We all love a beautiful flat lay photo on Instagram – flowers, jewellery, perfume bottles, coffee, fruit filled Voss water bottle, magazines, watches and sunglasses all make for a classic flat lay photo, as does using sheepskins, marble and white wooden tables as the background. But this is all oh so fashion. What about travel?!

Yes, us travel kids also like to take a good flat lay. Whether it be our pre flight essentials or our hotel keepsakes, we love showing off our passport, plane ticket, carry on bag, travel diary, Lonely Planet travel guide, currency, cameras, maps and much more.

But how do you take better flat lay travel photos? We all know great lighting and styling are the foundation of a great flat lay photo but why is it that no matter how much good lighting you use and how much wobbling you do standing on a chair trying to snap the perfect flat lay, the photos still doesn’t quite look like the way you planned it would? With that in mind, below are my top tips for taking better flat lay travel photos for Instagram. And if you have some tips as well, please feel free and share them in the comments section below. Would love to hear your ideas!

Use different backgrounds Travelling the world gives offers many opportunities to shoot your flat lay on textured backgrounds. Think colourful tiles, polished concrete, bathroom marble flooring, printed rugs, crumbled hotel bed sheet and whitewash timber boards. Changing your background makes for a great travel flat lay.

Keep colours tonal Flat lay photos always look better when the colours of the items are similar, so keep this in mind when gathering your items together.

Start with the hero piece Always start with your most striking hero piece first. Place this in the middle or to a corner and build the flat lay around this. This could be a map of New York, a desk globe or your passport.

Make sure items are neatly placed The best flat lay photos are those that are styled neatly. It’s more appealing to the eye and allows viewers to be drawn into the photo, rather than be repelled by the chaos of a messy flat lay.

Always use natural light Make sure you use natural lighting. Set your flat lay up outside your apartment or office, or set your flat lay up next to a window with lots of natural light. Shoot with even light or under the shadows of a palm tree, as an example.

Shoot in with symmetry and in square Use the Rule of Thirds to make your flat lay engaging. If you’re shooting with a phone, select to shoot in square. If you’re shooting with an SLR, be mindful that you need to crop the photo to fit into a square – its super frustrating styling and shooting a flat lay photo only to realise you can’t fit everything in the photo the way you wanted to when you go to upload it onto Instagram. So be mindful of this.

Shoot from above Shooting a flat lay can be somewhat interesting. To get the best direct overhead shot, my biggest tip is to stand on a chair above the flat lay but don’t get in the way of the natural light as this will only cast a shadow over the flay lay.

Give your flat lays a point of difference Use daring prints, find interesting textures for your background and use different objects to add a point of difference to your flat lay photos. Post cards, hotel keys, Polaroid travel photos, room service menus and travel keepsakes all make a fun snap!

How to take better flat lay photos Flat lay by Mister Weekender

Flat lay by Mister Weekender

How to take better flat lay photos Flat lay by Shine By Three

How to take better flat lay photos Flat lay by Friend in Fashion