How to photograph 5 different Instagram style flat lay collages

In this video tutorial, we show 5 different types of flat lay collages to help inspire and create your own

Increasingly, brands are turning to the likes of Instagram to show off their latest clothes and collections - and a flat lay collage is a perfect method for showing them off in style. In this fashion product photography tutorial, we will show you 5 different types of shots and how to create them and inspire your very own.

As well as making your brand stand out, shooting an aesthetic flat lay collage is great for highlighting a story around your products and conveying different themes and moods. 

By posting more of these styles of shots, you get the added bonus of increasing your reach on the likes of Instagram and Facebook - not to mention being able to see exactly what your customers think of your products. 

The equipment you need

  • Camera - Any camera will suffice but a Canon EOS 5D Mk III is recommended as a standard for professional product photography
  • Studio lighting - Continuous cool LED lamps are recommended to ensure exposure, shadows and contrast are kept consistent
  • Your garments and accessories - Put together some outfit collections and accessories that complement each other
  • Tissue paper - Stuffing clothes with paper can help adding depth to your clothes when laid flat
  • Image editing software - A program such as Photoshop to help you cut out the products and overlay them on a coloured background
 

Style #1 - Women's modern casual outfit

Combining a graphic print t-shirt with a khaki bomber, jeans, and low heels, this shot provides a simple, casual outfit inspiration. Imagine a trendy, young woman roaming around town on a fall day. 

Step by step

  1. Dress the jacket with the t-shirt on the hanger still. This makes it easier to stay in place and symmetrical. This is the focal point.
  2. Style the sleeves to add some flair. You can see how they are slightly parallel and convey a sense of movement.
  3. Lay out and fold the jeans in half. In this shot, we decided to show the ankle cuff. 
  4. Next, lay out the accessories. Take extra care with the handbag strap and try and create an interesting shape that helps frame the shot nicely. 
  5. Shoot. Get creative - and shoot more. The more shots you take, the more likely you'll be to get one that stands out to you as the perfect one to post.  

Tips

  • Place accessories where they would be in relation to the outfit
  • You don't have to keep everything symmetrical
  • Leave space between the items to allow them to breathe
  • Keep things playful and fun
 
unspecified2.jpeg

Style #2 - Formal men's outfit

A charming and simple outfit inspiration. This shot combines a stylish tailored-fit blazer with a formal shirt, bowtie, black pants and leather brogues. The camera adds an extra dimension of storytelling around the shot. A straight, structured look adds to the formality. 

Step by step

  1. Dress the blazer with the shirt on the hanger. This makes it easier to stay in place and keeps the shoulders straight. 
  2. Style the blazer so the shoulders stay nice and straight. Tuck in some of the fabric around the sleeves to keep proportions intact. 
  3. Fold the pants neatly in half so their length takes up approximately the width of the torso.
  4. Lay the shoes out on their side. Keep them nice and straight and leave a small bit of space in between each. 
  5. Style the strap of the camera in a playful manner. 
  6. Shoot and keep fine-tuning until it looks just right.

Tips

  • Pay attention to the shoulders and sleeves of the blazer
  • Use a grid overlay to keep things nicely straight and structured.
  • Use a diffuser to help lessen the reflection from shiny materials.
 

Style #3 - Heels on a rustic background

Making use of sharp, abstract angles, this eye-catching shot - combining shades of red, white and gold - contrasts modern, low-arched pairs of heels against a rustic background. A perfect inspiration for mixing different colours of footwear in one image.

Step by Step

  1. Lay out your shoes in a playful manner - just like in the shot on the right. 
  2. Fine tune and adjust the angles, making use of parallel lines and sharp angles where possible.
  3. Shoot. Once you have taken the shot, cut the images out and overlay them over a background that creates interest.

Tips

  • Choose a colour palette that combines well
  • Use a diffuser to soften the reflections on shinier materials
  • Experiment with all types of angles - keep it playful!
unspecified.jpeg
 

Style #4 - Floral girl's outfit

Simple and charming, this shot provides inspiration for a vintage-inspired girl's outfit. The busy floral print combines well with the candy-pink backdrop and ensures focus remains on the outfit while the tilted composition grabs the viewer's eye. 

Step by Step

  1. Lay the dress out, and style the hem so it looks natural as if worn.
  2. Add the cardigan and style the sleeves in a playful manner like on the left. Pay attention to the shoulders and ensure they lay straight. 
  3. Add your accessories to complement the outfit. You can see in the shot how there is enough space for each without looking too cluttered. 
  4. Fine tune the angles to create an interesting, dynamic appeal. 
  5. Shoot until you're happy with the composition. Add a background that complements your theme and colours.

Tips

  • Overlapping clothes works very well in kidswear.
  • Playfulness is key when photographing any children's outfit.
  • Making use of cute accessories like beanie hats adds to the charm of the shot.
 

Style #5 - Homewares and accessories

Overlaid on a marble background, this shot combines a chevron-patterned throw, turquoise mug, coasters and kitchen accessories for inspiration for homeware brands with a luxurious appeal. 

Step by Step

  1. Lay the throw first at an angle that covers at least half of the shot. You can turn over the edge to show the inner pattern.
  2. Add accessories in a playful manner surrounding the focal point. You can see where a combination of straight and angled placement gives the shot an extra playful dynamic.
  3. Shoot. Once you have taken the shot, cut the images out and overlay them over a background that complements your colours.

Tips

  • Keep a well balanced colour palette of the products you shoot.
  • Use angles to your advantage.
  • Cropping out products works nicely with homeware.
 

What we'd really appreciate is...

Thanks for reading our tutorial on styling these 5 flat lay collages for social media — part of our ongoing series of tutorials on product photography, styling and lighting. If you found it useful, why don’t you head on over to our YouTube channel and subscribe?

Better yet, follow us on InstagramTwitter and LinkedIn to get the latest updates. tips and tricks on product photography so you can drive conversion and sell more clothes online. 


 

See more tutorials on fashion product photography, lighting and styling

flatStephen Warr