DIY Photo University – Styling

Garden Party-19

Finding Your Style

The key to finding your own personal style is to tune in to your inspirations. The most obvious tool for this purpose? Pinterest, of course. Browse around on your favorite blogs or Etsy, which has brilliant examples of  product styling, and pin what speaks to you. The next step is to pinpoint what exactly it is in these photos that speaks to you.


Is there a lot of texture? Color?


Does the photo feel soft and dramatic, or light and bright?


Is there a color palette that ties the image together?

Once you find your personal style, strive to live between experimentation and consistency. Your photos will never be boring, but your followers will recognize your work as your own.


My personal preference for a background is a nice wood grain, faux fur, or a combination of the two. Wood grain will look natural in your photos; it’s beautiful and interesting without being distracting. A one-time investment will get you everything you need for that look.

If you make smaller scale DIY projects, you can buy 12″x24″  birch plywood at your local craft store for less than $5 (especially if you have a coupon! I’m cheap so I took a 40% off coupon with me each day and bought one at a time) If you find your projects need a larger backdrop, buy a larger sheet of plywood from your local hardware store (you can get a 6’x10′ piece for around $20-$30) and have them cut it down for you.

While you’re at the craft or hardware store, consider picking up some stain for your wood. Follow your own personal style here. I used a dark walnut stain, which I absolutely love, and chose to leave the reverse side of the wood natural. Options are your best friend.


However, you still don’t necessarily need to buy anything to creatively display your projects. The above image is crisp, clean and simple, while displaying the item in an interesting way. Take a walk around your house, your patio, and your neighborhood to see if there are any interesting spots to experiment with your photos.


I like to think of using props as putting the object in context. This bathtub caddy is a perfect example. There is a palpable mood here, and one that I’m sure most of us wish we were relaxing in right now!


Convince your friend or sister to sit in as your model in exchange for coffee and a hug. It’ll be worth it to bring your project to life!


Add supporting objects that make sense with the style of your project. They can help the image to feel less empty and give a sense of scale.


As always, have fun and get creative! If you missed the other DIY Photo University lessons, you can read them here (Lighting) and here (Composition).

Photos – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Alyssa is a designer, photographer and essentially the art department at Whimseybox. She loves making, no matter what the creative challenge is. Her current obsessions include (but are not limited to!) textural weaving, all things white or geometric, crystals and aerial silks. She blogs personal inspirations and Whimseybox behind-the-scenes at

1 Comment

  • Reply August 13, 2013

    Celebration! |

    [...] or CraftGawker perhaps?), WhimseyBox has a series called “DIY Photo University” and in this week’s post they discuss styling your photos. They also offer a monthly subscription box service where they send you materials for [...]

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