Friday, January 2, 2015

Flat lays: Random roundup and how to

Happy New Year!!

My random roundup is just a little bit different today. I've found that the same outfits are received differently depending on how they are showcased-- a proper photograph, a mirrored selfie, a top down or "from where I stand" selfie, or a flat lay. I feel like it has something to do with not only the composition or quality of the photo itself, but also the reader's/viewer's ability to relate their own personality or lifestyle to the person who is wearing the clothes. 

Flat lays are one of my favorite ways to showcase outfits because I feel like they are the least personal. There's no physical person (i.e. body type, age, personality, etc.) attached to these clothes, so the outfits can speak for themselves, and in theory, be universally relatable. I decided to grab some familiar outfits, but share them on the blog in the form of their flat lays.
Full outfit here
Vest: JCrewNecklace: Kate Spade | Bag: Forever 21Sweater: Express (optionoption) | Top: Rubbish (option, option) | Bracelet: NadriBottoms: Express (option, option) | Shoes: Joe's (50% off!)

Blazer: Express | Top: ExpressNecklace: Express | Bottoms: Express | Shoes: Tory Burch

Full outfit here
Necklace: Stella and DotScarf worn as a shawl: Zara | Bag: Chicastic | Top: LOFT (other colors here) | Bottoms: Express | Boots: Coach

Full outfit here
Jacket: Pulse | Scarf: H&M | Top: LOFTBottoms: Express (optionoption) | Booties: Hinge (option)

Coat: Wilson's Leather | Necklace: Kate Spade | Dress: c/o Boohoo (in grape) | Gloves: Target/Neiman Marcus Collaboration | Heels: Kate Spade

Flat lays are something that I've started to get into - they're a lot of fun to put together, and I always enjoy seeing others on Instagram and Pinterest. Jenna is really great about doing these, so the first time we met up, that was one of the first questions I asked her -- how do you do your flat lays? Lucky for you - she put together a whole post about it, which is awesome! See it here - needless to say, I pinned it right away, and I've been Pinspired to do my own ever since.

Her tutorial is already pretty thorough, so I'll only touch on my own personal nuances. I use a few things - I have a 24x36 sheet of white foam board, a 36x48 white, trifold presentation board, and a light box (very similar to this one.) I switch my background depending on how big my subject matter is.

I posted the above on Instagram last weekend here. It definitely looks a lot less glamorous to get to that point. I normally like to take these photos near a window with natural light, but I think I was just antsy to take one after being flat lay-less in California all week, so I was too impatient to wait for morning. While the background I used was my trifold presentation board, I did use my spotlights and rigged my lightbox a bit so I could diffuse the light.

Light box - very similar to this one

And this is where the magic happens. I play around with the composition until I find something that looks "right" to me. And then I take about 1278676 photos, keep the best one and delete the rest.

And this is the raw photo I took using my iPhone 6 camera. With a little photo editing using the same apps Jenna mentioned in her post, I was able to brighten this up a bit and eliminate the line of my photo box wall.

Bracelets: H&M (Gifted) | Necklace: Stella and Dot (Gifted) | Polish: Essie "Penny Talk" (Gifted) | Gloss: Chanel "174 Daydream" | Heels: MICHAEL Michael Kors (similar) | SKIRT: Express (option, option)

The end result is what you see on Instagram. Yes, I'm crazy, as I'm sure this is way more effort than someone should do for an Instagram photo, but it's FUN and therapeutic, just trust me on this!

Anyway, I thought this would be a good way to end the short week! Hope you enjoyed this for one reason or another, and if anything, I hope I inspired you to play around with your own flat lays and photo projects!



  1. love your little setup, I need a light-box. The second look is my favorite, I neeeeed burgundy skinnies.


  2. I love seeing how people take such great pictures - and how cool to see the flat lay v. ootd! Plus, I think those Hinge booties are my absolute favorite!

  3. Yesss! As soon as I went through the first couple flat lays, I was wondering "how does she get that white background". So happy you shared! Looks great! Definitely going to have to pin that one my self!

  4. Oh my word. I was thinking it looks hard to fold your clothes correctly and arrange them artfully....I had no idea there was such much other complicated lighting and photo editing going on!! Wow!! Well, you do a great job of it and I'm glad you enjoy it! Thanks for sharing your behind the scenes tricks again!! You do such a great job on these posts!
    Gina - On the Daily Express

  5. Great post! I read her tutorial too and was impressed. Totally going to follow suit and work on taking up my flat lay game :)

    Pumps and Push-Ups

  6. I am a fan of the flat lay! I try it sometimes and then most times I forget. I really need a good surface to put everything on, but it really showcases the outfit. You have such great taste! I love the polka dot top in the first picture!

  7. Fantastic Carylee, thanks for sharing! I always love your IG post and wondered how you got the great white background as well!


  8. I'm so impressed with your skills! I've done flat lay photos a couple of times, and I really enjoyed doing them too! xoxo, Sheaffer :)

  9. Love this and thank you for the tutorial! I have been seeing these layouts and wondering how to best go about it. Happy New Year! p.s. love your outfits and that deep purple dress is gorg! (also love the blazer outfit)

  10. This photos are amazing. Great post. Love the light box.


  11. Very cool! I may have to start doing this...I hate my selfies!! Love how you put everything together in that first look! Have a great weekend!

  12. Whoa, I had no idea so much work went into those photos! One of my second semester bucket list goals is to make my own lightbox for photos. Maybe I can try this soon :)

    xo, Hima
    Hima Hearts

  13. I love that third flatlay of yours! I like how you've styled it and the outfit it contains! :)

    No wonder I can never get a good pic of clothes - I don't have any of that equipment, wow! Pays off for you though, you create lovely pics at the end of it! :)

    Away From The Blue

  14. I think the combination of items you chose for each "flat-lay" is great. But I'm not a fan of these lay-outs, simply because laying the clothes and accessories flat gives a good idea of how the textures, colours, and patterns go together... but doesn't show the fit and drape of the clothes on a body. I've often laid out clothes of my own to combine into an outfit and didn't like the finished look at all. Still, I appear to be in the minority.

  15. Thanks for sharing this. I am going to be working on my flat lay presentations this 2015.

  16. Loved seeing this. I also LOVE LOVE flat lays, and sometimes do them for IG and of course for a lot of blog product pics. I also do it very similarly to you with lights, and cardboards. SO much fun getting creative with these and I agree they make the looks seem more universal not attached to a personality. Your flat looks are amazing. My favorite is the one with the plaid scarf. Happy New Year lovely girl, XOXO, Elif