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14 Tricks To Getting Those Pretty Flat Lay Photos

'Tis the season for the perfect flat lay photo.

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Summer in Australia is all about the feast, the beach, and the road trip. And there's nothing more important than having fun and showing the world what kind of fun you're having. In the lead up to the holidays, BuzzFeed was invited to watch three local Instagram stars Tara, Ros, and Jason show off their flat lay styling skills, with the help of food stylist Sally Parker. While we watched them work their magic, we asked them to share their secrets.

Summer in Australia is all about the feast, the beach, and the road trip. And there's nothing more important than having fun and showing the world what kind of fun you're having.

In the lead up to the holidays, BuzzFeed was invited to watch three local Instagram stars Tara, Ros, and Jason show off their flat lay styling skills, with the help of food stylist Sally Parker. While we watched them work their magic, we asked them to share their secrets.

1. Tell a story.

"Choose a specific item to highlight your theme and surround it strategically with the other pieces. Adding quirky and unique objects, such as keepsakes, helps create a story and adds a point of difference." - @ripejournal
Roslyn Daroza / Via Instagram: @ripejournal

"Choose a specific item to highlight your theme and surround it strategically with the other pieces. Adding quirky and unique objects, such as keepsakes, helps create a story and adds a point of difference." - @ripejournal

2. It's all about the lighting.

"Avoid shooting in direct sunlight or when there are harsh shadows.  Afternoon window light in the summer is one of my favourite times to flat lay. I find flat laying at night to be one of the hardest times to get a good shot." - @taramilktea
Tara Milk Tea / Via Instagram: @taramilktea

"Avoid shooting in direct sunlight or when there are harsh shadows.  Afternoon window light in the summer is one of my favourite times to flat lay. I find flat laying at night to be one of the hardest times to get a good shot." - @taramilktea

3. Think about your hero piece.

Canon Australia / Via Instagram: @mr_jason_grant

"I love working with tan and neutral colours, then bringing in a pop of colour." - @mr_jason_grant

4. Play around with different sizes for your props.

"Use props that are small. This makes the flat lay look more detailed. If you want to include a large item, make sure there's only one or two, and use it as the hero piece." - @taramilktea
Canon Australia / Via Instagram: @taramilktea

"Use props that are small. This makes the flat lay look more detailed. If you want to include a large item, make sure there's only one or two, and use it as the hero piece." - @taramilktea

5. Pick items that look good from above.

"A good flat lay image is one taken directly with a bird's eye view." - @ripejournal
Roslyn Daroza / Via Instagram: @ripejournal

"A good flat lay image is one taken directly with a bird's eye view." - @ripejournal

6. Create balance.

"If you've used a bright blue item on the left, try to match the piece with a similar-coloured item on the right side." - @taramilktea
Canon Australia / Via Instagram: @taramilktea

"If you've used a bright blue item on the left, try to match the piece with a similar-coloured item on the right side." - @taramilktea

7. Mix up different materials for your background.

"Textiles make for great backgrounds. Try using different materials." - @mr_jason_grant
Jason Grant / Via Instagram: @mr_jason_grant

"Textiles make for great backgrounds. Try using different materials." - @mr_jason_grant

8. Height is important.

"Use a step or stool ... or even a chair if you have no shame! Make sure you can safely get above your flat lay, otherwise you might not be able to see what you are shooting." - @taramilktea
Tara Milk Tea / Via Instagram: @taramilktea

"Use a step or stool ... or even a chair if you have no shame! Make sure you can safely get above your flat lay, otherwise you might not be able to see what you are shooting." - @taramilktea

9. Mix angles and lines.

"Move things around and try different positions until the composition feels just right." - @mr_jason_grant
Jason Grant / Via Instagram: @mr_jason_grant

"Move things around and try different positions until the composition feels just right." - @mr_jason_grant

10. When shooting food, lift it up.

"Use something to raise the food up, like a small plate. It separates the food from your background and makes the plate look better." - @mr_jason_grant
Jason Grant / Via Instagram: @mr_jason_grant

"Use something to raise the food up, like a small plate. It separates the food from your background and makes the plate look better." - @mr_jason_grant

11. EDIT. EDIT. EDIT.

Anna Mendoza / Via Instagram: @ripejournal

"The overall shot should look effortless, so play around, add, remove, and rearrange until you’re happy." - @ripejournal

12. Take a lot of test shots.

Anna Mendoza / Via Instagram: @mr_jason_grant

"See how things shoot. Sometimes what looks great to the eye doesn’t always look great through the lens." - @mr_jason_grant

13. Don't overdo your styling.

"Don’t over complicate it. Remember, sometimes less is more." - @ripejournal
Canon Australia / Via Instagram: @ripejournal

"Don’t over complicate it. Remember, sometimes less is more." - @ripejournal

14. And only do minimal photo editing.

"By slightly adjusting the brightness, contrast, temperature, and sharpness, you can instantly take your relatively OK image to something more polished." - @ripejournal
Roslyn Daroza / Via Instagram: @ripejournal

"By slightly adjusting the brightness, contrast, temperature, and sharpness, you can instantly take your relatively OK image to something more polished." - @ripejournal

This interview was facilitated by Canon Australia.