Photo: Sherli Chong 

You already know the basics like building a theme around a "hero" object and finding a good spot with great natural lighting. But what's next? 

1. Be expertly effortless

Pick a subject and theme, then build the picture around it. But the elements of your flat lay don’t always have to line up perfectly. Layer them on top of one another instead, so you get a more natural and lived-in look. Everything should look like it just happened to fall into place.

2. Stick your hands in

Photo: Hoe I Yune

A hand or foot in the picture makes it look more candid, and gives it a sense of movement. Cup your latte in your hands, or leave your legs (with feet in cute bedroom slippers, of course) in the frame if you're doing a flat lay of items on your bed. 

3. Edit, edit, edit

Instead of using pre-installed filters that come with apps like VSCO, Foodie and Snapseed, switch to the manual settings. That way, you can adjust the intensity of the highlights, the contrast, and the grain of the picture to your exact preferences. It'll totally appeal to your control-freak tendencies. 

ALSO READ: What Does It Take To Nail The Perfect Flatlay? We Follow A Day In The Life Of A Singaporean Instagrammer

4. Don't shy away from the shadows

Photo: Sherli Chong

Natural lighting always makes for a nice shot, but use shadows liberally if you want a more dramatic picture. Try snapping a picture at noon under the harsh sunlight. You'll like what you see. 

5. Use colours and textures

Photo: Sherli Chong

Change up your backgrounds and play with textures like wood, concrete and linen that provide contrast to other items in the picture - so they pop rather than appear washed out. Look to Instagrammer Tara Whiteman (@taramilktea) for inspiration - she's attracted a strong following with her vibrantly coloured flat lays. 

6. Ace the need-to-know hacks

Show off your #ootd in a flat lay. Create structure by folding clothes in half along the vertical and horizontal lines. Don't sweat it if your feet are in the frame - just slip on a cute pair of shoes. Taking snaps of your makeup? Blu-tack is the pro Instagrammer's little secret. Tuck it underneath lippies and mascara so that they stay in exactly the position your visualised for the picture. And finally, a cup of tea or a bunch of dried flowers breathe life into your photo, especially if you don't want hands or feet to feature. 

ALSO READ: How To Be An Ultimate Instagrammer: 5 Tips To Gain More Followers

This story was originally published in the November 2017 issue of Her World magazine.