A little while back, we shared a blog all about the top three things that every wedding photographer needs in their styling kit. This post all about our number one favourite styling kit tools and what to look for when you purchase yours! (Keep reading for a discount code!)
If we could only have one styling kit tool for our wedding days, it would be a styling mat.
Before styling mats entered our world, styling and photographing wedding day details felt way more complicated. If you’ve ever taken Amy and Jordan’s Shooting and Editing course, you know that backgrounds play such a key role in achieving the look that you want. Especially as light and airy wedding photographers, every single photo we take always incorporates strategy to achieve a desired visual impact; a big piece of our shooting decisions rely not just on lighting, but also in finding neutral light-reflecting backgrounds.
If you are a wedding photographer, you know how wedding days go by in such a flash. And when it comes to the getting ready portion of the day, you don’t always have a whole lot of time to hunt down a clean background for photographing and featuring your couple’s wedding day details.
We regularly use our styling mat for all of the bridal details as well as the groom’s details, including:
Of course, there are many more sentimental items to photograph on a wedding day! We listed our top 10 in our wedding day keepsake photo list! In short, having a beautiful styling mat is one of the easiest ways to start to up-level your wedding day styling game! Taking courses like Rebecca Yale’s is also a really great step for learning how to create stunning flat lay compositions!
Before we jump into what we purchased and why, there are a few things you should consider when deciding on your perfect styling mat. Here are the factors that will make a big difference for you as a wedding photographer:
We searched high and low for a company that would provide the best investment for a styling mat. We considered other lovely options like Kiss Styling Mats, The Styling Mat company (a round styling mat), among many others! If you know us, we are Dave Ramsey kids (read: we are frugal and Dylan has ridiculously good budgeting game)! If you read my wedding photography styling kit, you will know that before even considering buying a styling mat, I have to admit I got very creative and made my own! Although mine photographs really well, it did not hit all the tick marks that a styling mat should. After blowing over $100 on French linen and all of the other supplies (and a seamstress), I got to the point where I decided to leave styling mats to the experts and am so glad I did!
After looking for months, I finally landed on a styling mat company called Olive and Oak. This gorgeous brand provides beautiful styling mats that are priced a little bit lower than the big players (and nearly all of the players) in the industry, and they have a lot going for them. They are a relatively new company but are very good at what they do! Keep reading to see what sets them apart!
Olive & Oak hand fashions luxury, affordable ROLLABLE Styling boards for photographer, florists, wedding planners, calligraphers, and creatives! We purchased the pearl and linen styling mat in the 20×24″ dimension. Unboxing this beauty was glorious, but we needed to put it to the test to make sure that it was as durable and convenient as it was pretty! This is our review of our styling mat.
The most impressive part of Olive & Oak mats is that you get two mats for the price of one! We are budding minimalists and are all about traveling light. So having two mat options in one that can be matched to the visual feel/colour scheme you are going for is such a great thing!
Olive & Oak has a simple system to keep your double-sided styling mat clean while using it. Simply add-on a cover mat to put down on your surfaces first (highly recommended); then place your styling mat on that cover mat and voila! Your mat will remain pristine and perfect.
This was a stickling point that we were really concerned about. It was actually our greatest concern. We know there are some mats you can just throw in the wash. But we wanted material that looked really high-end to complement our couples’ details. And those kinds of materials often don’t work so well in the wash!
The good news is that Olive & Oak mats are just as fanatical about your mat staying clean and living a long life, too. Include in your bag of supplies a small water bottle and a white cloth so you can just dab and clean any spots from flowers or food. It’s that easy. It doesn’t hurt to also pack a lint roller (if you don’t have one of these in your styling kit already, it’s a Godsend!) and give your mat a quick swipe before placement for lay flats. You can also use your lint roller to clean your mats before rolling them up and storing them in your containers until the next use.
Olive & Oak mats solve an issue that most styling mats completely miss. The material has an amazing thickness to them. We don’t have to do anything for it to lay perfectly flat after it’s unrolled. ZERO wrinkles every time. And because it has a decent thickness to it, it could still work on a surface that isn’t perfectly flat.
Olive & Oak has thought about it all… they also provide ring styling mats so you can bring a mini mat along with you at your next engagement session. That’s a pretty neat feature to make ring shots not only match the colour story of your shoots, but also keep a high-end feel.
Suede, linen, and velvet…. Oh my!!! These luxury materials look so pretty without registering at the high cost of most other mats. We love the pearl velvet option (it has a silvery mauve hint that works well for neutral lay flats) and you cannot ever go wrong with linen. It’s always timeless and a great go-to background for photography wedding details that can easily be dressed up with a veil over top if you like!
One colour won’t fit every wedding and we like how Olive & Oak makes it more affordable to style your items. That’s one of the reasons why we are so crazy about these mats — having two colour options per mat is amazing. They make it easy to have the right colour mats for all of your weddings with different colour schemes.
This con was due to our bad of overestimating just how big our mat would be. We got the 20×24” sized mat. We found that it is not quite large enough for flatlays that incorporate ALL of details like florals, shoes, stationery. In our opinion, it just makes the most sense to just go for the 30×34” mat from the get-go. So if you are going to invest in a styling mat, it is definitely worth it to just get the largest size! We will definitely be upgrading to the next size up.
US shipping is quite affordable. However, we are London & Toronto Ontario wedding photographers. Any Canadian photographer knows that a lot of the best photographer goodies and accessories often come in from the States. When we found out the pricing for shipping, we were not surprised. However, after doing the math, their mats were still a good deal considering you are truly getting two for the price of one. What makes it even better? For a limited time, Olive & Oak has a 10% discount code to help out!
Full disclosure. We purchased the Olive & Oak mat at a discounted rate. To purchase an Olive & Oak mat with a discount too, you can use the limited time coupon code of sandratake10. We love sharing things we love and hope you enjoy this gorgeous mat for many many weddings and creative endeavors to come! We know we LOVE ours!
Light & airy photographer or want to be? Check out Amy & Jordan’s Shooting and Editing course here to transform your work! Click here for a referral link that gives you $50 discount off of their course!
We’re London and Toronto Ontario wedding photographers and love to share all of the things that have made our business better! If you are a photographer, check out our resources for photographers. if you are a bride, take a look at our best tips and tricks for wedding day planning!
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We're Dylan & Sandra. Married photographers, donut lovers, and obsessed with family and our squishy toddler. We're so glad you're here! Grab a drink and stay awhile for classic + joy-filled love stories in and around the GTA, London, Niagara and the best-of wedding advice!
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