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Liz Kasian

Flatlay Collages for Addictive Instagram Feed: Tips from Hip Brands & Top Youtubers

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If you are in the ecommerce business, chances are you use Instagram as your primary channel for social media and your secondary channel for sales. So do 75% of US businesses.

The technical possibilities of the platform are AMAZING: the depth of analytics of the business manager, the immersiveness of the Instant experience ads, the humongous audience is 1 billion users. And yes, 200 million people visit at least 1 business profile a day.

In this piece, we will quickly go through the basic tips on how to make your Instagram feed look good, but we will also deep dive into the specific technicalities & insider tricks of lay flat Gram product images.

Why do you need to improve your Instagram feed?

It’s all about competition really. Businesses compete for the 1-2 seconds of the initial attention of the user. Your feed should be such that resonates with the right target audience, your company's engagement with the Instagram community should be such, that it creates the bubble identical to your user’s profile.

Optimization of a cool feed on Instagram is executed in few dimensions:

  • you optimize the content to compete with everything in a user’s feed

Yes, it is not an equal battle at all, if you are running a small ecommerce business, you have to be the resourceful David I the fight with Goliaths dominating Instagram.

  • you optimize the content to compete with everything they have seen in your own business profile previously:

If you provide the same messages and pretty similar visual content in the frames of your account, your Instagram followers may get bored, minimize their engagement and stop seeing your posts ultimately due to the algorithm.

  • you optimize your Instagram feed to compete with everything they have been exposed to throughout their lives:

Let’s admit it, we are all dopamine junkies and we like to get that boost of the covet dopamine hormone streaming in our blood when we see something exciting or novel. 

You can raise zero brows and deal zero dopamine for your followers when you give them what they’ve already seen, experienced, smiled at before.

Check out the recent @MarkJacobs shoot of SashaMelnychuk trip to a rural town in Ukraine, the town that she comes from. It is human, it is aspiring, it is cosmopolitan, it is authentic, it brings about the sense of the clash of the 2 opposite worlds with the globally famous model being the bridge between them. 

This is how you raise brows. Bravo, Marc Jacobs!

Top methods to create an awesome Instagram feed

There are many methods and best practices on how to make a cool Instagram feed, here is a short review for you before we move on to scrutinize the tips for perfect flat lay collage for Insta.

Pick a grid layout to match your brand identity

Grids make your feed look neat, cute, organized and professional: your ecommerce shop Instagram business page looks like you know what you are doing, basically.

These are the most commonly used layouts:

  • checkerboard
  • diagonal
  • tiles
  • line in the middle
  • row-by-row
  • puzzle feed
  • rainbow feed
  • bordered feed

Even though opting for a certain layout makes your Instagram feed look real sleek, it comes with its major drawback: depending on the feed, you have to stick to the pattern and cannot improvise as much. In a few layouts, you have to post in 3s or 6s or even 9s in order to maintain the general feed as initially intended.

Choose a theme that’ll resonate with your client persona

Themes help you further mold the mood of your Insta feed: is it going to be classic? minimalistic? hipster-ish? light? dark? vintage? 

It is wise to pick a theme if this is part of your brand identity in general. Don’t try to force a theme, that you came across on the net and kinda liked.

Utilizing a theme demands consistency, so once chosen, you kinda get your followers addicted to it and much deviation may work against you.

Select a filter –  if filter does it

Filters are funky and stylish and moody and atmospheric. Filters will definitely make your Instagram more interesting.

One big tip about filters is: only use it if you think one of them is a perfect fit for your product and adds to the brand if it complements your storytelling. As once you have chosen a filter, you have to stick to it.

Think of it as you'd think of marriage. Only wed the best, as this is not an easily disposable bond.

For an awesome Insta feed: shoot quality product photos 

OK, you know we are religious about high-quality professionally executed product photography that converts. So you should be too.

The is no way to sugar-coat it or it is really tough to overestimate the value of the high-resolution eye-capturing product images in your social media business accounts: be it Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest.

It’s kinda as essential for an ambitious ecommerce project now, as the great location used to be to a brick-and-mortar store a few decades ago. If you have it, you keep improving other stuff to beat your competition on the same high street, if you are not on the high street, you are not in the game, full stop.

