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juliana tomlinson

Wedding Photography & Education

Five Tips to Design and Shoot Flat Lays on Wedding Days

February 25, 2019

Hi there, friends!

Today I want to share with you 5 tips to help you with styling details and the invitation suite, on a wedding day.

1.Gather some basic information

A few weeks before every wedding I send my brides a questionnaire that will help me to understand her vision and the plan for the wedding day. I always ask what the wedding colors are and what’s the theme, if she has one. These two specific questions help me to prepare for the detail shots.

2. Bring some props with you

Let’s be honest, not every bride will have tons of details and props for you to style. I find it very helpful to bring a few styling items with me, just in case I don’t have much to work with on a wedding day. I usually have a styling board, a few ribbons, a tray, a ring dish and a piece of fabric, all items matching or complementing the color scheme chosen by the bride.

Bonus Tip: Ask your bride to request a few loose flowers and greenery from her florist. Having these available will not only make your design look more professional and editorial, but will help you to create images that will tie in with the wedding theme.

3. Choosing the Background

For me the simpler the better! Simplicity equals elegance in my eyes… And because of that I always look for non-distractive, clear and clean backgrounds. Most of the time I use my own DIY styling board, but when it doesn’t match either the color or the theme of the wedding, I look for a space with these things I mentioned.

4. Light is everything

Don’t let this title mislead you. Sometimes when we think about the best light source available we tend to move everything closer to the window and forget to look over the entire space. Make sure you are not styling the details in direct, harsh or spotty light. I usually bring everything close to the light source, but just far enough to avoid direct harsh light. My favorite way is to place my lay flats 90 degrees from the main source of light.

5. Composition

I usually start by placing all the elements down, I take a few shots, and then I remove a few pieces until I am down to one. When I start laying the invitations down, these are a few things running through my mind:

  • Are the lines straight? Nothing bothers me more than noticing that the invitations were crooked when I am editing my images.

  • Is one piece creating a shadow on another? This may not bother you, but I try my best to avoid shadows in my design.

  • Are the corners somehow connecting to something? I don’t mean that the corner of one piece of invitation needs to align with the other. But for me, it needs to align with something. Sometimes with a line from the invitation beside it, sometimes with a flower…

When it comes to styling your lay flats, patience (and having enough time in the timeline) is everything. Most of the time I’ll start composing the invitation suite and after a few shots I ‘ll make small adjustments that make everything look much better.

Bonus Tip: Shoot from different angles! Once I have my layout ready, I take a few pictures showing it all from above and then I come closer and take a few pictures of each element in the design, without moving them. Just by changing your angle you will be able to have a good variety to deliver to your clients later.

I hope these tips help you to create something you love next time you are shooting lay flats!

Looking for more tips on how to grow your photography business?

Become a JTP insider and receive my free e-book “3 Steps to Book More Brides”. Get your here!

–> You may also like my “3 Simple ways to create better Light and Airy images”

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