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Tips For Shooting Stunning Travel Flat Lays


by Ebonee Crain



Welcome to the world of travel flat lays, where creativity meets wanderlust! If you’re an avid traveler or just someone who loves documenting your trips in a visually stunning way, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore the art of shooting captivating travel flat lays and provide you with tips on how to take your travel photography to the next level.


A travel flat lay is a type of photography where various items, such as travel essentials, souvenirs, and personal belongings, are arranged on a flat surface to tell a story about a destination or a travel experience. It’s a unique and artistic way to capture the essence of a place and create visually appealing compositions.


Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist looking to improve your skills, these tips will help you create stunning travel flat lays that will impress your friends and followers on social media. So let’s dive in and discover how you can master the art of shooting captivating travel flat lays!


Finding the Perfect Location

When it comes to shooting travel flat lays, finding the right location is crucial. The setting should complement the theme or story you want to portray in your flat lay composition. Here are some tips on finding the perfect location:

  1. Scout for interesting backdrops: Look for visually appealing surfaces or backgrounds, such as rustic wooden tables, colorful textiles, or even unique floor tiles. These elements can add depth and visual interest to your flat lay.
  2. Consider the destination: If you’re shooting a travel flat lay to showcase a specific location, try to find spots that capture the essence of that place. For example, if you’re in a beach destination, consider shooting on the sand or near palm trees to create a tropical vibe.
  3. Look for natural light: Good lighting is essential for any type of photography, including flat lays. Seek out locations with ample natural light, such as near windows or in outdoor spaces. Soft, diffused light will help create beautiful, even lighting for your flat lay composition.
  4. Experiment with different environments: Don’t limit yourself to shooting indoors. Head outdoors to parks, coffee shops, or bustling streets to add a sense of location and context to your travel flat lay. The environment can add a unique touch to your composition and tell a story about the destination.

Remember, the location you choose sets the stage for your travel flat lay. It should complement the items you’ll be including in your composition and help convey the mood and atmosphere you want to capture. Keep an eye out for interesting backdrops, consider the destination you’re highlighting, and make the most of natural light and different environments to create visually engaging travel flat lays.


Choosing the Right Props

Props play a crucial role in creating visually captivating travel flat lays. They add depth, interest, and a personal touch to your composition. Here are some tips to help you choose the right props for your travel flat lays:

  1. Consider the theme: Think about the story or theme you want to convey through your flat lay. Are you showcasing a beach vacation? A city adventure? Choose props that align with the theme and evoke the desired atmosphere. For example, seashells, sun hats, and sunglasses would work well for a beach-themed flat lay.
  2. Balance the size and quantity: A variety of prop sizes and quantities can create an aesthetically pleasing composition. Include larger items to serve as anchors or focal points and fill in the surrounding space with smaller props. Maintaining a balance ensures that the flat lay doesn’t feel cluttered or empty.
  3. Consider texture and color: Incorporating different textures and colors can add visual interest to your flat lay. Choose props with contrasting textures, such as soft fabrics, shiny objects, or rough surfaces, to create a dynamic composition. Similarly, select props that complement or contrast with each other in terms of color to make your flat lay visually appealing.
  4. Personalize with meaningful items: Include personal items that hold significance or a sentimental value to you. It could be a well-worn travel journal, a beloved souvenir, or a cherished accessory. These items add a personal touch to your flat lay and make it more unique and meaningful.

Remember, the props you choose should enhance the overall composition and contribute to the story you want to tell. They should be relevant to the theme, visually appealing, and add depth and interest to the flat lay. Take the time to curate a collection of props that will bring your travel flat lays to life and make them stand out.


Creating a Captivating Composition

Creating a captivating composition is key to capturing attention and telling a visually compelling story with your travel flat lay. Here are some tips to help you create an engaging and visually appealing composition:

  1. Start with a focal point: Choose a main item or element that will serve as the focal point of your composition. This could be a landmark, a unique souvenir, or a prominent object that represents the theme or destination you’re showcasing. Place it strategically to draw the viewer’s eye and anchor the composition.
  2. Arrange items in an organized way: Avoid a cluttered or haphazard arrangement by organizing your props in a deliberate manner. Consider using the rule of thirds, where you divide your composition into a 3×3 grid and place important elements along the intersecting lines. This creates a visually pleasing and harmonious composition.
  3. Create depth and dimension: Experiment with layering to add depth and dimension to your flat lay. Place objects at different heights or angles to create visual interest and make the composition more dynamic. This can be achieved by using props of varying sizes or elevating some items with the help of books or small objects.
  4. Use leading lines: Incorporate leading lines into your composition to guide the viewer’s eye and create a sense of movement. These can be lines formed by props, surfaces, or even shadows. Leading lines help to create a visual flow and draw attention to key elements within the flat lay.
  5. Leave enough negative space: Negative space refers to the empty areas around your props. Leaving enough negative space helps to balance the composition, allows the props to breathe, and creates a sense of simplicity and focus. Don’t be afraid of empty space; it can be just as impactful as the props themselves.

