Here are my top tips to creating a flay lay styled shoot at home – Valentine’s Day edition

So it’s obvious at the moment that being stuck indoors, our regular shoots just aren’t happening- and that is sad! However, there is always an opportunity for creativity and Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to go over the top. I decided to collaborate with a couple of awesome wedding suppliers to create a gorgeous Valentine’s Day inspired flat lay at home and I’m here today to share my top tips for creating a flay lay with you.

A white and gold hand carved egg on a wicker placemat surround by lavender, pampas grass, a feather and pink fabric
Valentine’s Day Flat Lay with Hatchfully Yours carved egg

Research and Inspiration for a flat lay

I begin every flat lay shoot in the same manner. I research and gather inspiration and there are couple of tools I use to do this. Firstly Pinterest, yes the gods of Pinterest rain down on my planning stage and I scroll, scour and pin away to my hearts content. I like to start by thinking of a colour palette and once I am happy with that I look for all that juicy, Pinterest inspiration based on this. For my Valentine’s Day shoot my colour palette was an easy choice- pink, pink and more pink! I also use Instagram and some of the awesome Facebook groups that I am a part of for my research- one of which being Faye Cornhill’s The Wedding Business Club which I’m going to discuss in more detail.

How to find other suppliers for the flay lay shoot

Finding suppliers is a lot easier than you might expect and that is partly thanks to a wonderful community that I am a part of- The Wedding Business Club. I was set on my aesthetic for the shoot and pulled a very basic mood board together and then headed over to Faye’s Facebook community to ask for suppliers who might like to have their work photographed on a TFP basis (trade for photos, no monetary exchange). I also specified my time scale and location. Location was important to me as I knew that the post might be an issue during these times so local suppliers would cut out that stress factor. It’s important to ensure all suppliers are on the same page from the get go. As organiser and director of the shoot I needed to ensure the suppliers work also fitted in with my ideas and plans otherwise the shoot wouldn’t be a beneficial exercise. Luckily, these 3 women were absolutely spot on!

2 heart shaped carved eggs in pink and white with a pink place setting that says 'all you need is love' on a wicker placemat with pink fabric, pampas grass and confetti.
Carved heart shaped eggs and ‘all you need it love’

My Chosen Suppliers

I then began working with 3 incredible women, Sheeba of Hatchfully Yours, Dawn from Rock’n Paper and Mel from Love Mel Events. We all had a clear goal in mind, all created a WhatsApp group for communication and it was as simple as that. With a weekend blocked out I began organising the logistics of getting their creations to me and ready to shoot.

How to arrange a flat lay

The most important thing for each shot is to decide the focus or main subject matter. For my suppliers I needed to showcase their work individually and collaboratively so I wrote a list of all the shots I wanted to create to ensure nothing was missed out. I began with a focus on stationary using the gorgeous suites sent from Rock’n Paper. I then incorporated Sheeba’s hand crafted eggs and then created some shots with the eggs alone. All of these shots were set up using Mel’s styling and accessories to tie in the theme. Items we used were wicker placemats, marble effect backgrounds, everyone’s favourite trendy plant- pampas grass and a few fabrics thrown in.

When the focus was selected I arrange the other objects around this. It’s a great idea to layer objects on top of each other. Sometimes I like to keep everything in the frame but other times I like objects to come out of the composition so they are almost ‘cropped out’, this gives the illusion of space and continuation. Larger objects like fabrics I like to knot and drape and smaller objects like lavender buds or confetti can be scattered naturally.

Pink and white Valentine's Day themes flat lay with 2 carved eggs in heart shapes, a wedding save the date card and 2 pink resin coaster on a wicker placemat with confetti and pink fabric around it.
Valentine’s Day flat lay with carved eggs and a save the date card

It’s all about the light

Select your best space for the flat lay by the light. I chose my conservatory. It has a horrible plastic, matte roof that is awful to look at but gives a lovely soft, diffused light and being a conservatory it is full of windows and natural light. I shot mid morning on the days I had as this gave me the best light. I always recommend a nice bright yet overcast day to avoid harsh shadows on the objects. If you are stuck for light and the weather is good take the shoot outdoors- but not if you have any light weight or paper items!

Shoot, shoot and shoot some more

There is no harm is getting too many shots. It’s much nicer to have a large cull than having to set everything up again because the shot wasn’t quite nailed. Try lots of different arrangements, camera angles and even lenses. For this shoot I used my Sony A7Riii and a 35mm Sony lens shooting at f2.8. However, I am firm believer that flat lay shots are just as awesome taken on your phone if that’s what you have access to. I really recommend editing apps such as Lightroom for mobile, VSCO and Snapseed. I also purchased some Light and Airy mobile presets that can be used in mobile to edit your photos- win!

A bright pink and white stationary suite consisting of invites, save the date card and menu on a wicker placemat with pampas grass, confetti, pink resin coaster and pink fabric
Valentine’s Day inspired flay lay with a full stationary suite in pink and white

Flat lays for days

Once you’ve shot and edited there’s nothing more satisfying that seeing the suppliers and collaborators sharing the images you’ve provided and it’s great to see their work beautifully showcased. Flat lays are so easy to set up at home and people are out there to work with, just have the confidence to put yourself out there and ask to get started. I hope some of my tips have helped, head over to my insta to see all the images and also keep your eyes peeled on the blog over the next few months for interviews with each supplier. If you’d love anymore information I’d love to hear from you, pop a question in the comments or give me a shout on my contact page.

Love, Amanda x