Almost every photo you see is styled to a degree, whether you realise it or not. Styling is an important, but often forgotten about factor when it comes to photography, however, if you are able to master styling, it can help take your photos to the next level. Luckily we're here to share everything you need to know!
The most prominent places you see styled photographs are:
○ Food Photography
○ Instagram Flatlays
○ Product Images
○ Blog Posts
However, styling can be used in every photo you take. Styling in simple terms is positioning and posing props in a way that looks appealing. So how do we do this?
1. Have a Theme
It is important that your styled photograph has a prominent theme. What is the photo about? What do you want to convey? Is it a cosy photo with pillows and coffee to influence a "staying in" feel? Is it a photo with maps, cameras and suitcases to insinuate adventure? Your photo should give off a strong feeling and inspire the viewer.
2. Pay Attention To Colour
Colour pallets are essential. Colours not only need to look great together and play off of each other, but they also have a large psychological impact. Did you know different colours can give off certain emotions? For example, the colour blue conveys peace, calm and reflection. However, it can also convey a coldness or come across as unemotional, so it is important you know what will work best for your image. People tend to be drawn in by warmer colours such as red, orange or pink hues.
3. Use Textures
By adding textures to your photo such as layered fabrics, different surfaces or plants can all really help add depth to your image. It draws the viewer in and helps them imagine what the scene would feel like.
4. Have a Hero Item
A hero item is the main subject of your photo. It is what the rest of your image is built around and is usually the biggest item in the photo. For example, in the photo here it is easily recognised that the typewriter is really what the photo is about, and that the other elements are there to support it.
5. Subject Sizes
Along the lines of having a hero item, the sizes of your subjects do matter. Having one extremely large item, with a bunch of small items around it will leave things feeling dwarfed and odd. Make sure your image looks proportionately correct and balanced.
How you space the components of your image also plays a large role. Your items shouldn't feel squished together, but they also shouldn't feel worlds apart. Simply move things around and experiment until it feels right for you.
7. Have a Human Element
Have you noticed that most of these images have a human element in them? By even simply placing your hands in the image it makes the image much more identifiable and the viewer can literally picture themselves in the photo, so it draws them in.
Like any photograph, your lighting is important. It conducts the overall feel of your image and should never be forgotten about. For beginners, natural lighting usually works best so sticking close to windows and aiming for a nice even light is key.
10. Quality Backgrounds
Your background of the image acts as the backbone. It supports the entire photo and is one of the most important elements. Having a quality background will elevate your images and give them a professional feel. Look for glare-free surfaces that are large enough for you to use, but portable enough that you can move close to natural light and windows. We know that sometimes this can be a challenge so we have created a series of backgrounds available for purchase here.
Further, when I am taking styled photographs there is a certain dialogue that runs through my mind. It goes a little something like this:
○ Does this photo make sense?
○ Are things spaced out nicely?
○ Do these colours go well together?
○ Are there any distracting elements?
○ Does this photo look professional?
○ Will this photo engage the viewer?
By asking yourself these questions you will be able to make little tweaks and ensure you have perfected your image.
Remember that styling your photos can go into any genre. The photos here were all flatlay images as they are the easiest to help show as examples, but whether you are shooting food photography, portraits or any image all of these tips can be useful to create a strong photo.
There you have it, 9 Tips for Styling Your Photos like a Professional! We'd love to hear from you on