Remember, a captivating composition guides the viewer through the story you’re telling with your travel flat lay. By starting with a focal point, arranging items in an organized manner, creating depth and dimension, using leading lines, and leaving enough negative space, you can create visually stunning compositions that captivate and engage your audience.


Utilizing Natural Light

Natural light can make a significant difference in the quality of your travel flat lays. It provides a soft and flattering illumination that can bring your composition to life. Here are some tips on how to make the most of natural light:

  1. Shoot during the golden hour: The golden hour refers to the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset when the sun provides a warm and soft light. This is often considered the best time for photography, including flat lays. The gentle, angled light during this time adds a beautiful glow and creates long, soft shadows that can add depth and dimension to your composition.
  2. Find the right window: If shooting indoors, position your flat lay near a window that allows for ample natural light. North-facing windows tend to provide soft, diffused light that is ideal for flat lays. Avoid direct sunlight, which can create harsh shadows and uneven lighting. Use sheer curtains or a white sheet to diffuse the light if necessary.
  3. Consider the direction of light: Pay attention to the direction from which the light is coming. Side lighting can create interesting shadows and highlights, adding texture to your props. Backlighting can create a dreamy and ethereal effect, especially for translucent or delicate objects. Experiment with different lighting directions to achieve the desired mood and aesthetic.
  4. Adjust your exposure: Play with your camera or phone settings to adjust the exposure to the natural light. You may need to increase or decrease the exposure depending on the brightness of the light. This will help balance the overall lighting and prevent overexposed or underexposed areas in your flat lay.

Remember, natural light brings a beautiful and authentic quality to your travel flat lays. By shooting during the golden hour, finding the right window, considering the direction of light, and adjusting your exposure, you can make the most of natural light and create stunning compositions that have a natural and inviting glow.


Mastering Depth of Field

Mastering depth of field in your travel flat lays can add an artistic and professional touch to your compositions. Depth of field refers to the range of distance in your image that appears sharp and in focus. Here are some tips for achieving the desired depth of field:

  1. Aperture control: Adjusting the aperture settings on your camera or phone can control the depth of field. A wider aperture (smaller f-number, such as f/2.8 or f/4) creates a shallow depth of field, where only a specific portion of your flat lay is in focus while the background remains blurry. A narrow aperture (larger f-number, such as f/8 or f/16) creates a deeper depth of field, where more of the scene or props are in focus.
  2. Focus on the main element: Identify the main element or focal point in your flat lay and make sure it is sharp and well-focused. This will draw attention to that specific area and create a sense of depth. Use manual focus or tap on the main element on your phone screen to ensure it is in focus.
  3. Create intentional blur: Utilize a shallow depth of field to intentionally blur certain parts of your flat lay. This technique can add a sense of depth and dimension, as the blurred elements provide a visual separation from the sharp ones. Experiment with different angles and distances to achieve the desired effect.
  4. Consider the distance: The distance between your prop and the camera can also impact the depth of field. The closer the object is to the camera, the shallower the depth of field will be. Conversely, increasing the distance between the camera and the props will result in a deeper depth of field.

Remember, mastering depth of field allows you to control what is in focus and what is blurred in your travel flat lays. By adjusting the aperture settings, focusing on the main element, creating intentional blur, and considering the distance between objects and the camera, you can create visually appealing compositions with a sense of depth and dimension.


Incorporating Unique Angles

Adding unique angles to your travel flat lays can bring a fresh perspective and make your compositions visually interesting. Here are some tips for incorporating unique angles in your flat lays:

  1. Overhead shot: The overhead shot is a classic and popular angle for flat lays. It provides a bird’s-eye view of your composition, showcasing all the elements in a clean and organized manner. Use a step stool or table to position yourself directly above the flat lay and capture the scene from a higher vantage point.
  2. Low-angle shot: Switch things up by getting down low and shooting your flat lay from a lower angle. This can add a sense of depth and drama to your composition. Place the camera or phone on the ground or use a tripod to capture the scene from a low perspective.
  3. Side angle shot: Experiment with capturing your flat lay from a side angle. This can provide a different view of the props and create interesting lines and shapes in the composition. Play with the placement of objects and props to guide the viewer’s eye in a specific direction.
  4. Diagonal shot: Angle your camera or phone diagonally across the flat lay for a dynamic composition. This helps create movement and visual interest. Use leading lines or diagonal placement of props to guide the viewer’s eye through the scene.

