If one of your goals for 2019 is to achieve the perfect flat lay then look no further. This new series of posts aims to share some of the tips I’ve learnt about styling flat lays.
Flat lay photography has become a staple in the blogging community. From high-end shots that showcase a range of beauty products on a marble table top to swoon worthy snaps of luscious haul items on wooden panelling, flat lays are a fun and creative way to capture products. They are also fairly inexpensive to create if you’re savvy with household items. Cue my DIY approach to achieving the perfect flat lay background.
One of my favourite things to do is use household items as flat lay backgrounds. The background acts as the main body of a flat lay and is the core surface that you layer and add props to. Plenty of bloggers buy foam boards, vinyl backdrops or wooden panels to use as flat lay backgrounds. Although all those surfaces have their perks (I’ll be exploring those in more detail in future blog posts), delving into the world of household items can be a major perk for flat lay newbies.
By using house hold items as flat lay backgrounds, it means the overall process of creating your flat lay is fairly inexpensive. It also gives you to start to develop a flat lay style and experiment with colours and texture you like before investing in large pieces of photography equipment like vinyl backdrops or foam boards. With that in mind, here are 5 household items you can use as a flat lay background if you’re blogging on a budget:
1. Bedding or Throws
Bedding or throws can make a simple yet effective flat lay background. By scrunching up a throw and layering it on a table-top, it can give a photo texture and depth. You can fold a throw in on itself to create a wintery flat lay that creates a sense of cosiness. Alternatively, you can also push the throw or bedding out to create a smoother background that looks clean, crisp and minimal.
2. Wallpaper Samples
If you do want to venturing into the world of paper or vinyl backdrops, a great place to start is by collecting free wallpaper samples from home furnishing or decorating stores. When I first started shooting flat lays, I did this a lot and managed to pick up some amazing papers that I used as backgrounds. All-in-all it’s a savvy way to start practising photographing on paper. It will also give you a feel for what patterns and textures you like – something that’s important if you do decide to invest in larger photography backgrounds in the future.
3. Free Printables
Another way to start experimenting with paper backdrops is by printing your own. Search stock photo sites and find textures or patterns you like. You can then print these textures or patterns via your home computer and lay them out on a table to use as a flat lay background.
4. Clothing or Fabric
Similarly to bedding or throws, clothing or scraps of fabric also make great free flat lay backgrounds. I often use items of clothing to brighten up a flat lay or give it a sense of personality. Case in the point: the photo above. In this snap, I’ve added a stripe jumper and pair of light wash jeans to give a pop of colour to a plain white table.
5. Chopping Boards
Okay, this idea might sound a little strange but bear with me. if you’re after a wooden effect for a backdrop, try photographing your props and products on a chopping board. The board can be shot close-up so only the wooden surface is showing within the frame. Alternatively, it can also be shot from a distance and create an extra background layer for your flat lay sprucing up an otherwise sparse table.
I’ve recently been using chopping boards in a lot of the flat lays I create for clients. Not only are they a great way to draw attention to certain props, but they are also ideal if you want to create a rustic Instagram aesthetic or like the idea of photographing a wood texture, without splurging on a large sheet of it.
And there we have it! Those are my 5 favourite household items that you can use as a flat lay background. With the exception of wallpaper samples, the chances are you already own a few of them.
In addition to being somewhat inexpensive, one of the reasons I love using household items as flat lay backgrounds is how easy they are to store. Throws can be folded and stored on a shelf, wooden chopping boards can closed away in a kitchen cupboard and wallpaper samples can rolled up and put in a magazine rack. You don’t have to worry about bending a foam board by squishing it in a tight corner or filing a spare room up with large sheets of vinyl.
Let me know what your favourite flat lay backgrounds are in the comments below. You can also find out more flat lay tips, by visiting the rest of the blog. Until next time.