7 Must-Have Styling Items For Flat Lay Design

November 12, 2019


If you’re like me, you’ve likely found yourself frustrated and overwhelmed styling details for a wedding. Maybe you’re a calligrapher or paper suite designer, and you’re wondering how you can take beautiful photos of your work without spending a fortune. If you nodded your head in agreement with either of those statements, you’ve come to the right place! Today, I’m highlighting 7 key styling items I use in my flat lay design to give my clients’ images that are uniquely them while still reflecting my brand. Oh—I’m also sharing where I got each item so you can join in on the styling fun!


01. Surfaces

I’m not talking about backdrops here (although you can find some amazing ones at Locust Collection,  Most Ardently,  The Styling Mat, and Layout Collection). Rather, I’m talking about smaller surfaces that can be used to add dimension and draw focus in flat lay design. Choosing surfaces for your styling kit can be tricky, but is so important. Different kinds of surfaces can serve many purposes in flat lay design—displaying boutonnieres, holding rings, elevating a particular component of an invitation suite, providing additional texture. etc. I like to look for simple options that can be utilized for a variety of weddings while still enhancing the image.

Tip: Be creative (but picky!) in your hunt for surfaces. Coasters, soap dishes, trays, and even plant saucers can be great surfaces for styling. Just make sure they aren’t so deep that items placed on that surface will be completely covered in shadow.

Marble soap dish: Target, $12.99 | Silver floral jewelry dish: The Styling Mat, $6 | Terra cotta plate: The Styling Mat, $12 | Oval porcelain soap dish: Target, $9.99  | Slate coaster: Crate & Barrel, set of 4, $14.95


02. Stationary Accents

This may be my favorite styling category of all! There’s something about a good vintage stamp combined with the raw edge of a handmade envelope and pulled together with a wax seal that makes my designer heart beat that much faster *swoon*. Not only are stationary accents friendly to our business pockets (always a win in my book), they’re also the perfect addition to add character to any suite, modern or vintage. I especially love these envelopes because of their texture. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention this—the seals pictured are actually adhesive seals, so they’re easy to implement into any flat lay design.

Tip: If you must style a full suite on the wedding day instead of doing it ahead of time, it’s especially important to carry extra envelopes since these can easily be forgotten by the bride.

Deckled edge envelopes: Indian Cotton Paper Co, starting at $9.05 | Vintage Stamps: Little Postage House | Adhesive Wax Seals: Sally’s Heartful Creations, set of 5, $3.75



03. Sponge Risers

Guys. These are a game changer. I’ve recently started using these risers to lift paper elements off of the background for added depth and dimension. They’re dense and sturdy, yet thin enough to be undetectable (and yes, even though they’re colored, you won’t be able to see them underneath a suite!). I love stacking them to vary the height of objects depending on need. Acrylic risers are another popular option, but I’ve found they’re far more expensive to provide the exact same function.

Sponge risers: The Styling Mat, $3


04. Art

Additional artistic elements can be a fun way to bring life to flat lay design. These vintage floral post cards are perfect for adding charm and context to an image that may be lacking that final touch. You can also use illustrations, calligraphic paper, or even old photographs to make your flat lays stand out from the crowd.

Tip: Be on the lookout for pieces that can be used in upcoming weddings. Take into consideration your couple’s venue, color palette, and overall vision. They’ll love your attention to detail, and that you took the time to search for items specific to them.

Vintage floral post cards: antique shop in North Carolina, $1 ea.


05. Ring Boxes

Who doesn’t love a good ring box?! When you think about it, the rings are really the biggest symbol you’ll be photographing in your detail shots. They deserve an extra little something to make them pop! Ring boxes can be used in so many different shots like beside the shoes, with the invitation suite, on their own, next to other jewelry, with floral details—the list goes on. I’m sure including ring boxes in your styling kit is a no-brainer for most of you, but I couldn’t create this post without mentioning some of my favorite places to grab a few of these beauties!

Double slot oval ring box: Koyal Wholesale, $20 | Dark Blue Vintage ring box: The Styling Mat (not pictured)


06. Fabric

Using fabrics in flat lays instantly creates a sense of movement and romance, which I am always a fan of! I love having a mixture of organic and elegant fabrics on hand to create just the look I need for a particular flat lay. Ribbons look great styled underneath paper elements, while cheesecloth is a great option for providing additional texture in backdrops.

Tip: Consider the weights of the fabrics you use in your design and how they interact with the rest of the wedding. For example, a garden wedding where the bride dons a light, whimsical gown would best be reflected with lighter, more flowy fabrics, whereas a flat lay for a decadent fall wedding in New York may lend itself to richer fabrics, like velvet.


Purple velvet ribbon: The Styling Mat, $9  | Various silk ribbons: Krasnova Silk, starting at $7 | Bleached cheesecloth: cheesecloth.com (note: this is a bulk website I used for my wedding. You can find similar products on Amazon in smaller quantities!)


07. Specialty Items

A feather pen and rusty keys? Really? Yes! Of all the things I use to style flat lays, these specialty items are the ones that really set my flat lays apart. I mean come on—how cute are those tiny gold embroidery scissors?! This is the category I feel most creative. I often find myself hunting on Ebay and Etsy for fun finds pertaining to my upcoming weddings or editorials. Remember, when choosing styling elements, the whole goal is to be able to better tell the story of your couple. I can think of fewer ways to do so than to implement unique, unexpected items in their detail images.


Tip: Make sure to ask the couple if there are any family heirlooms that could help tell their story better. Make sure you know their interests. Do they love seeing plays? Great! Find a vintage pair of opera glasses on Ebay and BOOM—you have a personal and beautiful image they’ll cherish!

Small embroidery scissors: The Styling Mat, $8 | Large bronze scissors: Anthropologie | Small key: antique shop in North Carolina



While I was photographing all of these items for this post, I couldn’t help but style my own wedding invitation created by the amazingly talented Olivia Martin of Olivia the Creative. I snipped some dried blooms from my own wedding bouquet and went. to. town. Take a peek at how a few strategically placed styling elements enhances the overall design.



I also snipped a few dried blooms from my own wedding bouquet (created by the impeccable Anna of Old Frond Floral Co.). I always try to collaborate with florists to see if they’ll lend me a few floral elements to use in styling. Most are more than willing, and in my opinion, the florals really tie the whole thing together!



Which styling elements are your favorite? Do you have another element not listed that you can’t live without? Share with us in the comments below! I can’t wait to see all you create.

Xo, Michela

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright Michela Watson Photography 2024  •  Site Credits

to top

My heartbeat is crafting artful, intentional images for the most important moments of your life.

fine art wedding and portrait photographer