Wedding Day Flat Lays and How To Nail Them
I’ll be the first to tell you, flat lays are my favorite shots to get, yet it’s the most MISSED shot on wedding day. How can this be?
While the rush of wedding day activities are taking place, packing makeup, dresses, heels, and carrying it all over to their hotel room, while also making sure they pack simultaneously for their honeymoon immediately after, let’s just say bride’s forget to bring some of their details. The most notorious piece : invitation suites.
Chances are they spent a good chunk of time, money, and effort into getting customized wedding invitations. Not only are they beautiful, but they showcase their wedding colors, venue, information, menu, names, style and other customized details. Invitation suites really tie together all the other details like rings, heels, garter, fragrance, and florals.
Let’s Make Sure We Nail This Shot.
The first step to nailing this shot happens a few months before the actual wedding. The biggest issue is that invitation suites are usually the first thing that’s mailed out, maybe your bride didn’t even consider that invitation suits needed to be photographed or that you would need a “fake set”, of invitations with no real names or addresses to help with privacy. Encourage them to keep the extra invitation in a safe place or even better : encourage the bride to have the stationary designer mail it out to you personally, that way it’s not left behind!
Send your brides a reminder a few days before the wedding of what details to have ready and organized, for when you start shooting on wedding day. They probably have a lot going on so it’s easy to miss things! Encourage them to have someone else or a bridesmaid keep track of these items!
Extras and Props.
Have the Stationary Designer include extras, such as ribbon, or a few stamps, or any left over material that could help with styling. Also, asking the florist for a few left over flowers or foliage helps tie everything together! (Photographers make sure to communicate this information to your brides or graciously ask the vendors for them!)
The best way to go about setting up your flat lay is by trial. Consider layering stationary, have the ribbon sweep across the board, add in the rings, the heels, move things around, snap a variety of detail shots. Make it fill up the border of your frame, if it feels too cluttered, simplify. And try it again. Throw in florals, re-arrange the stationary, and so on. Shoot from overhead, stand on a chair, shoot from below, there is no “one way” about going about this. The beauty of flat lays are that, they are completely unique to the couple and their details. Pro Tip: If your camera has live view, switch it on and arrange your flat lay so you can get a better idea of how it’s filling your frame as you go. (I use a 35mm lens to get these shots and I’ll throw it into a higher f stop so you’re able to capture more details.)
Make sure you’re arriving prepared, often times you won’t have access to extras or even a nice backdrop to do a flat lay, make sure you start carrying with you a “flat lay kit” bag or container. Here’s what to consider bringing:
Backdrops, you can make them yourselves, buy them online, or get creative. Basically it can be anything from a sturdy cardboard with painted texture (like the photo above), linens, canvas with stapled fabric, anything that will serve as a better backdrop compared to an ugly hotel carpet. Feel free to experiment with different colored backdrops (marble, white, black, neutrals, etc.)
Ribbons and Silk, start collecting neutral colored ribbon, silk looks best and you can find some rather inexpensive ribbon at Michaels, Etsy, and other craft stores! Keep adding colors to your kit as you go. Tip: Buy silk ribbon on a wooden spool, this helps elevate the photo as well.
Wax Seal Wand, if your brides invitation suite has wax sealed envelopes make sure to include the wand in the photo.
Ring Boxes / Glass Boxes / Unique Holding Trays
Miscellaneous, interesting trinkets, silver serving trays, other pretty items.
It’s easy to carry all these items in an artist caddy box/storage toolbox, or even a tote bag, once you’re done with getting the detail shots simply store it away in the trunk of your car.
Lastly, don’t neglect the light, find a well lit spot to set up, often times near a window or go outside to a shaded area!