Remember, incorporating unique angles adds variety and creativity to your travel flat lays. Experiment with overhead shots, low-angle shots, side-angle shots, and diagonal shots to find the angles that best showcase your props and tell your story. By exploring different perspectives, you can capture attention and create visually captivating flat lays that stand out from the crowd.


Editing and Enhancing Your Flat Lays

Editing and enhancing your travel flat lays can take your compositions to the next level and make them truly stand out. Here are some tips for editing and enhancing your flat lays:

  1. Adjust brightness and contrast: Use editing software or apps to fine-tune the brightness and contrast of your flat lay. Increase the brightness to make the image pop, and adjust the contrast to enhance the visual impact of the props and colors.
  2. Enhance colors: Play around with the saturation and vibrance settings to enhance the colors in your flat lay. You can make the colors more vibrant and saturated or opt for a more muted and desaturated look, depending on the mood and aesthetic you want to convey.
  3. Crop and straighten: Use cropping and straightening tools to refine the composition and eliminate any distractions or unwanted elements. This can help create a clean and well-balanced flat lay that draws the viewer’s eye to the main elements.
  4. Apply filters or presets: Experiment with different filters or presets to add a unique and cohesive style to your flat lay. Filters can enhance the mood or create a specific look that aligns with your branding or personal aesthetic. However, use them sparingly to avoid overpowering the overall composition.
  5. Remove imperfections: If there are any minor imperfections in your flat lay, such as dust or stray hairs, use the healing or cloning tool in your editing software to remove them. This will ensure a clean and polished final image.

Remember, editing and enhancing your flat lays allows you to refine and elevate your compositions. Adjust the brightness and contrast, enhance colors, crop and straighten, apply filters or presets, and remove imperfections to create a visually stunning flat lay that is eye-catching and professional-looking.


Sharing Your Stunning Travel Flat Lays

Once you’ve captured and edited your stunning travel flat lays, it’s time to share them with the world. Here are some tips on how to effectively share your travel flat lays:

  1. Choose the right platform: Consider the platform that best suits your target audience and the type of engagement you’re seeking. Instagram, Pinterest, and photography blogs are popular platforms for sharing visually-focused content like flat lays.
  2. Write compelling captions: Craft engaging captions that provide context, share your story, and evoke emotion. Use descriptive language, share interesting details about the destination or props, and invite your audience to interact or ask questions.
  3. Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags help increase the discoverability of your flat lays. Research and use relevant hashtags that are popular within the travel and photography communities. This will help your flat lays reach a wider audience and increase your chances of being featured or noticed by influential accounts.
  4. Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, answer questions, and engage with your audience. Building a community and fostering connections will not only enhance your online presence but also potentially lead to collaborations, brand partnerships, or opportunities for exposure.
  5. Collaborate with others: Look for opportunities to collaborate with other travel or photography enthusiasts. This could involve guest posting on each other’s blogs, sharing each other’s flat lays on social media, or participating in joint photography projects. Collaborations can help you reach a wider audience and gain exposure among like-minded individuals.
  6. Consider storytelling: Don’t just share a single flat lay, but also curate a series of flat lays that tell a narrative or document your travel journey. This can be done through sequential posts or by utilizing the carousel feature on platforms like Instagram. Storytelling adds depth and relatability to your flat lays.

Remember, sharing your travel flat lays is an opportunity to showcase your creativity, inspire others, and build a community. By choosing the right platform, writing compelling captions, using relevant hashtags, engaging with your audience, collaborating with others, and considering storytelling, you can effectively share your stunning travel flat lays and make a lasting impact.



Congratulations! You are now equipped with a wealth of knowledge on how to create stunning travel flat lays that will captivate your audience. By applying the tips and techniques covered in this article, you can elevate your travel photography and tell compelling stories through your compositions.


Remember to start by finding the perfect location that enhances the theme of your flat lay, and carefully select props that complement the narrative you want to share. Pay attention to composition, utilizing unique angles, and mastering depth of field to create visually appealing and dynamic flat lays. Utilize natural light to enhance the mood and atmosphere, and edit your flat lays to refine and enhance their visual impact.


When it comes to sharing your flat lays, choose the right platform, write engaging captions, and use relevant hashtags to increase visibility. Engage with your audience, collaborate with others, and consider incorporating storytelling to create a deeper connection with your followers.


Now it’s time to put these tips into practice and share your stunning travel flat lays with the world. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep experimenting, refining your skills, and capturing the beauty of your travel experiences in unique flat lay compositions. Happy shooting!