flat lay

fundo para fotografia de flat lay

Among the most frequently asked questions I get about flat lays are those related to the background of the photos. A lot of people have doubts on how to choose the best option or how to leave it really white or even about variations that can make the photos even more creative.

Currently most of my photos have a white background. In the beginning, as I have shown countless times in the Instagram stories of @coolflatlays, I photographed using the top of a white cabinet. Since then I have tried many other options, from cardboard, EVA, sheet, printed canvas … but I opted for the ceramic tiles.

The reasons are many: practicality, easy to clean, relatively light and easy to carry to other places if you want to work with other light, lots of colors and textures. In addition, I chose square pieces that make it much easier to assemble the photos already in Instagram format.

As I said, I have preferably used white background in the photos, so I chose light ones with only a slight marbled effect. Up here are the two variations that I use most: a square plate with marble effect and another hexagonal with the same texture.

fundo para fotografia de flat lay


Both pieces are from Eliane, here above is the reference of the larger square. This is the most frequent background of my photos. The marbled effect is discreet, but leaves the photos with a more natural air since the white is not so flat. Also, the piece is finished in satin finish, so it does not shine and does not affect the photos.

This ceramic is sold in boxes with 4 units. I shoot small parts and have little space at home, so I currently use only one unit. But if you have space or want to shoot larger compositions with looks or other types of pieces, the 4 units will be perfect for mounting a larger square.


The hexagonal option already comes in smaller pieces, like the one in the first photo of the post. Up here is the reference of this piece that is also from Eliane. And, just like the previous option, it also has satin finish, so it does not shine in the photos.

This piece is sold in boxes with 10 units. For @coolflatlays photos I use 4 units that come together as a puzzle and form a larger square. If you need a larger background just join more pieces.

And if you like flat lays and search for references, you must have seen this hexagonal background in countless photos. It is a great option to vary a little and make the photos more interesting.


Finally, another option that has also appeared in my photos on @coolflatlays is the Sixties tile from Decortiles. Particularly this is my favorite applied to floors and here is a small spoiler of my future home!

It was the one I used in the photo above, and the variation from Eliane’s hexagonal is small. The Sixties is smooth with no marbled effect and has the most glossy finish. For the photos I prefer Eliane’s Hexagonal, because the space for grouting between the pieces is smaller and more discreet. Just notice how in Sixties you can see the little screen that connects the pieces. It’s a detail, but it makes a difference.

This tiles comes in boxes with 22 units. Similar to Eliane’s Hexagonal, I use only 4 units that together form a square.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, one of the advantages of ceramic tiles is the variety of sizes, colors and textures available. Just a quick glance at Eliane and Decortiles’ website for you to realize this (there’s so many wonderful options!).

So if you have space and a lot of creativity you can choose from numerous options of backgrounds for your photos. In the meantime I keep dreaming about having a studio to work with all these options and share it here with you, of course!

Still in doubt? Are you curious about this type of photo? Just leave a comment or check my other posts on the subject!

More about flat lays:

Throughout these months posting on @coolflatlays I received some questions from readers on the most varied subjects. I received a few more questions these past few days and I tried to select some to answer in this post today.

I tried to answer in details and illustrate whenever possible. As the post was too long I will split into different posts and dedicate some to more recurring themes like editing the photos. So if your question was not answered here, you can rest assured that I will soon post part II.

Hi, I wanted to know how tot ake pictures without appearing the shadow of the camera in the photo, I can never take pictures like that for that reason.

In the flat lays we stand really above the composition right? So in this case the ideal is that the light is not behind you – in the ceiling for example.

I do not have any lighting equipment for photographs, so I prefer to use natural light. I usually photograph on a furniture that is next to a balcony door. So there’s a lot of light coming in from the side of the photo and I do not have to worry about my shadow. In this case it is worth remembering that I have a translucent curtain that leaves the light softer and leaves even the shadow of the objects almost imperceptible.

But if you really need to shoot using some light from your home and it is located on the ceiling I suggest you to do not try to shoot below that lamp, move your composition out of that central focus of light and that will soften your shadow. Or try adding other points of light by entering the sides of the composition, with a lamp for example.

I love this kind of photo and thanks for the tips! But when your arm / hand appears, does anyone takes the picturet or can you do it on the camera’s timer using a tripod?

Currently for the photos in which my hands or feet appear I need the help of Thiago, my boyfriend – who is also the photographer of all my looks here on the blog.

I usually get all the composition of the photo, I leave the right places to position myself and he shoots for me. But we always need a few more clicks since it is difficult to be in the right place and in a natural way without seeing the final result. And it’s zero glamorous: I’m under the ladder and sometimes I do the greatest juggling to be perfect for the photo!

But I intend to buy a tripod so I can shoot alone in these cases, too. As soon as this happens I’ll tell you about my experience with the tripod for these photos.

flat lays

You use a furniture to take the pictures, right? What’s the size of it?

Yes! Currently a lot of my photos of flat lay are made on the surface of a white furniture. It does not have anything special, but works well because it is neutral and located near a good light. It is 50 cm wide by 1.40m long. As the photos are square if it was 50x50cm would be enough.

Remember that I use this furniture for small flat lay photos, with accessories and smaller objects. In the case of flat lays that has as object garments it takes a larger background!

I have doubts about symmetry. I have already noticed that in your flat lays there is always an imaginary line. But I can not do it…

I loved the question because symmetry is super important in the photos! Actually I think I almost always have two imaginary lines in the pictures, take a look:

External imaginary line: the limits of the photo. My photos are square since I produce to post in instagram. That is why the limits of my composition have this (imaginary) format. In some cases I position the objects and form a square (example 1), in other clean compositions the edges become freer and the objects in the center (example 2) and in a third option I surpass the limits of the square with the objects And make a square cut leaving some of them in half (example 3). Here are some complete photos of the compositions for you to better visualize the imaginary lines in red:

example 1

example 2

example 3flat lays

In all these cases you can “preview” the square using the square tool on the camera of your cell phone, for example. This way you can ensure that the outer imaginary lines are positioned as you need them.

Internal imaginary line: this is more difficult to explain and will vary according to each composition. A composition can be with objects perfectly aligned (example 1). But it can also be tilted (example 3) or asymmetrical (example 2). In all cases you will only be able to “draw” those lines by assembling, experimenting and realizing what is best. It is super abstract and depends on the aesthetic sense of each.

How to use mini sculptures (like an eiffel tower) on flat lays?

In a flat lay basically every type of object can be used. But as the angle is always from above it is good to analyze what looks better from this point of view. In the opening photo of this post you can see 2 Eiffel Towers, but notice how they gain a new format seen from above. This will vary according to each object and you will need to test what works or not.

Some things, such as nailpolish, for example, looks more beautiful and visible when placed lying on the photo. A lovely stamped mug, for example, will not be appreciated, since you will only see the bottom of the mug and “lying down” would depend on the composition to look nice and tell a coherent story. So it’s worth collecting some cool objects that you would like to use and perform some tests to see the result in the photo!

Take a look how different the objects look from above in a flat angle to the other perspective in the same height of the objects. The ideal is to always try and discover how it looks better!

You should give classes about flat lays! Have you ever thought about it? “flatlays and composition for beginners”

I had never thought of it, but I loved the idea! I think I’m still learning and every day I discover something new about flat lays, but I think I already have some tips to share and some experience since I began to photograph more assiduously for @coolflatlays. What do you think of the idea? How about a flat lays workshop?

More about flat lays:

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.