How to create a Flat Lay to show your artwork

How to create a Flat Lay to show your artwork main article image
Posted on March 16, 2020 by Aida González Vázquez

Flat Lay photos are very popular nowadays. This kind of visual content is really engaging on Social Media platforms. It is really pleasing to watch, and fun to create! If you are a crafter, this is a great way to show your artwork.

In today´s post, we are going to give you five tips to create a flat lay yourself. We hope you find them inspiring. Let´s go!

Get inspired

There are a lot of photographers out there that master the art of creating flat lays. You can find them on platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. Watching their artwork is a great way to get started. Here we let you a list with our favorites.

Marina Barrio – @Minabarrio


Click here to follow Marina's Instagram.
Click here to follow Marina’s Instagram.

This Spanish photographer lives in Seville, where she works at a branding studio called MelonBlanc. Her personal Instagram account is a very cool source of flat lay inspiration.

Holly Wulf Petersen – @ryelondon


Click here to see Holly's Instagram.
Click here to see Holly’s Instagram.

Holly lives in London. Her Instagram gallery is full of lifestyle pictures and wonderful flat lays. Take a look at her pics and see how does she display the different objects.

Flatlay Journal – @flatlay.journal


Click here to see this Instagram account.
Click here to see this Instagram account.

This account is exclusively dedicated to flat lay pictures. With these images, you can learn how to distribute textures to generate more dynamic compositions.

My Yellow Journal – @myyellowjournal_


Click here to follow Sergio's Instagram.
Click here to follow Sergio’s Instagram.

Sergio is an English teacher and a journaling master! His account is full of great ideas for those who want to learn how to take pictures of drawings.

Use these references to get inspired, but try not to copy. Respecting other people’s work is a very important part of any creative process.

Find a location with natural light


Try not to shoot at the brightest room of the house.
Try not to shoot at the brightest room of the house.

You can place the objects on a table, on a bed, or directly on the floor. The surface itself does not matter much. What is important is to find a flat board with natural light. The use of flash would ruin the final aspect of the image. The best spot of your house is usually beside the window of one of the darkest rooms.

If the light is too strong and the objects are projecting shadows, you can use a reflector. If you do not have professional photography supplies, you can use white cardstock. Place it in vertical beside the area where you are going to shoot the picture.

It is also important to pick a clean background. If you can use a wooden table or, directly, the floor, that should be enough. If you need to search for other alternatives, try using simple bedsheets. A big piece of cardstock is also a great choice.

You need a hero!


Place the main element first.
As you can see, the original shot is bigger than the final image.

Just as Bonnie Tyler, you need a hero. In this case, a hero product that will be the protagonist of your composition. The hero of your flat lay should be the piece of artwork that you want to show to your followers. This is the first element that you should place on the board.

Once your “Hero” is placed, you can start distributing the rest of the elements.

Negative space is key


If you leave some negative space, you will be able to add text later.

We have explained this concept in our Beginner’s Guide to Graphic Design. Negative space is the area of a picture where shapes lay in. When shooting flat lay pictures, it is very important to leave some negative space. It will help you to balance the composition. Also, it is a great resource in case you want to add text to the picture.

The importance of shooting


Avoid zoom and flash. They can ruin your picture.
Avoid zoom and flash. They can ruin your picture.

When you shoot a photo, create some distance between yourself and the objects. Don’t worry if this means adding extra space to the shot. You can always cut your image and create a new framing later.

A good tip to avoid shaking while shooting is to hold your breath for some seconds. Just place yourself above the objects. Climb on a ladder or a chair, if you need it. Hold your breath and shoot. This way your final images will actually look flat.

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