Fact: social media has changed the way we view and take pictures. The advent of Instagram has pushed us (at least, most of us!) to post snapshots that count—not just album upon album of the usual friends’ faces. We’re talking creative shots of food, travel, fashion, beauty, and all our other favorite things. And with bloggers and netizens upping the ante for quality photos that result in more thematic and attractive feeds, it’s time to get in the game, if only for the fun!

Enter the flatlay: an assembly of items laid flat, arranged artistically, and usually captured from above (or an elevated angle).

A photo posted by Lyca Puno Roa (@lycapunoroa) on


A photo posted by Lyca Puno Roa (@lycapunoroa) on


A photo posted by Lyca Puno Roa (@lycapunoroa) on


A photo posted by Lyca Puno Roa (@lycapunoroa) on


This layout has been permeating many an IG account—mine included, as you can see! Some people love it because it helps them push their photography skills to the next level; others swear by it simply because it improves the overall appearance of their Instagram accounts.

Inspired by this prevailing trend, I decided to create two different flatlays for my column. One is soft and feminine; the other dark and dramatic. Check ‘em out, and after, I’ll be sharing some basic guidelines for creating your own flatlay from scratch.

PRETTY IN PINK

BeautyMNL haul: Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Colour in Emprise, Maybelline’s Color Sensational Lip Polish in GLAM 2, CoverGirl’s Outlast Double Lipshine in Sahara, Luxe Studio’s Alexa Bangle, Canmake’s Cheek Gradation 3C Cheeks & 1 Highlights in 05. My old stuff: Decorative flowers, artwork, and gold heels.

VAMPY VIBES

BeautyMNL haul: Luxe Studio’s Amber Necklace in Navy Blue, Orly Nail Lacquer in Ruby and Witch’s Blue, City Color’s Smokey Eye Shadow Palette. My old stuff: Watercolor blouse, tassel earrings, purse, and Yves Saint Laurent book.

FLATLAY 101

Itching to put together a flatlay of your own? Keep these eight easy tips in mind.

1. Stick to a theme. Going for one look keeps the overall effect cohesive, whether it’s choosing similar color tones, or opting for items with the same lines.

2. Lighting is key. It doesn’t matter if you’re using an actual camera or your phone. Try to utilize natural light to let your products’ real colors shine through. Take the photo next to a large window or even outdoors.

3. Play around with the layout. Style items in a scattered manner or arrange them symmetrically, depending on the feel you want.

4. Combine sizes and textures. Combine smaller items with bigger ones, busy printed items against a graphic background, to give the shot added dimension.

5. Make sure you’re a good distance away when shooting. This will help you capture the entire shot, which will in turn capture get the full effect of your flatlay. Style your items on the floor or stand on top of a chair if you have to.

6. Think about quantity. Though a large number of items can create a beautifully busy photo, sometimes three key pieces can say a lot, too. Don’t be afraid to leave blank spaces around your chosen subjects.

7. It doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy. Don’t hesitate to mix fashion with beauty, food with jewelry, or even art, books, and interior decor! What’s important is that everything photographs well together!

8. Let your creativity flow. Just have fun with it! At the end of the day, there are no hard and fast rules when showcasing things that catch your eye.

Photos and flatlays by Lyca Puno-Roa