Holiday

Flatlay Styling + Affordable Props

There are two things I wish I realized about photography when I started this blog. One: you have to fake till you make it. Two: you have to work with what you’ve got.

There’s this one thing about blogging that really bothers me: it’s the idea that everything needs to be perfect. Including blog photography. It’s the idea that every blogger should live in a house with huge windows, all-white interior, a french bulldog and has always perfectly manicured nails (the blogger.. not the french bulldog..I hope)  .And here’s the thing: we all blog for different reasons. Just because someone wants to start a blog doesn’t mean that they’re planning to quit their job and pursue blogging as a career. Just because YOU want to get better at blogging or photography, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re planning to turn it into a business.
And maybe, you are- and that’s awesome too!

If you’re just starting a blog and getting into photography, it might feel a bit overwhelming. You want your pictures to look a certain way NOW, without realizing that it’s actually a process and you will have to learn a few things. Here’s where the “fake till you make it” attitude comes in.
I remember a few motnhs ago telling my mom that we need to re-paint all the walls in our home and get rid of all the furniture because I want everything to be white. She looked at me and said “um… why?” “well.. because it’s for my blog. I want bright pictures!“. Of course, she started laughing, and told me that I’m nuts. Rightfully so. See, I fell into this trap of wanting  everything to be white, bright and perfect. I didn’t realize that I could create exact images I wanted, without redecorating my entire house.

Today, I will be sharing with you easy ways to create beautiful flatlays! Before we dive in to the tips, I thought it would be useful to share some of what I believe to be essential props to find around the house or purchase so that your flatlays can be poppin!

Books & Magazines

Using magazines is probably one of my favorite ways to “dress up” my shots. I always have a lot of beauty and fashion magazines just sitting around and for some strange reason, I always  have hard time recycling them- I definitely have some hoarding tendencies. Good news is- they come in handy whenever I take flatlay photos. The same thing goes for books- especially the ones with pretty covers. When taking beauty product shots, I’m always careful not to get any makeup on my books, so keep that in mind.

Jewelry

Small rings, necklaces, pretty earrings can easily add a little something extra to your blog images. I find that this works best especially when it comes to flat-lay style of photos.

Throws & Rugs

These are great for adding some texture into your shots. I like to use anything from rugs, to patterned blankets or even white bed sheets. Sometimes when I style my blog photos, I feel like they seem a bit “empty”- almost as if there was something missing. That’s when I usually reach for one of my throws or little rugs and use them to add some texture to my shots.


Stationery

Pretty much any stationery products also work, especially for lifestyle photography. Bouclair is a pretty affordable place where you can find a ton of cute stuff.

Food

I wasn't planning on adding this one but I noticed that food was used a ton in our recent flatlays and I love the different textures they can add to a picture. Cookies, donuts, macarons all work great!


Candles
I mean can’t you tell I love using candles for photography styling? It’s probably because I always have a ton of them sitting around and promised myself not to buy another candle until the summer because I’m getting out of control. White, black or rose gold jars always work best I think and if I use a candle that I already burned, I always make sure to wipe off the soot and clean it up a bit.

When it comes to finding those affordable photography props, I’d say first take a look at what you already have sitting around your house/apartment/room (nothing is more affordable than using something that you already have). You’d be surprised at all the little props you can find around (I mean, one of my favorite props is a cheese board..). When buying little knick-knacks just for the purpose of styling your shots, I’d definitely suggest storing them all together in a box so that when you take your photos, you can easily grab them.

And.. don’t go to crazy. Don’t think that you have to spend a lot of money on those little props.
Of course I am not saying that styling or “dressing” your photos is a must (some of my favorite bloggers use just plain white background for their product shots) but if you start feeling that all of your images are starting to look a bit similar and you feel a bit bored with them, trying to style them can be really fun. I also think that it’s a great way to add some personality to your blog photos and make them unique.

So, now that we have the props down, how should you use them to make a killer flatlay?!


1.Lighting can mean the difference between a gray, blurry mess and a bright wonder-thing of a 'gram. But you don't need fancy studio lights to make it happen. Natural lighting in the morning is the best and if shadows are a huge issue in your photos, shoot on a cloudy day. The type of light emitted in that environment helps diffuse shadows and create fewer of them.


2. Use some plasticine clay from your local craft store to keep rolling products like curlers or shampoo bottles in place. Simply pinch off a bit of the clay and use it to adhere your products to your surface of choice. Your items won't roll around or fall out of place, and you can reuse the clay next time you take a flat lay.


3.Use a really simple backdrop for the products – I usually use a white art board that I lug around with me, or some simple floor boards or marble bench tops can work nicely too. The simpler the background is the more product you can include without making it too busy and messy


4. Tell a story ! Flatlays Flat Lay are compelling because they brings a lot of disparate elements together. But it’s also about the narrative of your image, as conveyed by the things you select, and how you place them. It can be something as simple as “Sunday Brunch” or as expansive as “my trip to Europe,” but your photo should tell a story, and not only showcase off a collection of items

5. It’s really important that you develop your own style rather than trying to copy someone else, particularly as flat lays have become so common. Its nice to see one that has a unique touch, so don’t be afraid to play around with things – even if its using flowers, the use of text, or even different angles



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