The Flatlay: A picture says a thousand words


Photography used on social media platforms will set apart the amateurs from the pros.

However, mastering the concept of good lighting, the best angle and an effective background can be a lot to consider in the heat of the moment, especially when time is of the essence!

Head over to our previous blog post to read our tips on how to take iPhone photos like a pro.

Fortunately, when it comes to social media, a message is often best expressed through photography. Yep, you heard us, we can confirm that those Instagram flatlays in your feed are almost always staged and every fashion blogger’s #OOTD (‘outfit of the day’) shot is not as candid as they would like us to believe.

As the world’s most popular image-driven social media platform, Instagram allows users to convey a message in an instant by using a photo as the vehicle in place of text.

To send the right message with your photos, careful consideration of each object featured is integral. Here are our top five tips on how to create an awesome visual image ie. the flatlay.


Lighting can either make or break a photograph and for flatlays a gentle, natural morning light often serves best. In order to achieve this, try to diffuse the light (a sheet or muslin cloth on the window works wonders), use a reflector to bounce light onto the subject and avoid direct sunlight at all costs.


A lick of paint on an MDF board from Bunnings can be an absolute god-send when it comes to creating the perfect simple backdrop. Head down to your local Bunnings store where they will be more than happy to whip up a tin of your preferred Pantone code.


Composition is essential in creating the perfect visual and it is important to keep in mind your desired social medium when shooting, in this case, Instagram. Instagram utilises a square format which lends itself to creative use of symmetry and simplicity – you do not want to overwhelm your audience. White space, white space, white space.


The content of your image will define your brand, so be sure to curate carefully. When people click on your Instagram account, you want to project what your business is all about and the sort of content they can expect from you. To create a cohesive whole, it is always best to plan ahead. As a guide, the last 12 posts on an Instagram feed should communicate the main pillars of your brand.

Find your own style

A picture says a thousand words. Here are some Insta-heroes we love:

- Go-To Skincare (@gotoskincare) by the always hilarious Zoë Foster-Blake

- Bobbi Brown Cosmetics (@bobbibrown) for some flatlay makeup inspiration

- Kelly Snaps Happy (@kellysnapshappy) for all your fun, floral needs

By producing content that is tactically created we are curating content and defining a brand. Imagine, if you were to post a written story about your day, your life, or an event, there is no doubt you would edit and proofread it. The same applies to visual storytelling. Use your flatlay to your advantage!

Emma Bartlett