5 Household Items for Flat Lay Photography

Flat lays, or a bird’s eye view photos, have been around for a while, and they aren’t going anywhere soon. Whether you’re a photographer, own a small business, or just appreciate a pretty photo, there’s a good chance you have been playing around with flat lay photography. There are so many styling accessories available for purchase these days from backdrops, to ribbon, and all sorts of vintage items. This site has everything you need and more for some amazing styled shots. But, if you’re on a tighter budget, keep reading for 5 household items that will take your flat lays to the next level.

1) Scrapbook Paper

When you’re in need of a backdrop in a hurry, a piece of scrapbook paper will do the trick! You’ll have to keep in mind the size of the items you want to photograph because scrapbook paper is usually 12″x12″. My favourite thing about scrapbook paper is that there are no limits to the amount of colours and patterns available. I used a linen textures sheet for the all of the shots above, which adds the perfect amount of texture.

2) Cheesecloth

Cheesecloth adds so much texture to a flat lay. It is also so forgiving to work with! Instead of using ribbon, which can be expensive and finicky to get into place, try a piece of cheesecloth. If you’re looking to add even more pop to your photo, cheesecloth is super easy to dye. I dyed mine naturally with turmeric for a light yellow hue, but you could use fabric dye to get a custom colour. If you do want to try dyeing your own cheesecloth there’s a great tutorial here. My favourite way to drape the cheesecloth is in an organic diagonal line across the shot.

3) Jar Band

Can you spot the difference between the two photos below? The difference is that the invitation on the right is tiered on few different heights. This gives it so much more visual pop to the image. When I’m styling a flat lay, I always have some jar bands handy to give items extra height, especially when I’m shooting stationary. Depending on what you are styling, you could use books, your camera lens cap, or any other item to give your image more dimension. This is probably the easiest way to level up your flat lay photography.

4) Serving Trays

If you are new to taking flat lay photos, a tray will be your best friend. They not only help fill the photo, but create a frame for whatever you are trying to feature. When selecting a tray, try to keep in mind the style of the items that you will be styling. I styled the same invitation using two different trays, and the final product is completely different. I thrifted the brass tray above for under $10. You really don’t need to spend a fortune to collect some styling basics! If you are out shopping for a tray, make sure it has a wide, flat bottom. This will make it so much easier to lay out your pieces.

5) A Linen Shirt

Similar to the cheesecloth, a linen shirt is a great way to add texture to a flat lay. It’s hard to believe that the backdrop for the photos below was a white button-up shirt. I love using linen because it isn’t too heavy to drape, and has a very subtle texture. Just like the scrapbook paper, you can use any colour of shirt that compliments your items. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a classic white backdrop!

There you have it, 5 household items that will improve your flat lay shots. I hope you feel ready to give some of these tips a try! You definitely don’t need to spend a fortune to create some beautifully styled images!

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