How to Create a Quick + Easy Holiday Flat Lay for Instagram

Hey Gangsta Boss! I'm super excited about today's blog post because we're talking about a problem I hear from tons of small shop owners about the Holiday seasons. Around this time of year usually I get the typical email... "Hi Lindsay, I see you posted some fun Holiday themed flat lays today and I was wondering if you could share how you create them? I have no idea where to start, I'm not creative enough".

I hate getting these emails because you absolutely don't have to be creative to pull these off... yes, you heard that right, you don't have to be a creative genius to throw together some really awesome Holiday flat lays. It's actually so much easier than you think yo. So today, I'm showing you exactly how to create them yourself, HOLLA!

Make sure to snag my Holiday Flat Lay Guide HERE, where I share the EXACT apps and filters I use so my flat lays always look professional, clean and branded. Helping you create killer Holiday flat lays yourself in just a matter of minutes :)


how to create the perfect holiday flat lay for Instagram


So if you're anything like me, you've probably spent a TON of time on Pinterest trying to figure out how turn your brand into Holiday mode around this time of year. You know, trying to recreate that super cute flat lay you saw someone post the other day. 

But you start to get frustrated because there really isn't anywhere that actually shows you the behind the scenes, what props they used, how they got that perfectly white background, what filters they used.

Well today's your lucky day because I'm doing just that. Pulling back the curtain and showing you exactly step-by-step how to get that perfect flat lay even if you don't have a creative bone in your body. It took me awhile to figure it out, the perfect lighting, the perfect background, the perfect props... so I can't wait to share it with your now, hopefully saving you some freaking time!

Let's get it started... in heeeeeeeeeeeere! <--- in my best Black Eyed Peas voice

Keep reading to see how I created these Holiday themed flat lays (below).


Pick a background

First things first, you have to have a background. Sure, it would be amazing to have a full on photography studio in your office, but let's face it... most of us don't have the money for all that fancy shmancy equipment. Backdrops, super high tech cameras, lighting lamps galore. 

It's super simple to trick your audience into thinking you're a pro with just a simple poster board. Yup, that's all you need. You can find all kinds of different colored ones here, here or here


neon poster board for flat lays
colored poster board for flat lays
white poster board


Another great option for backgrounds if you want to have a little more fun is using some wrapping paper you might have lying around the house, blankets, pillows, rugs etc. 

In my case, I mostly use just a plain white poster board and dress it up with some props and/or decorative images. 


Choose your product to highlight

Then you need to decide which product(s) you'll be highlighting in the flat lay. Once you know what you'll be using in the photo, you'll want to lay it on your background exactly how you'll want it to lay on the background. The reason why you want to do this is because you'll want to see how much space you have left around the product.

This will give you an idea of how much room you have for props. Will you be able to fit in a few lager props, or will you need a ton of small tiny props? It will also let you help as a guide for colors you can use. 

pick your props

This is where you go all Holiday crazy. The props is the secret sauce, it's what transforms your usual flat lay into the perfect Holiday flat lay everyone envies. 

And once you have an idea how much space you have for props, you can go on the hunt. Too many times I see people over thinking this. I like to go to the dollar section at Target and pick out a few things (especially because this sections is usually stocked with seasonal knick knacks).

Hobby Lobby and the dollar store also great choices. Sometimes I even go shopping in my toddlers closet for gifts she may have gotten from last year that would fit in perfectly for this holiday themed flat lay.

For my Halloween flat lay, I picked up a box of these, these, these and these.


halloween rings for holiday flat lay
halloween stickers for flat lay
halloween fangs for holiday flat lay
halloween tattoos for holiday flat lay


Again, try not to over think your props. Many times you can just pick up a few items you already have laying around the house. In the flat lay shown below, I just pulled out my x-mas box and snagged a few items I thought would work... tiny stocking, garland, tree ornaments, Christmas cards, etc. And I played around until I found the ones that worked for this particular photo. Easy peasy right?


Christmas themed holiday flat lay for instagram

Click the button below to download my Holiday Flat Lay Guide, where I share the exact apps and filters I use to create the perfect lighting, color, branding etc.


Lighting is key

Alright, now that you've got your background, product and props... it's time to take that photo yo! But first, we have to figure out WHERE we're taking the pic.

First off, there's nothing worse than posting a flat lay that looks a bit yellow or blue or dark. Even though we're taking these pics on our living room floor, you don't want your followers to KNOW that. You want it to look professional and the key to that is the lighting. Trust me here.

Lighting will make or break your photo. So I'm going to show you EXACTLY how to master it so your photos look 100% every time.

First, you'll want to pick a spot in front of a window. For me, this is usually in my home office where I have a window that has shutters. 

You don't want direct sunlight otherwise you can get a super high reflection off your background or it can make your photo look washed out, yellow or blue. So a window with blinds or shutters is idea. That way if the sun is shining directly through, you can move the binds up or down to redirect the light. See image below.


flat lay for instagram


What you're really wanting is a soft overcast of light, like on a cloudy day. There's still sunlight coming through, but it's not scorching your eyes. 



Yup! the next thing you want to do is play around with placement. Flat lays are so much more fun when they aren't perfect. Mess things up a bit and play around. Move your props in all different ways, move the product you're highlighting in different positions, change the lighting up, etc. 

Don't be afraid to try something new. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect and most flat lays look best when they look like they happened on accident. But how do you get that perfectly "accidental" photo you see so many others posting? They have a secret and I'm totally sharing it with you today. They use the rule of thirds and the rule of odds.

The rule of thirds

This is a trick photographers use to get that perfect shot. If you divide your photo into 9 equal parts (2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines) you'll get 4 intersections. The rule of thirds state that you should place you photos main focus along these lines or intersections in order to add more interest and balance to your pic. 

flat lay guide

Rule of odds

Photos with odd elements are more interesting and pleasing to the eye. Meaning, flat lays with odd items just flat out look better. So when you're staging your flat lay, try using an odd number of props, odd number of products to highlight, etc. For some reason, which I have no idea why, your photos always turn out looking awesome!


Don't get stuck on taking one pic and moving on. Go crazy, sometimes it takes me 15-20 tries to get the perfect pic. Take about 5 pics from one spot, take another 5 from another angle, move things around till it looks just right then snap a few more. This way you'll have plenty to work from. 

Take a look through all of them and narrow it down to your favorites.

FILTErs are your best friend

The last and finally thing you need to create that perfect Holiday flat lay, is tweaking it up a bit with some filters. Open up your pics in your favorite photo editing apps and go to town. Try a few different combinations of filters to see what looks best. Remember to stay on brand with your current feed. You want your Holiday posts to still look like you!

I have my favorite apps and filters I like to use that help finish off my photos to give that professional, clean feeling. Without my filters, my flat lays would be crap. They completely transform my pics and I can't live without them. I normally only share these apps and filters in my Instagram King course.

Buuuuuuuut, today I'm giving them away. Just click the button below to download my Holiday Flat Lay Guide where I spill my favorites: