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5 Things You Can Buy To Instantly Elevate Your Flatlay Game

 For a long time, flatlays have been some of my favourite content to create. I love the versatility and how different objects bring different vibes to the picture - like if you add a straw hat to the pic, you instantly get summery vibes. Up until recently, I had just been using bits and bobs from around my home in my pictures but, when I started taking product photos for mine and my boyfriend's Etsy shops, I decided it was time to invest in some actual props to take my flatlays to the next level. So I thought I should share with you my favourite flatlay props and what is actually worth buying if you want to experiment further with this style of content.


A vinyl backdrop

Buying my first backdrop was a bit of a big deal for me. I got my backdrop from Captured By Lucy and it cost just over £30 - which felt like a bit of an investment for me! I opted for a grey slate/concrete style one which is a light grey with areas of darker grey and some textured parts too which gives the shot a lot more depth and actually looks really realistic. The main reason I opted for a backdrop from Captured By Lucy is that her backdrops are made from photos of actual things - like there's one that looks like it is pink floorboards but is actually adapted from a picture that had been taken of a pink painted wooden door with slightly peeling paint and multiple panels. I also love how versatile this backdrop is - I mostly use it for typical 'shot from above' flatlay shots, especially more basic images just for product shots. But I have also experimented with using it as a backdrop to make it look like it was my bathroom wall for a toiletries themed shot - by sellotaping it to the actual bathroom wall! What with it being vinyl too, I can splat it with cocoa powder for shots of chocolates or droplets of water for more natural shots and it wipes off so easily (although we did have an issue with matcha powder that we thought would never come off - but it did!). Honestly, if you want to start creating more professional flatlays or move into product photography, I would definitely recommend a professional backdrop - especially a vinyl one.

A job lot of fabrics

This may sound like a bit of a weird one but bear with me! I was recently on the hunt for a couple of nice pieces of linen to use in shots - as I do a lot of pictures with food and having a 'tea towel' in the shot seems to really add to the homecooking vibe - but after searching for ages, I still couldn't see what I wanted. Then something popped up in a Etsy search that changed the whole game for me - multi packs of coloured muslin cloths! They are thin enough that they don't look bulky; the aren't too long or wide that they dominate the whole shot; and I can always repurpose them for future babies that I may potentially one day have (don't hold your breath quite yet though!). I spent £12 on a pack of 5 different coloured muslin cloths from Tiny Alpaca UK on Etsy and I have used them in so many different pictures. I especially love the deep pink blush kinda one - it looks so gorgeous in pictures! Failing that though, go to Primark and get some tea towels that are either in one colour (preferably a muted tone like a cream or terracotta) or in a monochrome print.


A wooden tray or chopping board

One of my best investments flatlay-wise has been a round wooden chopping board that I use in almost every flatlay I take. I love what natural wood adds to my photos in terms of colour and texture. I also bought a smaller candle tray made from wood too for my product photos for my shop and it works really well with the grey slate effect background. It really depends on what your style is but I love adding natural elements to my photography - things like wood for coasters and twine baskets and things like that create a really nice, cottagecore-esque vibe that I really like. Having a tray also helps add height to different things to bring them to the forefront of the shot which is good if you are trying to focus on one specific item within the shot and make that the focal point of the picture.

Flowers

This is a really big one for me. I love using flowers in everything I shoot - but especially during spring and summer. White flowers like babybreath are good just to add texture and soften a shot but you can also use brighter flowers to add pops of colour to the image and guide the eye towards the main subject of the image. I also love adding dried flower petals to my pictures to fill in any blank spaces and make the image more cohesive. A good tip is to trim the flowers short and put them in a clear jar for a more rustic vibe. 


Magazine or books

I love using magazine and books in my more casual flatlays. If I am trying to give the impression that I am just at home and I want to create a more relaxed and less contrived feel, I add a book or magazine to the shot - especially if there is a specific shoot in a magazine that I feel works with the set up and colours or if I just think it is really beautiful. The most recent example of this has been the editorial afro hair shoot in Glamour which was absolutely stunning. The colours used in the shots were so pretty and classic whilst also showcasing the beauty of afro hair - something I would love to see more of in an editorial setting. Books also work to give a shot a more homely vibe and, I think, works especially well in autumnal shots.

What's your ultimate flatlay prop?

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