Selfie was Oxford's word of the year in 2013 when it took social networks by storm. Although the usage and introduction of the term can be traced to a decade before that, it really became commonly used since 2013. With selfies changing the playing field, if you are wondering what's next it's probably #flatlay.
Basic definition – A flat lay is a picture of items or things taken from the top so as to give an impression of them laying flat on the ground i.e two dimensional.
Remove the depth from the picture and you are left with a flatlay.
Flatlay has become very popular on Instagram lately and there are numerous blogs on how to create the perfect flatlay.
There are many competitions that ask for flatlay entries and it's quite inspiring to see what the various participants come up with. Let's say some people have mastered it.
Flatlays are perfect for still life; some of the most common flatlays depict outfits and accessories that go with it (#ootd a.k.a outfit of the day). Lay it down in a beautiful way and you have a winner. Not all objects make good subjects for flatlays, food generally doesn't make a good flatlay (there are exceptions though), however shoes, accessories clothes, makeup, packed suitcases and pictures always enhance the flatlay.
I'm no flatlay expert, however here are some tips that I've found helpful:
Choose a background that will contrast with the items
Choose a plain background, so the items can retain the spotlight
White backgrounds are very popular
Leave a healthy gap between the items
Choose items that blend in e.g in terms of usage/colour themes
Try out a few different layouts for the same set of items and see what looks better when pictured from the top
Follow these simple tips and voila, you have a flatlay.