Vintage Styling Workshop – Let’s Get Creative!

I started writing this post on my way back from the Vintage Styling Workshop but then soon realised the lack of sleep and illness (I’m full of cold) was turning my brain into mush so I had a nap instead! Fast forward to Monday evening and after a good rest and copious amounts of cough medicine I am ready to tell you all about my lovely day in Norwich. It was the longest day in history but the 4am alarm clock was totally worth it!

Vintage styling workshop in Norwich
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

One of my many goals for 2018 is to unleash my creative side and get involved in workshops wherever possible. I love to be creative both to benefit my personal life but also my business as it enables me to offer lots of advice and inspiration for my lovely couples and clients. I have followed The Vintage House That Could on Instagram for quite some time and Katie’s home and styling is beyond amazing. The reason why all of my bedroom floors are painted white is because of this fabulous ladies style. If you haven’t heard of TVHTC then get on Instagram and take a look for yourself! Her home is truly gorgeous with lots of vintage, rustic and shabby chic touches – A home that I long for and hope that one day my place will look half as good!

So when I spotted that Katie was running a workshop in Norwich alongside the fabulous lifestyle blogger and stylist Tamsyn Morgans (make sure you follow her too!) I jumped at the chance to grab a ticket. Not only did it sound fun, I also hadn’t been to Norwich before so thought it would be nice to take a look around. Plus believe it or not I just don’t know many workshops of this kind in the Yorkshire area. If you know of any then please comment, I’d love to go to more!

Vintage shelfie styling inspiration
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events


To get the workshop started we all went around the table to introduce ourselves and say a little bit about why we were here and what we were hoping to learn. It was lovely to see that there were so many lovely ladies who were in a similar position to me, working full or part time whilst setting up their dream business and working for themselves. When you are an aspiring girl boss you need these people in your life, having your very own girl tribe is a must to keep you on track and continue with that passion.

It was also lovely to hear how both Katie and Tamsyn had got to where they are now. Instagram has been amazing for their businesses so by creating these workshops they are passing on their knowledge and skills to like minded people who dream of succeeding down a similar pathway.


Never heard of a flatlay? To be honest neither had I before I set up my business but fast forward 12 months and I will happily sit for a good two hours messing around with bits and pieces from around my home in order to create an Insta worthy image. To put it simply, a flatlay is an arrangement of objects and textures on a flat surface which is usually shot from directly above on a fabulous backdrop. Whenever I see a flatlay on Instagram or Pinterest I am instantly drawn in. It’s a great way to showcase your work especially if you are a creative!

Vintage camera flatlay
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

After the introductions we were set to work on creating flatlays with various vintage objects and backdrops. The room had lots of different stations with so many bits and bobs to let your creativity run wild. Flowers, scrabble tiles, floral fabric, vases, photo frames – you name it, it was there for us to use however we wished! The room had a beautiful natural light even on a grey day which really does make a difference when taking the perfect photo. The majority of images you see online are edited but you can’t really do much with it in the first place unless you have good natural light.

White backdrop flatlay
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events
Flatlay with roses and scrabble letters
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

I created a few flatlays using the objects that I was instantly drawn to. Katie and Tamsyn also made a point of spending time with each and every one of us which was great and really useful to get some extra tips and expert advice.

Vintage style flatlay
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

Photography tips and tricks

Having the skills to create a flatlay is all well and good but often it’s the way you position the objects and take the photo that matters the most. Just moving something slightly can make the world of difference and draw people in to really engage with your photo. Negative space was something that was mentioned a lot. Rather than filling each and every space with an object, create more of an L shape so that you have empty space to the left or right. This immediately looks more appealing to the eye!

I have been posting on Instagram for years and I didn’t even realise that my phone has a square grid option… how ridiculous! This changed my life instantly (yes I’m easily pleased!), no more cropping to get the perfect square image, game changer. You can find this in your camera settings if you don’t know about this already.

Naked peach cake inspiration
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

Can I just say that all of this is possible on a mobile phone. The majority of creatives use their phones instead of an expensive camera and why not, phone cameras are amazing these days! Don’t think that you have to rush out and buy the most expensive camera on the market. It’s all about practice and finding the right technique and editing style that works for you and your brand.

Editing apps and hashtags

Over lunch we discussed the various editing apps that are out there. There are so many apps available which can make it a little overwhelming knowing which one(s) to use. The best piece of advice I got was to choose an editing style that you love and keep at it. Having a consistent IG feed using the the same filter/editing style is key to getting your feed noticed and loved by others. A Colour Story and Snapseed were the two main apps that kept popping up so I will definitely be exploring those further. At the moment I tend to use the Ginza filter on Instagram and then use the additional tools to adjust the brightening, sharpness etc. All of the images included in this blog post have the Ginza filter, I just love the softness of the finish and the peachy vibe it has going on.

Floral plant pot backdrop
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

Hashtags are essential for getting your images noticed on Instagram. Even if you have say 10k followers it’s always worth having the latest trending hashtags in view so that you can continue to not only grow your following but also find out about other pages that you would love to follow. I obviously connect with lots of wedding related accounts but I LOVE following home inspiration pages too as not only are they great for my personal inspiration but also my business.

Vintage styling props
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

If you are a bit unsure as to which hashtags to use, take a look at other pages that you admire and make a note of the ones they are using. Just make sure that you are using hashtags correctly and that they are in line with the image and description. If hashtags are used incorrectly or overused then Instagram often bans them to prevent others from using them for a while. To check this simply type in a hashtag in the search box. If images show up then you are good to go, if not then there will be a message saying that this particular hashtag has been banned due to misuse. Always worth doing just to be sure! Also check the suggested related hashtags that will appear just underneath the tag you searched for. You might find these one are useful for your posts too.

I’m no expert but I always like to share the tips that I have learnt. I hope you find them useful!

Playing with flowers

The afternoon session started with Tamsyn giving us a few tips on how we can create lovely images using flowers. I personally loved the floral circle background and will forever be using this. Something so simple yet pleasing on the eye. Great for adding text too!

Sian Chaplin Events, wedding and event planner based in Leeds, West Yorkshire
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

Katie also spoke about a stunning floral branch she created for her home using dried and faux flowers which I absolutely love. I have a load of flowers in my home at the moment so have plans to recreate something similar, here’s hoping it looks half as good!


Simple objects on a clean and crisp shelf is a big hit on Instagram. It’s all about the ‘shelfie’ images these days, forget about the selfies! We had fun learning about how to lay out your objects, creating that L shape again and taking the photo at the level of the shelf rather than from below or above. Worth knowing if you are tall or a little short!

Simple vintage floral vases
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events


To say I enjoyed myself was an understatement, I had so much fun and learnt so much. It was well worth the trip and I would happily go back in a heartbeat to brush up on my skills. This course is designed for anyone who fancies a day of creativity, you don’t have to have your own business. It’s the perfect excuse to meet other like minded people who have similar interests and share that same passion.

Vintage floral frames
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

I’m now edging towards setting up an additional Instagram page alongside my event planning feed purely for my creative posts. As I post a lot of real wedding images I can’t edit these (which I wouldn’t want to, the photographers I get to work with are amazing!). This new page can showcase my creative work, both personal and business. Definitely something to consider for the future!

Floral flatlay inspiration
Image taken by Siân Chaplin Events

Thank you so much Katie and Tamsyn. If you ever feel like running a workshop in the Leeds area then you know where I am!

Be sure to check out the Instagram pages below. These belong to the lovely ladies who were at the workshop, I’m sure they would love your support plus their pages are fab!

Lots of love Siân xxx

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