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Make a Monochrome Flatlay for Instagram

Make a Monochrome Flatlay for Instagram

Hey everyone, I'm Tabitha Park! I'm a lifestyle and product photographer who's here today to show you how to take some aesthetically pleasing photos for your instagram! This tutorial is going to take you through my step-by-step process of photographing several products of the same color palette. 

With only a few supplies needed, you'll be SHOCKED at the level of quality you can achieve with only an iPhone, random house items and a posterboard!



How to create a flatlay
  • A camera (a phone works great!)
  • A clean white surface to set up on like foam core, posterboard, or the backside of a roll of wrapping paper
  • Objects and items around the house that are all the same color
  • Instagram!


Step 1: Collect items of the same color


Monochromatic flatlay

Feel free to use your favorite color or start with an object you really want to showcase and choose other items to match it!

Examples: Washi tape, markers, pens, crayons, yarn, candy, fruit, jewelry, beads, flowers, paperclips, nail polish, or tubes of paint


How to photograph a product flatlay

Try to find items of similar size or several of the same object (pencils, markers) for grouping together. Collect more than you think you’ll need to make setup easier and more flexible!



Step 2: Find the best light in your space


Product flatlay tutorial


I like to shoot indoors next to a big window during the middle of the day when the sun is highest and the light is indirect but bright! If you don’t have a table next to your window, set one up or use a chair, stool, stack of books, etc.

Turn off ALL the other lights in the room so you are only working with natural light (this keeps weird shadows at bay!).


Step 3: Set your scene

Monochromatic flatlay tutorial

Use a rigid piece of white foam core as your backdrop. You can also use white posterboard on a tabletop or even use the inside of a roll of wrapping paper if you tape it down nice and smooth!

Position yourself facing your window and set your scene so your shadows fall down across your setup. This will keep your final image from feeling upside-down!


How to make a simple flatlay


Plan to make your scene of items into a square or 4x5 rectangle so we have a clean shot to share on Instagram. Begin laying down objects keeping “heavy” or solid objects on the bottom and edges and filling in smaller gaps with little objects

Arrange items into “families” by placing long objects together and making straight and perpendicular lines.

Carefully keep items from touching each other to allow for “breathing room!”

Simple flatlay ideas

Step 4: Let’s shoot!


Flatlay tutorial for beginners


Enable the grid on your camera. This will give you guidelines to help keep everything straight. If you’re using an iPhone it also unlocks a little golden + sign when you’re exactly perpendicular to your scene! Super helpful for flat lays!


Simple flatlay set up for products

Take the time to clean off your lens for the sharpest result. Snap a few pictures giving yourself a bit of space around the edges for flexible cropping later.


Colorful flatlay tutorial

If the bottom half of your scene is much darker than the top, use another piece of white foam core as a reflector and position it opposite your window. This will help to bounce light back into the scene and even out the look of your backdrop!


How to create a simple flatlay

When you’ve got the shot, consider snapping a few closeups or angled shots as well since you already have the scene setup. You might like those perspectives too!


Step 5: Edit and Post!


How to make a flatlay


Launch Instagram and pick your favorite shot! Ideally it is sharply in focus, directly overhead, and clearly shows all your items in the center of the shot with a little space around the edges. If you are posting a “tall” 4x5 image, make sure you pinch or double tap the image to see the full thing before hitting “next”.

Hit “next” to be taken to the filter gallery. I like to apply a reduced-strength Clarendon filter, by tapping twice and pulling the slider down to 12%-20%.

Next, we can apply our fine-tuning edits by tapping “edit” at the bottom of the screen. Start by adjusting the crop. Keep your lines straight and your scene square. Give yourself an even amount of space around the edges. Pinch and zoom to fill the crop.


Create a simple flatlay

Next, adjust the brightness and contrast to really help your white background pop. If your scene feels too blue or yellow, use warmth to tone it back to neutral. Feel free to play with the other sliders til you feel like your photo looks its best!


How to change brightness

If your white background doesn’t feel white enough, use the highlight slider to boost it up. Don’t forget to adjust the Sharpen slider for a clean, crisp photo!


Simple flatlay for beginners

When you are happy with your edits, share your photo on Instagram and tag me @tabithapark so I can come take a look! I can't wait to see what you create! If you're interested in more photography projects and tutorials, check out my classes on Skillshare! You can also find even MORE of my work at my website! Thanks so much for hanging out!


Beginner flatlay photography tutorial

Hi guys! I'm Tabitha and I'm a lifestyle and product photographer with a penchant for plants and coffee. I mean, who doesn't?! I share my DIY approach to photography through my library of courses on Skillshare. I live in Portland, OR with my husband and cat whom I love dearly! I'm also currently on the hunt for the best local poutine - Portlandians, if you know a place, LET ME KNOW! 

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