6 Background Boards That Will Up Your Flat Lay Game

Do you STRUGGLE to make your flat-lays look professional? Are they lacking the POP to make them stand out? Is scrapbook paper your go-to background? Then it's time to up your flat-lay photography game! I've been honing my flat-lay game for the past few years and I've learned a few tricks and found some great supplies to make my photos stand out on social media. Join me over the next few weeks to learn how I create better flat-lay photos that get MORE CLICKS and MORE LIKES on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

6 background boards.png

Our first flat-lay topic: Background Boards

Let's start with the basic backbone of a good flat-lay. Background boards are an absolute must have if you want to showcase your work or product. Not only does having an attractive background cause your photo to stand out, having the right background for your shot allows your product or art to stand out. Using a good flat-lay board adds better texture to your photos and are often more photogenic than a flat piece of colored paper. Scrapbook paper can add some fun color and design to your shots but it can also be distracting and overwhelming if you are trying to showcase products. (Don't throw out your paper stash yet though! We'll talk about using them in a later post on adding pop to your pics.


Here are some of my FAVORITE flat-lay boards that I recommend for flat-lays shots of jewelry, stationery, makeup, etc. These can can even be used for staged upright shoots of plants, glassware, pottery, whatever you need to photograph!

 

1. Feather Park Lettering

Lucky me, I got to sample a flat-lay board from Gina at Feather Park Lettering in a GORGEOUS blue. Gina's boards are quite stunning, lightweight, and very sturdy. Her board line is currently in the works, but I can tell you already that you are going to love the colors she has lined up for her release. I've used my sample board for flat-lays and upright shots and I'm jonesing for more colors and sizes because I'm IN LOVE! Super plus side: these won't dent or flake if you need to place heavier objects on them like table settings or big rocks (yes, I use big rocks in some of my shots!). Be the first to know when these are available.


2. Medium Boards

I came across Medium Boards while searching Amazon.com and I'm so happy I took a chance to try out their marble board. Not only is it cheaper than real marble, it's a lot lighter! Besides being a bit heavy and cumbersome, my real marble boards are also much too small to be useful. Medium Boards are a great size and are easy to store since they are so thin and lightweight. They look pretty convincing too! A plus to real stone: no shine or glare! The downside: they are more sensitive than plaster and stone backgrounds to heavy objects and scratching.


3. One Stone West

These beautiful boards are quite stunning and classy. I will admit that I have not yet invested in my own board from them, but all the shots I've seen using their plaster boards makes me know I really need one! They have a wonderful organic look in a variety of soft and moody tones. One Stone West also offers canvas backdrops that are large enough for bigger scale photo shoots that go beyond the flat-lay.


4. Ink and Elm

Vinyl is always a win for any messy photo shoot. If you're using liquids or foods, Ink and Elm has the perfect high-quality vinyl drops. One of the benefits to using vinyl drops over plaster, wood or stone backgrounds: travel. Ink and Elm makes it easy to pack-and-go for off site photo shoots. They are also versatile since you can use them flat or as a backdrop without adding much weight or storage space for larger sizes. (Psssst: One of these will be making a special appearance in a later post!)


5. Photo Boards

For those of you on the other side of pond, Photo Boards a UK company that makes amazing flat-lay boards. With lots of color ways, textures and tones, there are definitely backdrops and boards for every shoot theme. They are also great for food photography as they are easily cleanable. I definitely have a few of these on my wishlist!


6. Every-Day Backgrounds

When you're just starting out and low on supplies or money, look no further than your home or neighborhood for a great background. Utilize your heirloom kitchen table or your deck for a fun wood surface. Maybe your local coffee shop has a bad-ass tile floor that you can spread out on near a window or you have some tile in your kitchen or bathroom that could add a little pop to your photo. Blankets, rugs, fabric, shawls, patios, gravel drives...all fari game. They key to making an ordinary background is dressing it up to go beyond the basic. But more on styling next week.

 

Have you tried any of these flat-lay board or backdrops? Tell us how you liked them! If you have other brands or every-day background suggestions, share them in the comments below!

Until next week, happy background hunting!

5 Wedding Planning Tips for When You Say “Yes!”

Congratulations! You’ve said yes and you’re excited to start planning for your important day. But you're already overwhelmed with everything that comes with planning an important event. So where should you start and what can you do to create the best bash ever while staying healthy and happy? Read on for some tips for brides-to-be!

