Flatlays: What They Are and How to Create Them

It’s no secret that visual content is king when it comes to marketing. Whether it’s an eye-catching graphic or a viral video, having something to look at is the fastest way to grab your audience’s attention. Well, let me rephrase that, having something good to look at is the fastest way to grab your audience’s attention.

It may seem like an obvious distinction, I know, but it’s an important one to make. Social media feeds are flooded with visual content from other businesses, including your competitors. Your content needs to stand out in order to be successful. It has to be engaging and professional… But you don’t need to hire a professional to achieve it. Let me explain.

One of my absolute favorite forms of professional visual content to use in marketing is a style of photography called “flatlay” – and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A flatlay is simply a photo, taken from above, of items that are lying flat on a surface. Here’s an example:

Yes, that’s a flatlay! Chances are, you’ve seen photos like this everywhere. Maybe you even thought, “Wow! I wish I could have photos like that.” Here’s the good news… You can!

First, make sure you have a quality camera. A few years ago, I would’ve said not to trust the one attached to your phone. These days, however, the camera quality of your phone might be one of your best bets. At Lisa Perry Social, we use a Canon EOS Rebel T6i. It’s easy to use, high quality, and cost effective. I absolutely recommend it!

Once you have a quality camera, the rest is simple. Gather the items you want featured in your flatlay. Make sure all of the items are relevant to the content you’re sharing. For example, if you wanted to share a post about an upcoming chili cookoff, you could use all the ingredients to make chili as your featured items.

After you gather your items, decide what to use as your background. A blank white poster board, a wood floor, a granite countertop—these are all great background options. Then, place the items strategically on your background.

Pro Tip: If you want to include text in your photo, leave space in the middle or off to the side. You can upload the photo into Canva later and fit your text perfectly into the empty space.

Once everything is assembled, it’s time to get up, up, up. These photos only work if they’re taken from directly above the subject. If your items are assembled on the ground, this shouldn’t be too difficult. If they’re on a table or countertop, you may need to stand on something to help get the right angle. It may feel a little funny when you’re doing it…

…but you’ll love the results.

I told you that you didn’t need to hire a professional to create professional-looking visual content! That’s what I love about flatlays. They always look like they came fresh out of a professional photo studio, but they’re actually easy photos to create at home or at your place of business.

So, now that you know how to create a flatlay, it’s time to put all that knowledge to use! I want everyone who reads this blog to create one branded flatlay. It can be for something specific or it can just be a photo that represents your business. Either way, I want to see it! Once you have your flatlay, share it with our online community, Social Media Success with Lisa Perry, or post it to your own social media account and tag Lisa Perry Social.

I am so confident in each and every one of you. I just know that you can create some incredible visual content that puts the “professionals” to shame and stands out among all your competition. I can’t wait to see what you do.

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