Step up your Insta-Game: A Flat Lay How-To

Need some help stepping up your game on Instagram? Learn how to style very insta-likeable flat lays for your own feed by following the tips and #fotospotting examples we’ve procured in this guide. The following 6 tips should help you achieve that envied airy and seamless display of must-haves your favorite insta-famous friends have on their feeds.

Flat-Lay #fotospotting | FOTO Blog

1. Make Plans

First thing’s first. Decide what story you want to tell with your post and hand select items that work well together in telling that story. Who are you trying to reach? What brands are you hoping to connect with? How can you make your collection seem casually calculated and not a forced collage of very particular products?

2. Visual Research

Research what other people are posting, what kinds of lays seem popular and what major events or holidays are coming up that could help you think of a relevant theme that performs well on social media.

Fotostrap Flat Lay #Fotospotting | Black Fotostrap

@jennakutcher designed this super fun weekend getaway themed flat-lay. We love how she has incorporated her message into the picture and selected items that coordinate and contribute to the story she's telling through this flat lay 

3. The Selection

Once you decide on the vision and backstory of your post (perhaps even thinking of the text or a quote you want to include in your description of your scene) it’s time to procure the perfect compilation of products and props to include in your square format photo. Try to be thrifty and search around your own home for pieces that tell your story. Sometimes it helps to have one or maybe two products you are hoping to really market, so work around the size and color theme of those pieces you really want to showcase.

4. Simple Backdrop and Natural Lighting 

Set up your photography backdrop and lighting. If your ballin’ on a budget, find a very simple background (perhaps a sheet (sans-wrinkled), a blank canvas, a wooden surface, a marble slab) and set up where there is a lot of natural light. The best time to shoot is midmorning or late afternoon, when the sun isn’t beating in and has a nice warmth to it. You want to be able to shoot from above the layout so make sure you are setting everything up on the floor or on a table that you can get high enough above to achieve a spot-on bird’s eye view.

Fotostrap Flat Lay #Fotospotting | Sweet Potato Fotostrap

We love the simple elegance of @looneybinkids' marble backdrop and the way she has played with shape/balance in her composition. We're also digging that the one pop of color (our Sweet Potato Fotostrap) is the focal point of this pic.

5. The Arrangement

Arrange your items and take 2-3 shots. Look at those shots from your phone or camera and make adjustments to your setup as needed. Take another 2-3 shots of this adjusted layout and continue until you achieve the perfect amount of blank space and cropping you desire. Then take everything off and set it up in a new way, and repeat these steps. Do this at least three times to give you three final layout options to choose from. Sometimes the direction of your flat lay will take on a whole new life of its own as you are photographing and seeing the objects say something as a group you hadn’t thought of when you were picking them out as individuals. Getting into the actual artistry of this process may give you an even more successful outcome than you had hoped or intended for and that’s great, but it’s always good to plan beforehand, too.

6. Minimally Edit

And finally, don’t over-edit your photos. Simply white-balance your final choice, keep it consistent with the rest of your feed, and post. 

Fotostrap Flat Lay #Fotospotting | Graphite Fotostrap

@johnrunion's minimalistic arrangement is lovely in its unassumption. While this grouping is simple, and it's story easy to read, this composition was masterfully executed and fits well within his Instagram feed.

That’s it, that’s the nitty-gritty of the Instagram flat lay. It’s definitely not as easy as the final picture makes it seem, but once you get the hang of it, you will find that these groupings and collections come to you more naturally and your photos will become more and more effortlessly professional.

Side note: if you include a Fotostrap in your flat lay, be sure to share it and use our hashtags: #fotostrap or #fotospotting. You might just end up on our feed! We can’t wait to see your creativity and talent shine through your upcoming flat lays! Happy shooting!


Related: FotostrapFOTOFeature, Tips

Fotostrap Flat Lay #Fotospotting
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