 

1. Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse


First thing's first. Announce your engagement! Whether you tell all your friends and family by phone, Facebook or a formal announcement, let the important people in your life know that you said yes! Sit down with your partner and make a list of friends and family who should hear from you first. You can add on your list and use this later as your guest list for your wedding.

 

2. Set a No-Budge Budget


Money is one of the most stressful things when it comes to weddings. Before getting ambitious with all the possibilities for your wedding, plan a budget with your partner and families and stick to it. Know what areas of your wedding are worth more to you (photography, dress?) and which are a little less important (high-end linens, shoes you'll only wear for a few hours). Research the cost of wedding planners, photographers, venues, rentals, stationery, caterers, etc., and divide your budget accordingly. Were your thinking, "Money isn't really what's worrying me...it's time!"? Not only is it important to stick to your financial budget, it's also important to budget your time and create a wedding planning calendar.

 

3. Don't Leave Out Important People


Once you decide on a wedding date, make sure people in your family and wedding party are able to attend. Double check your date with holidays, seasonal events and, yes, even sports calendars. Trust me, Superbowl Sunday could ruin your beautiful winter wedding! Besides the must-attend family and friends,  make sure to start researching services. Wedding season is CRAZY. Planners, photographers, calligraphers, venues and caterers may booked up to a year or more in advance so the sooner you book, the better. But make sure to check reviews and ratings and stick to your budget when booking!

iphone-desk-notebook-writing-screen-apple-1268056-pxhere.com.jpg
 

4. Don't Compete


"This is going to be the biggest, bestest wedding EVAHR!" Okay, okay, yes, it is. But make it amazing for your and yours and don't compare your wedding to Kate Middleton or the Kardashians. Remember those high-end linens I mentioned before? Forget them. Unless you have an endless budget and the highest end planners, caterers and guaranteed spot in a spread in Martha Stewart Weddings, keep it real. You will be in such a joyous blur on your big day that you will most likely not even remember all the little details of your wedding. Sticking to your budget and realistic plans doesn't mean your wedding won't be the best. If a planner isn't in your budget, enlist the help of your wedding party and family to set-up tables and decorations. Does your cousin do calligraphy? Ask them to create signs, placecards and address your envelopes as a wedding gift. 

 
person-girl-woman-leisure-fitness-zen-826575-pxhere.com.jpg

5. Stay Healthy & Happy


Though your wedding will very well be the most important day of your life so far, it may also be the most stressful. So what can you do to make sure you still have fun and stay healthy when planning? Make sure you're taking time for self-care and quality time with your partner that doesn't involve wedding talk. Take a mini weekend trip camping, have a spa day, enjoy wine tasting without considering a few bottles for your big-day dinner. Grab your party for bridal yoga and bubbly the morning of the big day! If you're feeling in over your head, get your wedding party to help with planning and coordinating. Assign tasks to family and friends. Not only will you lighten your load, people will be happy that they were involved in creating a spectacular event.

 

Want to know what comes next for planning a perfect wedding? Subscribe to the blog! More tips and resources right to your email! Do you have any other recommendations that helped in your initial wedding planning? Share your tips below!

Happy National Handwriting Day!

 
SharpenYourSkillsBlackwing.jpg
 

Sharpen Your Skills

Do you love long hand, decorative lettering, calligraphy or, like me, just writing with pencils? Then today is our day to celebrate our love of letters! I've recently fallen in absolute love with Blackwing pencils so I was very happy when they contacted my to create a hand-lettered piece for National Handwriting Day. Balckwing's campaign theme this year is aptly named "Sharpen Your Skills," which is fitting for their fantastic pencils! But what skill? Why are we still using pencils when we have computers and phones to type? 


Is handwriting important?

I will be first to admit that I love creating art, typography and patterns on my computer. But where do all those ideas start? With a good sharp pencil and paper of course! In an age of digital media, online learning and text messages, there is a lack of handwriting in school, work and everyday life, and it's killing a lot of essential motor function, language skills and creativity.

Learning handwriting and cursive isn't only important for being able to read old documents, manuscripts and letters from loved ones. Starting at an early age, learning and using handwriting is important for eye-hand coordination and neurological functions. It can improve memory skills and has even been shown to improve self-esteem. Handwriting also helps us learn to write, read, use proper grammar and to have better spelling (I can attest to this improvement in my own spelling). Those who have poor handwriting often spend more time struggling to produce letters rather than focusing on the content of their writing, which can lead to lower grades for many students (I can also attest to this from years of teaching). This may be a surprise to you, as I create legible script for a living, but my every-day handwriting can be illegible and atrocious. I used to play with my handwriting and write all my letters in cursive, but as I get older and busier, creating legible letters often seems a waste of valuable time. Not to mention, we are trained to type as quickly as possible in our digital age and our spelling and grammar can be quite inaccurate since spell checker fixes our mistakes. Fortuantely, my lettering and calligraphy has brought my focus back to slowing down my every-day scribbles into more thoughtful letter forms and has improved my spelling and memory of ideas and events I pencil into my calendar. 


