flatlays week one tips

If you follow along with my hijinks over on Instagram (and if you don’t, why not? I think we could have a good time together over there!) you’ll have noticed I’m dishing out tips for boosting your flat lay skills.

#30days30flatlays is a hashtag I started for anyone who wants to improve their flat lay skills. For 4 weeks, I’ll be posting 2-3 tips per week, which participants can then use a a jumping off point for practicing + creating better flat lay images for their business.

You can go all in and do a flat lay every day for a month (hey, practice makes perfect y’all!) Or, take the tips to guide and improve content you already have planned. Either way, my hope is to grow this into a community of creative entrepreneurs that are dedicated to improving their brand storytelling + cheering each other on! Come join the party over on Instagram.

Without further ado, here are the first few tips from the challenge:

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utilize repetition and geometry

The banana slices here had such a nice repeating circular shape, I decided to repeat that with the 3 bowls. Then, the bowls have a triangular placement so that your eyes move around (in a circle!) but never leave the image- always being drawn to the next shape.

Chickpea Tacos topped with dave’s creamy hot sauce

Study the work of others

One of the fastest ways to get better at flat lays, is to study other people’s work, figure out what you love about it, and then experimenting with incorporating your findings into your own work. I’m not suggesting you copy (heavens no!) Just get inspired to stretch your wings and try new techniques + layouts.

You can save images to a folder in Instagram called “flat lays” or start a Pinterest board. After you have a few collected, what similarities do you see? Do they have lots of props, or are they more minimal? Are the backgrounds dark or mostly light?

Take notes! And see how you can interpret this for yourself. It’s all one big experiment so play and have fun!

Fresh mint and honey tea

Simplify with a white background

If you’re new to flat lays, or struggling with composition, etc., it’s helpful to remove an element and simplify. And the easiest thing to remove is the background
Of course every flat lay OBVIOUSLY has a background, but I’m just talking about shooting your scene on white.
And you don’t need a fancy schmancy, white counter or table top either.

White poster board will become your friend. That’s right. The stuff you pick up at the craft store- several sheets for a couple of bucks.
It’s easy to move around, and if it gets messed up or spilled on WHO CARES- C’est la vie! It’s also easy to stash in a closet or under the bed if you’re short on space.

And BONUS: white reflects and bounces around light, so it actually helps your scene look better.

Maximalist Charcuterie Table spread with veggies, hummas and edible flowers. Featuring Bari J place settings

iphone photos are more than ok

Don’t be discouraged if all you have to shoot with is a camera phone; They’re actually REALLY good for flat lays because they keep everything evenly in focus- which is exactly what you want for most flat lays. Plus, you can turn on overlay guides to help you get your shots lined up exactly level.

So what do you think of this first round of tips? Anything new you hadn’t thought of before or are eager to try? Let me know in the comments below!