5 tips on how to style jeans flat lay or on tabletop

Jeans are in no doubt popular due to their versatility, and with this versatility comes multiple ways to style and prepare jeans for shooting. In this product photography styling tutorial, you will learn a number of tips and tricks on how to style jeans flat lay to create a more dynamic and interesting look for your web store.

Styling jeans flat lay allows for a number of looks and effects to be utilized on your web store. However just laying them down on a surface looks lifeless and doesn’t particularly catch the wannabe denim-buyer’s eye — for one, it’s harder to give a true indication of fit in the customer’s mind. 

This is why several techniques can be used to create ‘drama’ and more appeal. From playing with lighting to stuffing and creasing parts of the jeans, there are many ways to style, shoot and show off your denim by using flat lay photography. 

View video tutorial below

First, here’s what you should have prepared for this tutorial:

  • Camera - Any camera will suffice but a Canon EOS 5D Mk III is recommended as the industry-standard for professional product photography
  • Studio lighting - A source of continuous cool LED lamps are recommended for lighting to ensure exposure, shadows and contrast are kept consistent
  • Jeans - A selection of different styles is important to create unique and interesting looks
  • Brown packing paper - Or any paper that is solid and holds its shape is vital to giving your jeans depth

1. Stuff the pant leg for a 3-dimensional effect

To give a more dramatic appeal to your jeans along with creating a thinner, sleeker profile, you can stuff the pant legs. Simply take your brown paper, roll it up into fairly stiff, solid bundles and stuff it inside. 

Make sure to follow the natural contours of how a leg would fit inside the jeans. You want to have some natural bend around the knee area to give a more authentic, worn feel and ensure that the brown paper holds a solid shape.


2. Create a worn look by scrunching the fabric

To give your jeans more appeal and style, gently scrunch some areas of the stuffed legs. Denim gives off a naturally casual look, so a pair of perfectly ironed, straight jeans doesn’t quite catch the eye.

Poke some movement and creases into the knee, making sure each knee doesn't look identical. Also focus on the bottom of the jeans and pull the cuff up to show off a more 3d look in your final image. The crotch can be a problem area so ensure the seam sits nicely as the leg tapers down.


3. Open the zipper and raise the pockets

To give a more natural worn effect, open up the pockets so they appear to be full. Adding more depth to this area is important as nothing shows ‘flat and lifeless’ like empty pockets. 

Opening the zipper can also help to show off the inside of the jeans and give more profile to the crotch area. 


4. Experiment with lighting

Denim is a rich fabric that plays extremely well with light. To give your jeans a more dramatic and interesting look flat lay, experiment with moving the source of your light around. 

Play with angles and highlight creases and details in the denim that make it stand out. 


5. Slim and taper the legs

Because the jeans are laid flat, they will look wider than when worn. So when taking your final shot,  make sure to fold in the edges of your jeans slightly

Of course, depending on your brand style guide, how slim you want your jeans to look is a purely aesthetic preference, so experiment to see what works best for you - but make sure you don't misrepresent the fit. 

Don't feel like reading? Watch the tutorial in full (3.5 mins)

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Stephen Warr