Flat Lay Backgrounds

Flat lay photography is extremely popular in the stock photo world. A flat lay is when several items are arranged aesthetically and then photographed looking straight down on them. It is also known as an overhead shot.

A couple years ago, a friend who works with reclaimed wood got me some planks that I use frequently in my photography. (see above) The only problem is, they are uneven. That is an issue especially when I am using them as a “table.” I not only have to arrange items to look balanced and artistic, I have to make sure nothing like a bottle or glass are sitting on an uneven seam.

While remodeling our laundry room, we contemplated the popular peel-and-stick vinyl planks for flooring. While we decided against putting it on a bumpy concrete floor, it dawned on me that I could use them to create my own backgrounds.

The first one I made, I attached to the back of my white Masonite boards that I’ve mentioned before.

I laid it out in thirds like you would a floor. I realized afterwards that might not have been the best idea. However, I was pleased with results in my first desk flat lay shoot.

I immediately went back to the store for other colors and textures. I found some wider and longer planks that looked more like a table when I was finished laying them out evenly rather than staggered.

Even though it is difficult to see in the photos, this actually covers about 50% more space than the first background as it is on a much larger Masonite board. I have been extremely pleased with the results.

I had also found some lighter gray planks on that second shopping trip. Right before I was going to start mounting them on a board, I had a brainstorm. I decided to just trim the edges of the paper backing with a box cutter and leave them as individual planks.

This has allowed me to vary my layout depending on the look I need in a photo.

I have found this background works well when I need a lighter overall feel in an image.

So while the individual planks are more versatile, one advantage I found to them being mounted on a board is I can also use them as a “wall” in the background of a photo.

Considering how inexpensive and versatile these backgrounds are, I am a huge fan! If you decide to try making your own, please share your results.