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.
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!