Blogging Photography

FLATLAYS101: Backgrounds

Welcome to FLATLAYS101. I will be your lecturer for today and the next few posts. Now, I might have just been 6 and a bit months into this whole blogging thing, especially blog photography, but I can say I have learnt quite some handy things. I’m no where near where I want to be, but I’m getting there!

In this post and the next, I’ll focus more on what goes into the flatlay (composition), not my technique for taking photos. That can be in another post! Recently, I’ve been thinking of how to give valuable information to people, as opposed to always talking about myself. I hope this series of posts truly help! For more blogging related posts, go to the Blogger Box category!



Little Beginnings

Honestly, when I started out with flatlays, I just used to keep things kind of simple. The first time I attempted a flatlay, it was with the Anike Herbal Solutions products I wanted to flaunt, and I used newspaper. It was hideous. Am I the only one who feels Nigerian newspapers can be so un-photogenic sometimes? Lol! Well, can’t blame them, they weren’t all made for the gram, I guess. I’m still jealous of some photos of foreign newspapers sometimes.

Over time, what I learned was that there were such things as blog props. I looked at photos of flat lays, wondering about the extra elements. It all slowly started coming to me, and soon, I was ready to take action. Reading posts from Currently, Lately and my fave, Thirteen Thoughts, also solidified the information I had.

P.S. Click the pink to go to the link!


The first step to a bomb flatlay game would be the background. You know, you don’t have to limit yourself to a white background, especially If you don’t have time to maintain it. I find white backgrounds to be stressful, and if you scroll all the way down on my Instagram to my first few posts, you’d see I used to use white. However, I found it tedious to always have to abuse the ‘selective’ button on Snapseed. White, plain backgrounds are nice, but they’re not compulsory! Some alternatives to white backgrounds are:

Coloured Cardboard – N50

I have pink, blue, and sea foam green. I use pink, as you’d note from my blog and Instagram. Carboard is honestly one the best investments. It’s highly affordable, and it is smooth! You don’t even need to be extra when laying things on it. I love plain coloured backgrounds, especially for fashion photos.

21247942_1469848386442842_293990800_owhite lace bralette, white lace bralette pinterest, lace bralette pinterest

Marble – $2.30/N800 – N850

You can fetch a marble slab, if you know where to find them. However, they could be pricey. Another alternative is marble contact paper. You can get your hands on some on Aliexpress. They’re about USD$2.30. Remember, shopping with Aliexpress requires patience, especially if you live in Nigeria.


Textured Backgrounds

This is where extra creativity comes in! You can use perhaps an item which is textured, like a bath robe, a wooly sweater, wood, just let your creativity flow!

If you’re in Nigeria, you can also snatch up a raffia item. I got this one from the Abuja Arts and Crafts centre for N500. It’s quite big, and I can see many creative uses for it, even if traditionally its used to cover food and whatnot. Lol! I bet the people who make these wouldn’t even imagine some skinny girl bought it for aesthetic purposes. Anything for the aesthetics!




Ankara is bomb for backgrounds. It’s unique, and not everyone uses it! Be sure to pick the right patterns though. Many Nigerians, especially those in Nigeria, would have easy access to Ankara. Why not put it to use? You don’t even need much! Why not use something that’s kind of unique to us? If you execute it well, you could really be doing something nice for yourself!


So folks, that’s about it for the first class. In the next post we’ll be talking about another exciting part of taking flatlays – props! Do stay tuned, and don’t miss out! If you want to make sure you’re updated, follow me at @mindofamaka in order to see when I announce the new post is published. You can also subscribe via email!

For more blogging related posts, check out my category Blogger Box.


What backgrounds do you currently use, if you take flatlay photos? What backgrounds do you wish to use in the future?

17 thoughts on “FLATLAYS101: Backgrounds”

  1. I recently started trying out the white/whitewashed theme for my IG feed and I’ve been using my dad’s old singlets for the background, it comes out great after the editing.

  2. Cardboard always does it for me. Recently I’ve been experimenting with the raffia table mat and it works as well. Thanks for sharing this. So, many still wonder about the magic of flatlays.

    1. Yes! The raffia is a nice texture and looks gorgeous especially with more tropical themed shots! I hope as I share more, they’ll wonder less and get to experimenting haha

  3. I think I will adopt this cardboard something *big grin* I have been using my white towel as flatlays and I have never loved how it comes out, I always end up not posting it eventually *sad* But wait, let me buy cardboard first and download Snapseed…

    Thanks for these tips, Amaka.

    1. No problems b! Lol white towel? Chai that must have been interesting. I knew I’d go for cardboard from the start because its flat and makes life so much easier! I also have a thing for singular coloured things e.g. the pink cardboard

  4. Lol that comment about singlets as a background got me laughing. I’d love to get amazing flatlay pictures like yours. Thanks for the tips and the length of this post ! x

  5. ‘Hey lecturer!! I’m the girl sitting by the left, scribbling furiously. Have you seen me???’ But seriously, I’m interested in improving my flatlay skills. I typically use a raffia mat or black floor tiles. Plus, I just take pictures of only the subject, no additions. I guess I’ll get better with practice.
    Thanks for sharing?

    1. Sitting by the left eh? Were you not the one that came late and walked into my class on your phone? -10 marks for your exam! Lol I hope this short series is quite helpful to you, I think the next post in the series will be bomb. Sometimes only the subject is best, but sometimes all the props add a little bada-boom to the photo lol

Leave a Reply

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