If there’s one thing that I’m probably ‘qualified’ to give advice on, it’s flat-lay photos. Although I’d never boast myself as an expert (neither do I think my photos are always on point), I have a formula for taking a good photo and part of that formula involves the right kind of props to throw into the shot.
Props can do so much for your shot. They can improve the focus on your subject, they can add texture and context to a shot and they can turn a photo around from dud to STUD (yeah, I’m even rolling my eyes).
I have also written a post on how to Instantly Improve Your Photography, so check that out when you’ve got your lil’ photo prop it sorted.
A quick note on my backgrounds in case anyone asks, I use A2 Mountboards from Hobbycraft (around £3 each). They’re great for adding a bit of colour into your feed! As well as think I use my desk, which is the Lisabo Desk from Ikea.
But now to what we put on top of those backgrounds… Read on to discover a collection of easy-to-grab photo props that’ll take your snap to the next level.
Interiors + Home
BOOKS: Books can add colour, context and levels to a shot. I love placing items on books to emphasise it’s importance or to make the shot less ‘flat’.
OCCASIONAL LIGHTING: Fairy lights and moveable lamps can add literal sparkle to a shot. Things like lit candles can be placed in too, completely changing the ‘vibe’ of the photo.
EDGE OF A RUG: You might have to get down onto the floor for this one, but this variation on backgrounds adds texture and possible colour to a photo.
CUSHIONS: Whether you use the cushion as a platform for something else, or just nudge a slither of it into the shot, cushions add texture and context.
PATTERNED THINGS (Duvet Covers, Curtains): A good duvet cover can fill the frame enough on its own, but using it as a background or a pop of colour in the frame, works too.
FLOWERS OR HOUSEPLANTS: Most of us have some sort of life around the house, whether it’s green or an exotic colour, there’s always a place for a bit of nature.
NOTEBOOKS + NOTEPADS: Open or closed, notepads come in all shapes and sizes (and are all pretty beautiful).
NAIL VARNISH (open or closed): You’ll probably have noticed that I’m addicted to this particular prop. Go ahead and count how many open nail varnishes you can see on my Instagram gallery…
MAKE-UP PIECES: A lipstick, a pretty marbled blusher, a dramatic eye palette, whether you’re a beauty blogger or not, these pieces can look beautiful on camera.
SMALL MIRRORS (angled away): It could be a mirror on a palette or a little mirror on your dressing table, they always add a dynamic to a set-up that’s hard t get with anything else.
MAKE-UP BRUSHES: Preferably clean, these work like pens to draw your eye somewhere else in the shot. Just try it out!
Food + Drink
CHOCOLATE: Most of us are chocolate fans, right? I love adding a square or two into a relaxed shot. Plus, so many chocolate bars now come in gorgeous packaging!
MUG + SAUCER: Filled with coffee, tea or a cheeky hot chocolate. A hot drink presented in a stylish way always goes down well (literally).
PRETTY CROCKERY: I’m an avid buyer of Sainsbury’s plates and bowls. They’re pretty, colourful and super affordable! You don’t even have to use this during food photography!
Adding A Personal Touch
POLAROIDS: Most of us have had contact with those cute Fujifilm polaroid cameras, why not add a few shots into your photo? They add a unique personal touch!
PHOTOS: Reserved for the relevant occasions, maybe a Throwback Thursday to a particular event or a snap to accompany a personal blog post.
Creative + Crafty
STAMPS: They could be scattered out of their packet, or being used in a great in-action shot or arranged out into spelling a word for the photo. Stamps come in so many different designs and really give us the opportunity to translate a message in a photo.
TWINE OR THREAD: Not the first thing you think of when looking for photo props, but a pretty piece of string draped across a scene makes everything look more crafty.
TISSUE OR WRAPPING PAPER: Last week I experimented with this and created a completely different background by using a piece of wrapping paper. It’s my new favourite thing.
WASHI TAPE: They can be glittery, stripey, dotty, neon, pastel and so much more. Sometimes I like to cut pieces of tape off and add them on top of a print or book. Cute AF.
DESK ACCESSORIES (Pins, paperclips): A sprinkle of paperclips, one of those clear acrylic and gold staplers… throw it all into a desktop shot.
CAMERAS + LENSES: When taking a photo on your phone, throwing a lens or your camera into a blogging shot is a twist on the B.T.S shots we’re seeing loads of right now.
PENS + PENCILS: Something we can all relate to is picking up a pen or pencil and jotting down notes or ideas. Extra points if they’re super cute.
PACKAGING: When you receive a cute package, why not hold onto the packaging and save it for a snazzy lil’ photoshoot?
CREATIVE TOOLS (Paintbrushes, Paints, Sharpeners): Obviously, don’t throw a paintbrush in if you’re taking a picture of some new shoes (or do – who am I to dictate). But showing your tools makes the whole shot a little more ‘real’, doesn’t it?
WATCHES: These often make a shot look pretty chic and adds the I’m-a-successful-person-who-wears-a-watch-because-I-need-to-be-places vibe. Well, I think so anyway.
JEWELLERY: A dainty necklace, a piece of statement jewellery or even a handful of rings. All add a touch of glamour and girly-ness!
SHOES: You could go all out #FWIS or just sneak that pointed toe into the edge of a photo, both are great ways to add that little bit of fashion into your feed.
SUNGLASSES: Vital now we’re coming into Spring, but their unusual shape always adds interest to a shot. Plus you get to show off what sunnies you’re currently enjoying. I always throw my Ralph Lauren’s in. Just because.
OPEN BAGS: This is another one of my favourite kinds of shot. An open handbag (a back with a flap works best) photographed with a selection of different items spilling out. Thankfully, you also know of a bunch of items that you can easily style to be coming out of the bag! Hurrah!
What are your go-to photo props to throw into a sneaky lil’ flat lay?
If you’ve ever struggled with photo styling and knowing what to take a picture of, I hope this bumper post has put to bed some of those worries (and maybe even opened your eyes to using simple everyday objects in your photos).
Now let’s get snapping!