3 Steps for Flat-lay Photography (in a Budget)

This technique requires no electric lighting, no expensive setup, or even a Canon camera. A lot of people think they need expensive equipment in order for something to look professional. But this is so easy to do!

I did use my Canon 70D with my 50 mm lens for most of these photos, but I have an example section of when I used my iPhone 6. AND, guess what? They still look great!

It's really up to you and what you have on hand at home - you can use your DSLR or your phone's camera.


Get your table as close to the window as possible to get that natural light for your photos.
Lighting Setup Inside

Natural Light

As I said before, you don't need fancy light fixtures to take these shots. You can do it two ways.


The best set up is to have a table close to the window with the poster board (just like in the photo). This can be done anytime of the day, just as long as you aren't getting any harsh light through the window.


If you are outside, make sure that you are in the shade and it is around 5pm - 8pm (prime hour), so that you aren't getting any harsh light and shadows.

Blank Canvas and/or Poster Board

This is for your background when you are photographing. The poster can be any colour your want. You'll see at the bottom with all of my photo examples, I even painted on some poster board to get a cool effect. But all in all I prefer white because it can go with anything and it looks clean.

I find my materials at the Dollar Store, the cost could be around $1 - $10 for this project. Super cheap and affordable!

Props + Decor

Now don't forget the most important part! Your decor for your photos. All of my flat-lay photography I just gathered what was in my house that had the styles and concept that I was going for.

For my creative design flat-lay, I used these materials

  • Notebook

  • Empty Frame

  • Vintage Camera

  • Glasses

  • Fresh flowers from the garden

  • iPad

  • iPhone

  • Apple Pencil

  • Tea or Coffee in a mug

For my wedding inspired flat-lays, I used these materials

  • Fake flowers

  • Vase or mason jar

  • Mini mirror

  • Ribbon

  • Lace

  • LOTS of jewellery

  • Interchangeable letter sign

Photos taken with my iPhone 6

Who says you can't take professional photos with your phone's camera. That's what I love about phones now, they are so versatile. You can do practically anything for your business.

Get Creative

Overall, I want you to just get creative. It doesn't matter what it looks like! It's a fun way to practice your photography and layout by yourself. When I am arranging all the decor and props, I don't have a plan on where things are going ahead of time, I just start layering and moving things around.

Go for it! Anyone and everyone can be able to do this in one way or another.

Send me your flat-lays at aaredner@gmail.com, I would love to see them!

All of the photos below are the same technique but with a DSLR camera.

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