Working with influencers on a daily basis means being constantly on top of trends and new ways of creatively collaborating with brands.

Undoubtedly, Instagram posts are the influencer’s new way of making the big bucks; I’m not joking, look it up — numbers range from 500 to 50k — dollars, pounds, euros (you name it).

An effective way to create beautiful images worthy of your portfolio (and the brand’s money) are flatlays and compositions.

However, not all flat lays were made equal. In fact, in order to stand out, you want to make sure that your flatlay tells a story. A good composition collates the visual assets of your brand as well as your unique personality.

Today, we are focusing on five tips to create visually stunning flatlays.

1. Use consistent light and textures

It doesn’t matter if you are taking your photos with an iPhone or an SLR, you want to make sure you nail the lighting. Ultimately, you do not want to use a flash, but instead, opt for a natural light source next to a window. One of the easiest ways to give your photo a consistent appearance is to use objects that fit in with the same colour theme and textures. Depending on your style, you may resonate with earthy textures and colours, white and sleek surfaces, or rustic and dark (think marble and old trays). You can pick up most textures, boards and linen materials at art supply and pound stores.

2. Craft your style

A good exercise is to focus on what you’re naturally drawn to — most of the time all you need to do is go to your own feed to check in with yourself and find out what this is. Or, to shake up things, you may want to follow new accounts. It’s an unspoken secret that most people have been collecting screenshots of ideas in the early stages for when they were feeling uninspired.

3. Bring it to life

Photos feel more alive when you introduce live elements. For more lifestyle-oriented photos, think plants, freshly cut flowers, or crystals, if you feel inclined. Food bloggers will be more likely to use raw ingredients and herbs as well as colourful spices.

4. Less is more

Especially when focusing on a product for a sponsored post, first decide where you want to place the object of focus and then build around it. White space allows the objects to breathe. Think about your photo as a canvas — pop-up art is beautiful, but the whole point of it is to be loud. You want to be compelling and — I know, I just went there.

5. Be prepared

If you are set to create a series of posts for similar brands, shoot a variety of photos in the same setting: switch out a few key items and shoot again so you get a few variations. Make sure you have an easy way to transfer images to your laptop or phone for optimal editing. These little hacks save time, and since your flatlays were shot in the same lighting and style, they’ll be more consistent.

Ultimately, getting the perfect flatlay involves practise, trial and error and a good set of props. The more compelling your photos are, the better opportunities you’ll find in the future.