6 Top Tips: How To Create A Fabulous Fashion Flat lay


A fashion flat lay is a popular image frequently posted on Instagram and often seen in magazines. It is a picture of a complete outfit laid out flat and photographed from above. Sounds simple I know but have you ever tried it? I can assure you it is not as simple as it looks! I worked in fashion and practiced visual merchandising for many years. So I thought I would share a few things I have learnt …


image of jeans and jumper 6 Top Tips: How To Create A Fabulous Fashion Flat lay



How To Create A Fabulous Fashion flat lay

Please Note: I am a neat freak, I admire a tidy fashion flat lay. You may be different, if so please adhere to, or ignore any tips as you feel fit…


You will Need:

  1. Your camera/phone
  2. A Space with Natural light; the floor by an open back door or a Conservatory is excellent.
  3. A sturdy chair, ladder or stool to stand on. Be safe!
  4. A decorative background, or an attractive floor.
  5. A complete outfit, and accessories.
  6. Some Patience, a good fashion flat lay will take time, I take mine in batches.


A Note: I am a neat freak so I do admire a tidy flat lay, you may be different, if so please adhere to, or ignore any tips as you feel fit…


Top Tip One: The Background

Keep it plain and simple and in keeping with the outfit. For instance if you are showing jeans with a casual top and shoes, a concrete floor or rough wood background is great, if you have selected a smarter outfit, then maybe you dining room table would be better. I have several of Capture by Lucy’s brilliant photographic backgrounds they are made of vinyl and roll up when not in use.

I have 5 and they are perfect for all flat lay photography not just a fashion flat lay!


image of photographic 5 backdrops



Top Tip Two: The light

Always use natural light. Take your background and outfit to the lightest room in your house and set it all up as near as possible to a window. Avoid having an electric light or lamp on anywhere near your flatlay, your image will have an orange dull tinge.

Choose the right time of day. As its now winter in the UK my best time to take pics inside is during the morning.

I often use the garden table as the outside light is superb and the table has a great texture. Texture is wonderful for a fashion flat lay. Look around your house and garden and always consider the light. Open the window and move the curtains right back. Shadows are fine, they can add interest, just check they are not changing the shape of an item or dominating the lay out?



6 Top Tips: How To Create A Fabulous Fashion Flat lay


Look around your house and even the garden and always consider the light.


Top Tip Three: The Outfit.

For a fashion flat lay outfit, select everything you would wear in real life, from your shoes to your hair accessories. Details are key and will always finish off a good flatlay. For instance if you are showcasing just a dress, shoes and a bag you may have room for a perfume. People will want to imagine themselves wearing your outfit. So tell a story, suggest a mood, pick a theme, or highlight a colour.

In this outfit layout I am telling a casual story keeping it simple and just adding fragrance…


6 Top Tips: How To Create A Fabulous Fashion Flat lay


Tell a story, suggest a mood, pick a theme, highlight a colour.  


Top Tip Four: The Preparation

Iron everything first! Creases that can be hardly seen in real life for some reason show up magnified on camera. Iron, fold and then iron a garment in its folded position. It really does make a difference to the finished image, it will look fresh and crisp and will give you a greater chance of being ‘re-posted’ aka regrammed!

In the image below you can just see my slipper! I’m standing on a stool to get a photo from above and you can still see the creases in the jeans…


jeans on floor 6 Top Tips: How To Create A Fabulous Fashion Flat lay


Creases that can be hardly seen in real life for some reason show up magnified on camera.


Top Tip Five: The details

Details make or break a fashion flat lay. Do everything up! ie. zips on jeans, laces on shoes, buttons on cuffs etc. The outfit on the floor should look exactly as it would be on your body. I know its obvious but check your shoes aren’t muddy and there are no stains anywhere. See top tip four! You can keep it simple with one striking piece or add in something quirky and unexpected? Its all about the details, details, details!

This is one of my favourite jewellry shots…


6 Top Tips: How To Create A Fabulous Fashion Flat lay


Its all about the details, details, details…


Top Tip Six : The positioning

Once you have completed everything above, you are ready to position the outfit on your back ground and start snapping. All I would say here is try to make sure your own unique style shows through. You could layer shirts and blouses under jumpers and lay accessories on top, perhaps add necklace?

