flat lay

flat lay

Last week I told you about my new project with flat lays on Instagram right? @coolflatlays has new posts almost every day and I’m really enjoying it. If you are still not following me there, keep an eye because some of the tips I will share here today I showed in real time on the  Instagram stories and I have answered questions by direct.

But continuing the first post with 6 tips for a perfect flat lay photo I decided to share some more tricks and details about this type of photography. Take a look!

1. Square

I use the flat lay photos basically only on Instagram (@coolflatlays!). So for me the ideal photos are in square format so the feed looks more beautiful and harmonic.

As I said on a previous post with general photography tips, I make all the photos with the Canon 6D, including the flat lay ones. But I can not always scale the square photo correctly just by looking before shooting, so I use the  iphone camera in the square format to preview my composition.

This way I can make sure that the photo will be in the square size without the need to cut a piece or much margin left. To make sure that it was exactly as I imagined it, I still take the photo from the camera to the cell phone through the wi-fi and already check with some editing program if the framing was perfect. Nothing worse than undone the entire composition and then realizing that the format was not square!

2. Patience

For me the flat lay is an art of patience to get the best result. One of these days I will count how many times I go up and down the ladder to align some object or improve the framing or simply change everything and start over again.

Often just looking I can not identify if the overall harmony of the photo is good, so I need to shoot and analyze in the camera if the result is as I imagined. And being very sincere, it rarely gets perfect at first.

Look below for some records I made while I was producing a flat lay. I started with an idea, then I decided to change everything and not satisfied I changed everything again. It’s like this most of the time, take a look:

All this to arrive at this result here:

flat lay

3. Objects in the right place

This tip I showed 2 times in @cooflatlays ‘ stories while shooting. Properly positioning objects is essential to having a perfect photo, but this is not always an easy task when you have rounded or sloping pieces.

This is the case with most glasses! When you put it on the table, usually the glasses are tilted, because of the format. To ensure that it is positioned up and well looking in the photo I use a blue glue, like a clay, which is reusable, glue on everything without ruining it and can be used in the size and quantity you want.

Mine is the one from the photo below, Blu Tack. I’ve had it for about 10 years and it’s still perfect and very useful. I did not find this brand to sell in Brazil, but there a few similar version, has anyone tried it? Anyway, I highly recommend this, because it saves our life when it comes to positioning objects.

Down here I gave an example with glasses, which I use a lot. Notice that in the first photo the glasses are in the original position and in the second, already with the glue, it is facing upwards. In this case it is a detail, but it can also be used to hold a pencil, for example, that does not stand in the correct position.

Anyway, the possibilities are many and this glue can facilitate a lot the positioning of the objects.

4. Inspiration

In flat lay photos inspiration can come from anywhere! I have, for example, loved to look for sources other than fashion. Of course, clothes and accessories keep popping up around here, but I’ve had fun trying to photograph them with food, flowers … So now I find a lot of inspiration going to the supermarket (yes!). Sometimes I see a different chocolate or some colourful candies and already imagine a photo.

Another unusual place that can inspire some pics: those general stories that sell almost everything, you know? There are a thousand items and between candles, stationery and artificial flowers you can find new ideas. I would rather have used real flowers, but since I did not find in the flower shop near here what I had imagined, I went to one of these little shops to take the picture down here. The bouquet of flowers was not exactly beautiful, so I cut the branches and thought it worked super well.

That is, you do not have to spend a lot or have incredible things to do flat lays, the inspiration can be in the simplest places!

flat lay

5. Perspective

I have said many times that the ideal is always to photograph from above the composition of flat lay. I usually use a ladder to get a good distance and so I can position myself exactly on top of objects.

Sometimes even though you take several photos and try to guarantee this ideal positioning, the photo may not have the correct perspective and this is visible especially in straight objects. But some small perspective mistakes can be easily corrected while editing photos.

As I mentioned in the post about photography in general, I use the Snapseed app a lot to edit the photos on the phone. And in this app yourect  can correct the perspective problem, it’s really easy.

Just click on: Transform > Horizontal and/or vertical perspective (to change the options just keep your finger pressed on the screen and drag down)

Below is an example of before and after. I did not edit the edges of the photos so that you could better visualize the perspective correction. Note that in the photo on the left the top edge of the photo and the stripes are tilted down. The objects on the left seem closer to the lens right?

I used Snapseed’s horizontal perspective tool and corrected that error. It looks like the stripes and the edge of the photo appear straighter and the objects at the same distance from the camera.

How about these new tips? I tried to put some things very practical that anyone who is already trying some flat lays can practice now and see the difference! I’ll keep posting on @coolflatlays and as soon as I have new tricks and tips to share I’ll post here.

More about flat lays:

Since that first post with tips for flat lay photos (haven’t read yet? Click here!) I didn’t stop producing new pictures. I’ve always told you that I’m really passionate about photography, and since I’m always in front of the cameras for the outfit posts, I think I found a way to make myself happy and inspired with the flat lays!

I have been taking several photos a week and I often end up not posting here on the blog or on my Instagram profile. So I created another profile just to post this kind of photo: @coolflatlays!

More than that, I have taken advantage of the coolflatlays account to share more about each photo, give tips and show in the stories the real-time production of the photos. Who saw me up the stairs last week while I  was taking pictures?

