Festive Flatlays

flatlay photography tips advice blogger

Whoever would've thought that I, a photography novice with a capital N, would ever be writing a post about flatlay photography? If you'd told me this time last year that a post such as this would be featuring on my festive content lineup, I would've laughed in your face! However, I've been putting a bit of effort into my Insta feed and my flatlay photography for blog posts lately, and combined with using a score of new hashtags, this has really paid off in terms of Instagram engagement. I have even received questions about how I take my flatlays and plan my Insta content, which has really shocked me, so today, here I am (in my Primark PJs) to give you a stripped down guide of exactly how I take my Instagram flatlays, and how I curate my feed.

flatlay photography blogging ideas props 

How to Set up a Photo

My first important rule for optimal photo quality is to try and use natural light wherever possible. I am not one of these fancy people who has studio lights *sob sob* so I make do with the large window in my bedroom. Using natural light really helps everything look crisp, although it is harder to do on darker winter days. I've just learned to pick my moments really well!

For my photo backgrounds, I don't use anything fancy, just the reverse side of a roll of gift wrap! I keep it held down with anything I've got handy, in this case a tissue box! This white background gives you a nice clean surface to work with. Next, I add a bit of texture along one edge of the photo. At the minute, I'm loving using a pair of pyjama bottoms which I crinkle up slightly to give a 3D effect in the photo. If that isn't enough texture, I will add some red tulle or a strip of some rose gold (what else?!) wallpaper sample that I picked up from Homebase for free.
Now I'm ready to add the main subject of the photo and some surrounding props!

Picking the Perfect Props

Despite what you might think, you needn't spend a great deal on little extras to beautify your photos. I usually purchase less than five items per season for my flatlays, often amounting to less than a fiver! My current Instagram theme is RED, so to make sure that everything on my feed fits in well together, I pick out props which are in this colour, or are in complimentary shades such as white or gold. Here are a list of just a few props I've been loving for this festive period:
  • Washi tape
  • Christmas cards / gift tags
  • Pens / pencils
  • Chocolates / sweets
  • Candles
  • Pretty coasters
  • Mugs / plates
  • Ribbons
  • Lipsticks
  • Starbucks / Costa cups
  • Envelopes 
  • Stickers
  • Sequins / confetti
  • Candy canes
  • Christmas tree ornaments (I bought two in Poundland, they're really cute and inexpensive)
  • Books (Lately I've picked ones with red covers to go with my current theme)
  • Your hands! Stick on some glamorous fake nails that match your colour scheme and you've got another prop right there!

Once I've added my props, I almost always drape some fairy lights over the mess set up I've created. It gives everything a lovely glow and it looks super classy (well, I think so)! My top tip for using fairy lights is not to have them as your main light source, as they may make your pictures go a bit yellow. Using some dainty ones like the cheap set I got in my Home Bargains haul is ideal!

how to flatlay blogger photography

Curating my Feed

In the past, I haven't really been that fussed about whether my Insta feed looked good together, I focussed more on the individual photos. Now, I'm really enjoying having a "theme" of sorts, which is always based around a particular colour. I went for oranges and yellows during autumn, which has turned into red for Christmas. I bulk-photograph a huge bank of flatlay images all in one go and then post them once a day (usually in the morning when my engagement tends to be best) over the next couple of weeks. I keep my feed looking balanced and on-theme by alternating flatlays with "life" image: this could be me in a red outfit, my feet in a pile of red leaves, a red bauble on a Christmas tree etc. The mix of flatlays and "life" shots keeps things interesting and makes the flatlays I take last that little bit longer!

flatlay ideas christmas

Finding Inspiration 

Sometimes finding the motivation to set up your photos, take them, edit them, and then queue them in your Instagram feed is hard. When I'm lacking in inspiration, I like to scroll through some of my favourite Instagram accounts, as I've picked up so many invaluable tips just from looking at others' feeds. Obviously I'm not suggesting that you go and make carbon copies of your favourite Instagrammer's shots (that's not cool), but you can take inspiration from their images when trying to better your own.

  • Scrolling through Hels's beautiful flatlays taught me the importance of using texture and props of varying sizes to make the shot more interesting. 
  • Stalking Issy's feed showed me that you can re-use the same props again and again without your feed looking boring.
  • This might sound odd but Amy's Instagram taught me the aesthetic power of the artfully arranged mug of tea. I'm serious. This girl makes everything look good.
  • Jordon's Insta showed me the importance of using different angles when placing your props.

instagram theme how to

And there you have it - all of my Instagram secrets shared! I hope this was somewhat useful and that you'll be able to take a few golden tips away from it! Do you have any advice to add? What have been your go-to props for Christmas flatlays? Please share in the comments below!

Until next time,

A x