FLAT LAY TUTORIAL – Making it Simple and Sophisticated

It has only been a few months since I started doing weekly posts and started really working on my blog posts, and I think the hours I have spent, taking pictures, writing and creating, really paid off – both seen in my stats and the quality of the blog posts.

Now, as you can imagine, when you start being so focused on something that’s important to you, every single detail will catch your eye and every single picture needs to be perfect. And that is exactly why I made progress; because I looked for inspiration, created the pictures and posts myself, started being more original and put my hours into everything that concerns writing a blog. 🙂

Something that I do pretty often and absolutely love to do, is creating flat lays. And even though I am pretty proud of most of them, I was surprised when people started messaging me and started to ask me in person how I made my flat lays. 

And because I had been thinking about doing a blog post about something like this anyway, this was the perfect opportunity for me to explain how to make creative, beautiful and aesthetically pleasing flat lays yourself. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do… 😉

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THE PURPOSE

Now, that first thing that you’ll have to think about, is the purpose of the flat lay. Why are you making a flat lay? What do you want to show people? Do you want to… show people what you got for Christmas?show people what your desk looks like? show people your favourite makeup items? show people your favourite bits and pieces to wear in autumn?

You need to set a clear purpose for your flat lay so that you stay on track. If you just want to experiment, pick one of the purposes above or skip to the next step and work around the focus item(s). A purpose, however, will make a flat lay more logical for people who look at it. 🙂

‘The purpose in the flat lay below is to show which items I use to cleanse my face. ‘

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THE FOCUS ITEM(S)

Now that we’ve determined a purpose, it’s time to pick at least one item that you want people to focus on, that you want the attention to be drawn to. This can be just one item, or four, as long as it’s not too many. These are usually bigger items and are the most important items in the flat lay.

‘In the flat lay below, the focus items are the laptop, the notebook and the Apple iPhone box.’

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THE BACKGROUND

Then it’s time to choose your background. This can be anything and anywhere in your house, outside, at someone else’s house, etc. I usually tend to choose a simple, not-too-busy background. The white background in some of my flat lays, for example, is my white desk. When I’m at a restaurant and I want to take a picture of the food, it’s just the table. And when I need some more space for a fashion flat lay, I just use my wooden floor.

If you don’t have any ‘pretty’ backgrounds, surfaces and/or floors in your house, a simple hack is to buy some kind of wallpaper. It can have a marble pattern, can be completely white: anything you want. This is something many people do, because a marble countertop is way more expensive than marble wallpaper. 🙂

One more thing to keep in mind when choosing your background: if you don’t have professional lights, try to look for a nice spot near a window. The light from most lamps is yellow, which gives a dirty and unprofessional feel to the flat lay. Natural light is, in my opinion, always the best option.

‘The background in the picture below is the white carpet in the master bedroom.’

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THE COLOURS

Now that you have your focus items and your background, you need to take a look at the colour scheme of the flat lay. Is it going to be very colourful, with a retro kinda feel? Is it going to be filled with pastel colours? Or are you going for a black and white theme with a hint of red? Once you’ve decided on a colour scheme, you can start picking more and more items to put in that flat lay, that compliment the colour scheme. This way your flat lay will look very aesthetically pleasing 🙂

‘ The colour scheme in the picture below is red/gold/black/white because I was going for a Christmas theme.’ ❤

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THE COMPOSITION

Now that you have everything, you can start the process of actually creating the flat lay. This is always my favourite part, because this is the moment I can start being creative and can really put everything together.

When you make your composition, you can decide what kind of composition you want to create. For example linear, messy (as if everything was just thrown together), in a specific pattern… This can have a huge impact on the look of your flat lay, so make sure you don’t rush into this.

‘ The composition in the flat lay below is kind of messy but still somewhat logical.’ 🙂

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THE DETAILS

We have now created the actual flat lay, but sometimes, you just know something’s missing. It feels empty, as if there’s still something that needs to be in there that isn’t. This is where I add the details. This can be anything: flowers, stones, two pieces of lavender, cotton pads, paper clips, etc. Just keep trying new things until you’re happy with your flat lay.

‘ The details in the flat lay below are the stones and the lavender. Very little details, but somehow it works.’ ❤

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THE PICTURE

And then it’s finally time to take the picture. If you’ve chosen your spot next to a window, make sure you stand on the other side of the flat lay, to make sure your shadows won’t disturb the flat lay. Stand on a stool or a table to take the picture from above, as this usually gives the most ‘typical’ flat lay results and the most sophisticated and clean results too. Keep in mind: you can always crop the picture! 

‘ For this picture I stood on a stool at the head of the dining table, but I rotated the picture because I prefer horizontal flat lays.’ 😉

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This was my step-to-step tutorial on how to make a flat lay. I hope I’ve helped you with your flatlays or at least entertained you for the time being. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask me in the comments, and if you’ve created your own flat lay I’d love to see them! You can always tweet me, tag me on Instagram or message me – my links are on the right side of the menubar but I put them down below too. All the love, x. ❤

Twitter: @thegirlychat           Instagram: @liedvanberkom

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