This photo down here I showed in the stories today, so you still have time to see a nice tip I gave there to keep the objects exactly where you want them to stay. I also shared about the inspiration that came all from this autumn, gray and melancholic day.


Also, now I can gather all my photos of flat lay in one place which makes it very easy for anyone looking for inspiration right?

And talking about inspiration, if you are also in love with this type of photography and have produced some flat lays out there tag @coolflatlays and use #coolflatlays so that we can create together a cool gallery to inspire more and more. I will love to see what you are producing and find new ideas and compositions.

Seriously, even if you are still a beginner and are taking their first steps in this addictive world of flat lays tag me there on instagram. Let’s learn and improve our photos together! (:


Ah, but if you don’t like to take pics, but enjoy some nice little things, beautiful shoes, incredible sunglasses and all of those things, go there too! At @coolflatlays I show several pieces that I have not yet shown on looks du jour.

Anyway, this new project is very special for me and I am very happy with every comment, every direct and every photo I get there.

Meanwhile, I’m producing a new post with tips for flat lay photos. There are some tricks and details that go beyond the basics you already find in my first post.

And if you have any specific questions about this type of photography and composition, this is the time to write to me! Leave it here in the comments that in the next post I will reply.

See more about flat lays:

flat lay

You may not know the term flat lay but surely you have seen many photos of this style on Pinterest and Instagram. This type of photo in which objects are arranged on a flat surface and photographed from above is becoming more and more popular and it’s one of my favorites.

The cool thing is that while preparing this post I researched the origin of this style of photography and discovered that the initial inspiration came from a method of organization known as knolling. The term is from 1987 when an employee of a furniture factory (which produced chairs for Knoll) routinely arranged objects on a flat surface at 90 degree angles. In 2009 the sculptor Tom Sachs adopted the technique as an art form and so the flat lay photographs become more popular.

I love shooting flat lays and putting together different compositions. Over the last few years I have tried and learned a lot with this technique. It is a delight to think about the objects, care about color harmony, theme, proportions, even if at the end of a session I am with a terrible back pain for being trying to find the angle and the correct position of each element.

Since the beginning of the year I have been producing pictures in flat lay more often so I will share with you some of my favorite and 6 tips to produce a beautiful photo!

1. Alignment and arrangement of objects

The way you dispose the objects on the photo is essential for the result of a flat lay. At first the objects used to be carefully arranged symmetrically as a form of organization, but in this style of photography it is also possible to work with a carefully planned asymmetry. Sometimes the best thing of a picture is precisely in this perfectly misaligned disposition.

Still about the organization of the elements it’s worth paying attention in the space between them and in the proportion of size of what will be photographed. Sometimes you need to shoot a few times to analyze the result on the screen of the camera and make small adjustments, dragging something else to one side, moving away something or looking for new elements. It takes patience and dedication!

2. Colours

Working with a specific color chart helps to have an harmonic photo. I love choosing a certain color as inspiration for my photos and from there I look for other elements to compose the photo using color as the connecting element.

Set the colour it’s time to search the entire house for objects that can be used as complements, this part is fun and can yield photo compositions you would never have imagined. In this case the black and white is an infallible classic!

Saturday mood. Black is for the coffee and the lace bra.

Uma publicação compartilhada por Fashion Coolture (@fashioncoolture) em

3. Subject

Besides the colors, establishing a subject can also be very useful when choosing objects. It’s cool to tell a story with the photos! It can be a flat lay  about sport, a more romantic one, maybe about food or inspired by a special moment. The important thing is to make sense and show some connection between the elements photographed.

Still about telling a story I like to include my hands or feet in some of the photos as a way to make everything more personal. In that case it’s time to ask for help for your boyfriend or a friend to click  the photo!

4. Background

The background of the photos is almost always basic and neutral. This way you can highlight the objects and it is easier to have an harmonic photo. But that’s not a rule and there are some incredible flat lays with backgrounds with prints or textures.

Down here for example I photographed two flat lays inspired by the summer using the sand from the beach and a wooden deck as a background, as this is essential to tell the story I wanted to share.

Sometimes the flat lay has a picnic fabric, a green grass or a walkway as the background and all of these options can also work perfectly. But if you’re starting now, the od and good white background can be the best choice. I use to photograph on a white cabinet, it is practical and efficient.

5. Perspective

The flat lay photos are always taken from above, parallel to the ground. To find the perfect angle you may need to use a ladder!

So the ideal is to put the objects on the ground or somewhere low so that you can shoot properly. In small photos with accessories sometimes it is possible to photograph with the camera and without the help of the ladder. But in flat lays with larger pieces of clothing some steps makes all the difference.

Once the photo is donet it is still possible to correct some mistakes in the perspective. Some photo editing apps on the phone have this option (I really like Snapseed for that!).

flat lay

6. Light

Last but not least, something essential for a good photo: light!

Natural light is always better in my opinion. I have already photographed flat lays on the street, in the beach or even indoors and I always wait for the best time to enjoy the daylight. At home I always photograph near the window with a translucent white curtain, so I can better control the light and shadows of the objects and still be able to position myself exactly on top of the objects without having any shade.

flat lay

There’s a lot of nice inspirations for a good photo! Besides my pictures that you find here and on my Instagram account I also have a folder on Pinterest full of cool references to try, just follow me there too.