Business Tips

How To Style Stock Photos and Flatlays

October 28, 2019

When it comes to cultivating a social media presence, using custom stock photos has become essential. While it may sound intimidating, with 5 simple tips, styling elegant photos can be easy. As a marketing expert and branding photographer, I work with girl bosses every day to curate their online presence and create authentic content. Which is why I have compiled for you my tried and true methods for styling and capturing great photos for your business. 

As a bonus, I’ve also curated some beautiful stock photos to start building your stock library today. (yay!) 


Create A Styling Board

While your floors or kitchen table are lovely, chances are they are not the best surface for your stock photos. Luckily there are some easy and cost-effective ways to create one. Canvas from the craft store is a great way to create a clean surface, and you can always brush on some paint in a brand color for dimension or texture. Another favorite trick is to take a $1 foam poster board and wrap it in marble contact paper. If you’re not up for creating something yourself, then a quick search on Etsy for “styling mats” or “styling boards” will do the trick! Something like THESE linen styling boards are perfect. 


The Right Light

If you can only learn one thing from this post, then this is the one to remember- lighting is everything. My photographers out there understand this, but for my other fempreneurs, don’t even attempt to take a photo if you have bad light. If you can take your photos outside on a sunny day in some open shade, it will take the guesswork out of finding the right light. For taking photos indoors, find an east-facing room, and capture your images as the sun shines through in the morning. Another trick is to set your styling board up right next to an open door with lots of natural light! 

Don’t forget – you’ll want to turn off any artificial lighting! Turning the overhead light or a lamp on in the room can throw the color palette off.

Use Props with Personality

When looking for props, my go-to stores are TJ Maxx, Amazon, or Target. It’s easy to find inspirational pieces in a variety of colors that are on-trend and not too expensive. When finding props, consider how you would style it, what backdrop you would use, and if it could have multiple purposes. Letterboards, coffee mugs, and your everyday tools of the trade such as a laptop or journal are great props. 

When in doubt, if it sparks joy for you, it will spark joy for your people as well.


Use Your Brand Colors

Stock images should be an extension of your brand imaging. Something as simple as a journal in your brand colors or swapping out pink flowers for neutral white can make all the difference. While little infusions of variety are great, as a whole, you want to keep with a cohesive look on your social feed and website. Neutral props play well off of branded business cards, or a clean, consistent background will create continuity if you sell a variety of products. 

Keep it Relevant

Overall your flat lays should feel relevant to you or your business. It can be tempting to style something similar to your competitor but instead consider what is something original to you. For instance, are you from a coastal area and consistently travel to the beach for vacation? It makes total sense to create a beach flat lay. It’s authentic to who you are.  We can all learn, grow, and try new things, but the key is to be authentic and consistent.  

Additionally, you’ll want to leave space open for adding text. When I style a flat lay, I’ll place a book in the middle and then remove it once everything is styled around it. This allows for a place to put text later of a quote that is relevant to you. 

Now I know I just threw a ton of information your way, and you might feel a little overwhelmed. Have no fear! I gotcha girl. I’ve created twenty FREE stock images that are ready for you to customize and use. (Feel free to take a moment for a happy dance…no judgment) These are perfect for customizing or using while you work on building your own stock library. And because I can not help myself, after you download the first 20 images I’ll send you some extras every now and then directly to your inbox! 



Click the thumbnails below to see how Mandy Liz stock photos have been used by other girl bosses! 

Have you already downloaded your free images? Leave a comment and tell me how you’ve used them, I cant wait to hear!

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Nashville entrepreneur, personal brand and wedding photographer, and digital marketing consultant. I'm on a mission to empower and encourage women in their current season of life, whether that is business and entrepreneurship, marriage, or motherhood. 

I'm Mandy


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