Diana Vreeland famously said “….the eye needs to travel” I wholeheartedly agree. Do you have a star piece? if so this is your focal point and the eye needs to travel from that point around the rest of the image. You can achieve this by subtly pointing something a sleeve or a shoe in that direction…

Advanced positioning:

If you want to get a little more technical then you can follow the ‘rule of thirds’ If you are using your phone you can turn on your grid. To put it very simply it means if you line up your outfit along the grid lines it is more pleasing to the eye. I found this excellent post so if you want to know more have a read?


Diana Vreeland famously said “….the eye needs to travel”


6 Top Tips: How To Create A Fabulous Fashion Flat lay


In the image above the belt leads your eye down to the words and then the shoes takes you around and back up to the plant. It was taken outside on my garden table!




PS. Diana Vreeland also said …


Happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments below, but the best thing is just to get started and experiment and have fun!


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  1. 01/02/2019 / 14:08

    These are nice tips for taking the perfect flat lay photo! I agree that it’s definitely not as easy as it looks. Matter of fact, it took me 45 minutes just to do my last flat lay and I am not convinced I am happy with it. Sometimes I wonder if taking a selfie is better! I agree also with positioning and ironing clothes beforehand. I made the mistake of not doing so and boys what a total waste of time but hey, you live and learn, right? Wishing you a beautiful weekend ahead and happy Friday Ashley!


    • Ashley
      01/02/2019 / 14:33

      Hey Maureen!
      … I’m so glad you like my tips, I do hope they prove useful to you, I like to take them in batches and spend the whole morning shooting them for later posting! I’m hopeless at selfies and sometimes the light is too bad for outfit pics…
      Big thank you for your comment,
      and wishing you a lovely weekend!
      bestest wishes
      Ashley x

  2. 28/01/2019 / 15:37

    Love this so much and thank you so much for mentioning the backdrops and for all your support! You bring them to life! xx

    • Ashley
      30/01/2019 / 10:55

      Thank you! Your product is brilliant and your service is wonderful, anytime!

      bestest wishes
      Ashley x

  3. 25/01/2019 / 17:32

    Thank you Ashley. I haven’t done any flatlays as i hadn’t known how. Now I do.

    • Ashley
      25/01/2019 / 18:18

      Anna you are so welcome I love to make up flat lays! good luck!
      best wishes
      Ashley x

  4. Thank you for all the advice. At some point I will try a flat lay as I do admire the ones I see. Being a technophobe I shy away from these sort of ideas. I would especially like to learn how to post items which when you click on the garment it takes you to the retailer.
    Sorry about your IG account, I have signed up to follow again. Best wishes – Jill x

    • Ashley
      25/01/2019 / 14:32

      Hi Jill and thank you for the follow too I very much appreciate it.
      I think the retailer click and buy is for retail business, I dont think us mere mortals can do that with our own Instagram accounts (yet) But we can do it on our blogs, you just link the picture to the website link!
      bestest wishes
      Ashley xx

  5. 25/01/2019 / 07:39

    Good tips, I will try to make a flat lay! Happy weekend!

    • Ashley
      25/01/2019 / 10:31

      Hi Nancy ! I look forward to seeing what you come up with as you know I like your style!
      bestest Ashley x

  6. 25/01/2019 / 00:29

    Great tips! And what is it about the wrinkles? They are never there until you look at the picture! Crazy making! I struggle with my own shadow getting in the way, but it really is about practice, practice, practice.

    • Ashley
      25/01/2019 / 10:50

      Hi Liz, you are right it is all about practice! I have been doing it years and im still learning! I think if you get the light right you cant go wrong!
      best wishes and thank you for your comment too!
      Ashley x

  7. 24/01/2019 / 22:40

    Loved this post. As I’m always telling you I so admire how creative you are. Some good tips here that I haven’t tried before too. I always find that my flat lays have looked creased so I will try ironing into position xx

    • Ashley
      25/01/2019 / 10:30

      Thank you Laurie, I would say the light and positioning are the 2 most important things Oh and the story!
      bestest Ashley x