Endless Creative Possibilities

Using a pencil and paper can be a much more freeing and creative outlet than using computers or phones. While many of us can feel intimidated by a blank page, the limitlessness of a clean sheet of paper and lack of distractions around the page offers an opportunity to let your mind put down all of it's ideas and images. Expression through lettering and script can be therapeutic and engaging to your creative side on and off the paper. You may use this skill as a way to relax after a long day, a tool to express your opinion or emotions or even to create an art piece for your home that brings you joy at your creative accomplishment. The history of handwriting and calligraphy is quite interesting and sheds light on the importance of creative personal expression through pen and pencil to paper. But more on that later another time ; )

Are you a lover of longhand? How has it helped you? Let us know in the comments and happy lettering!

Find your new favorite pencil here. I highly recommend the limited edition subscription.

 
 

The Best Hand-Made Finds for Small Business Saturday from Amazing Makers

Thanksgiving Thursday is gone and Black Friday is over so that means it's Small Business Saturday! This is my favorite day of the year, not only because I am a small business owner, but because I love supporting small business makers! Here are some great finds from some of my favorite makers.

For the Creative

If you're looking for beautiful and useful hand-made gifts for the creative in your life, check out this beautiful finds. Inspire creativity with something new or gift a favorite with a hand-turned calligraphy pen from Feather Park Lettering, beautiful watercolors from Paint & Letters or a fun narwhal notebook from Baltic Club.


Plant Lovers

Plant lady is the new cat lady and everyone has a plant lover on their Christmas list. These lively plant-based gifts will have your green thumb thank you a thousand times over. This cactus spoon rest by Back Bay Pottery is a perfect prickly present, gift some glamor with these succulent and tassel earrings by Ivanna Florist or minimalist macrame plant hanger by Prismatic Gardens.


Personalized Touches

Nothing is more meaningful than a personalized gift. Share something special with a personalized makeup bag by Sara & JoJo, a hand-lettered custom Christmas ornament by sQuinks Art (me!) or a beautiful gold initial charm by SD Marie Jewelry.


There are so many amazing makers our there! I hope this sparks some inspiration for your christmas list this year. Do you have a favorite maker? Share them in the comments!

Happy Small Biz Shopping!

Pattern Play

Wow, what a busy and productive week its has been so far. Last week a new toy came in the mail and it's been one of the best tools I've purchased to make design go more smoothly (more on this gadget later). Lots of new patterns are emerging for fall, winter and even next year. This fox pattern is one of my favorites and is now available on Society6. New fall products featuring this sweet little guy will be in the shop on September 1st so make sure you're on the mailing list and following on Instagram so you don't miss the fall launch!

FallFoxesThrowPillowBysQuinksArt.jpg

This pattern was created using an original watercolor illustration that was digitized for easier use on fabrics and paper. Now to find someone to make a perfect fall shirt with this design. Pattern play has always been something I enjoy but it's quickly becoming my favorite thing. And I hope that you are loving it too! Please let me know in the comments what you think and what else you would love to see make it's way into the fall and holiday collections this year. Stay tuned for more additions to the design page and Instagram this month!

Keep creating lovelies!

-Cerise :)

Color My Week: Summer Fun

Happy Summer! With this being the first full week of summer, I thought I would share some color inspiration with you. If you're like me, summer means bright, cheery colors. And since it's Pride Month, I decided to colorize my Pride Letters Coloring Sheet with this color pallette.

SummerRainbow ColorPallette.jpg

How cheery are these amazing colors together? You can see the PMS and Hex/RGB colors in the upper left corner of each color box. Here's an example of all these colors put together:

PrideNotPrejudice_ColorPallette_6/26.jpg

Of course I had to add green and purple for a good rainbow for this pride lettering piece. The green is #91bb37 and the purple is #7a2a9f. You get your own colorized pride printable or coloring sheet in the shop! Hope these colors make your day brighter! Did you create something with this color pallette? Post it in the comments!

Have a beautiful week friends!

-Cerise :)