So, yes, if you wanna DIY your social media-geared product photos or if you have the business acumen and marketing budgets to commission it to a professional creative photo studio – high-quality product imagery is your firm foundation for a successful ecommerce promo.

Best practices of lay flat collage from top YouTubers

Lay flat product photography collages are a huge trend used massively by all brands to create a beautiful Instagram feed. We have watched dozens of YouTube vids on ways to make your Instagram better by utilizing lay flat collages.

Use accessories:

Pernilla Löfberg from Style Shoots recommends using accessories for a perfectly complete look. Bag with a strap, for example, may look funky and add some motion and dynamics into the shot, as you can place them accordingly. 

Overlap items for a playful look

While doing a product photo for a complete look for kids, overlapping the items introduces the kinetics of childhood to the image and makes an entire picture more playful and kinda cute, as per Pernilla’s advice. and well, this way add some life to any flat lay.

Scattered chaotic arrangement vs orderly symmetric one

Choose just how asymmetric and unorderly you want your shots depending on the set of things you are shooting. For a classic look, you might want to bring around a more orderly arrangement that can be associated with the high society or business occasion more than all-over-the-place coordination of items.

Differnent styles, and different vibes examples from @thibtkllehr, @fredrikrisvik, @oliveaveboutique.

Use fabrics for your background to add texture

If you want some texture in your product flat lay collage images for Instagram, you might consider checking out some fabrics. Gemary has a few go-to pieces that she loves – check this video for more. They saturate the images, that she otherwise loves having pretty minimalistic, without overwhelming them.

Use fabrics for instagram flat lays

Use props that are above the flat lay surface level for an extra vibe

Dried flowers, wheat or fresh floral arrangements in a vase that are hanging above the products and props in your image will insinuate a layered presence & dimension to a flat lay collage.

instagram flat lay with dried flowers

Use textured & colorful backgrounds to introduce a needed tone of voice

Jordan Clark stocked up well on the different backgrounds for her shots. She has different fabrics, wood, fur pieces for the background.

Apart from the base, Jordan also recommend props to diversify the flat lay collage are:

  • magazines
  • sunglasses 
  • glitter
  • accessories [like bracelets, earrings, bags]

Here are some examples from the top instagram pages: @anna_brstyle, @flatlay,

flat lay for instagram with props

Get up high and lean as low as needed for a perfect product shot

If you don’t happen to have a special table for shooting but do your flat lay collages on the floor, it makes sense to get up on a sturdy chair to take a picture. You might need to lean quite low though, so make sure your balance is fine and the chair is firmly rooted to the floor for safety reasons.

Use a natural source of light, like a window

For extra visual texture and play of shadows, you can leave the blinds half-open, which embeds so much mood into the shot. This insider tip comes from @Hueguh’s channel.

flat lay with the special light

Beware of the negative space on your product shots collage style

If you aim to create amore minimalistic, clean look, use a negative space. Use it a lot. If you leave more negative space, this will give an image the more open feel. This is about flat lays on white background, but also about any product photo you wantn to create.

Here are some examples of what we mean here + the previous tip. Combo!

You can check @cosmeticsbycaroline, @91_lane and @sabdox for more inspiration.

flat lay with negative space

Use the Light Room App to quickly edit your Gram product images made by iPhone

Light Room for Mac and iPhone is a great and user-friendly app for a quick on-the-go photo editing. You can tweak exposure, white balance, highlights and some more settings in the app for a perfect final look. That's how Hueguh use it.

use light room for a better flat lay results

Best Instagram theme ideas to create a beautiful instagram feed

When it comes to Instagram themes, the sky is the limit. You can go wild and your imagination is your best tool. But our best practice will be to train your eye first, go an explore some of the feeds by your favorite brands. Soak in as many different accounts as you can. Quantity is as important as quality here.

We found this article pretty useful to lay some theoretical knowledge foundation before you go into practice.  

Give a shot to Squareshot

If you have too much to carry on your shoulders as an ecommerce entrepreneur, we suggest you can give our professional product photo studio a try.

Send us an item of yours and we will be delighted to flex our imagination muscles to produce the best attention-grabbing flay lay collage for Instagram. We specialize in producing high-quality product images for clothing ecommerce, product photography for jewelry stores and the beauty industry.

Give us a shot and we’ll give you a square deal. It's a promise.

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