How to Nail Flatlay Friday: 9 Tips for Eye-Catching Photos

A few weeks ago, I shared my best advice on how to capture beautiful texture photos. #TextureTuesday is one of the backbones of the skincare instagram aesthetic, and they are super fun to capture. Another type of shot is equally as important in the skincare blogger’s arsenal: the #FlatlayFriday. In this article, I’ll give my best flatlay friday advice and help you to harness this tool for your skincare page!

A flatlay is simply a photo of objects arranged on a flat surface, captured from above. This “bird’s eye view” is visually appealing and allows you to create some interesting arrangements. It’s a great way to showcase a group of products or create more “skincare in lifestyle” shots. They’re immensely popular on Instagram for their versatility and audience appeal.

Flatlays may seem easy, but there is an art to creating the perfect bird’s eye capture. Read on for my top 8 pieces of advice for creating beautiful flatlays with your skincare products!

1. First, look for inspiration for your Flatlay Friday shots.

Pinterest and other skincare bloggers are a great way to find inspiration on how to style your flatlays. Don’t copy, of course, but seeing how other instagrammers arrange their photos can help get your creative juices flowing.

2. Don’t be afraid to use non-skincare props in flatlays.

flatlay friday of caroline hiron's skincare book and multiple yellow & orange skincare products

Flatlays are more interesting if you go beyond skincare. You can try throwing in food, magazines, office supplies, books (bonus points if it’s skincare related, like this one from Caroline Hirons!), handbags – whatever suits your fancy! These shots often give your audience a glance into your life by seeing what else you include. Because of this, they can feel a bit more personal and individual as well.  

3. Make your flatlay friday pop with a clean background.

flatlay friday image of white skincare products on a white background

Cluttered backgrounds aren’t great for flatlays. Choosing a solid, clean color (like a white pillow) or a textured background (such as brick, or a blanket) makes the shot seem crisper. I always recommend going with one color. However, I have seen people successfully use chaotic backgrounds, so don’t feel stuck to this rule!

4. Shoot in natural lighting.

I’ll probably include this tip in every one of my photography advice posts, and for good reason. It is far easier to capture colors accurately in natural light. Additionally, post-production is simpler (at least for me) if the photo is already adequately exposed. Some bloggers & influencers recommend shooting a little under-exposed and lightening after. Personally, I’ve never found that to work well for me and often makes my photos have a grainy tinge. Crisp and clear will always be more visually appealing for me 🙂

5. Throw in text and graphics to add extra spice to Flatlay Fridays.

"success starts with self care" motivational quote centered in a flatlay friday with skincare products

One of my favorite ways to shoot flatlays is to include motivational quotes or put in a book. It gives the photo a bit more to visually interest scrollers and adds a “thumb stopping factor.”

6. Incorporate textures into your flatlays.

Rather than just having skincare products in the shot, take off some of the lids and show off the products’ textures! It makes the photo more visually interesting. Additionally, incorporating textures into your flatlay friday posts can allow you to show off the products more – especially if they’re in simpler packaging.

7. Shoot flatlay friday photos from above.

They are known as “bird’s eye view” photos for a reason. Flatlays are best shot from a vantage point above the products. However, sometimes it’s difficult to achieve this with shadows from the sun (if you’re shooting outside), so I recommend positioning yourself facing the sun so your shadow goes behind you. It’s also helpful to stand on a chair or some other elevated surface (ayo! sorry, still in college haha) to get into a good position.

8. Design flatlay friday with a color scheme.

When you’re starting out, it’s really fun and easy to shoot flatlays based on a color scheme. With skincare, this can be a great way to group products if you’re feeling a bit confused about what to put in your flatlay.

9. Don’t shoot just one angle or arrangement.

Last piece of advice! When shooting flatlays, you often won’t know what pops until you’re in post-production. I always recommend capturing a variety of arrangements (by just quickly moving things around on the background, or shooting from different angles) so you can choose which one is best when editing.

I hope this advice helps you create some amazing flatlays! Feel free to send them my way – I would love to see what you come up with.

3 thoughts on “How to Nail Flatlay Friday: 9 Tips for Eye-Catching Photos”

  1. Those were some great tips! That made me realize I need to start using different props, I usually only resort to hair clips and jewelry and that can get boring!

    • Hair clips and jewelry can be so fun! But I am so glad you found this article helpful <3 can't wait to see the flatlays you create!!


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