About us

BVS founder, Sophie Purser started making photography backdrops in 2016 when she couldn’t find what she needed to shoot a portfolio whilst making the move from in-house to freelance styling. 

Originally creating hand-painted backdrops that drew on her fine art training, Sophie quickly saw the need for more affordable options that shoot just as well, so set about researching sustainable materials to print on.

Black Velvet Styling was born with this in mind – to offer affordable backdrops that don’t compromise on quality or cost the earth. 

We're proud that our backdrops regularly feature in/on The Telegraph Food, Observer Food Monthly, Jamie Oliver, Delicious magazine, Asda, BBC Good Food magazine, Olive magazine, Aldi, The Boy who Bakes, David Loftus, Amelia Freer, MasterChef and many more of the UK's top cookbooks, publications, brands and social feeds. 

We are a team of eight based in Darley Abbey (& remotely in Edinburgh!).

Feel free to get in touch if you need any help at all, with nearly 100 designs now we know it's hard to choose!

Not sure whether to go for vinyl or paper photography backdrops?

Its a tough one! Our paper backdrops are of course cheaper and more sustainable but waterproof vinyl backdrops give the gift of time when working with messy food and wet props.

In this new article we discuss the benefits of each material and how they may act differently depending on your subject, lighting and styling.

If you don't own a BVS backdrop yet this is a good place to start before choosing your backdrops.

Whether affordability, experimentation, durability or ease of lighting is key for you right now - all of this and more is covered to help you make the right decision for how you need your backdrops to perform.

Hit the button below to see which material is best for you!

Getting started with our printed photography backdrops
May 12, 2021

Getting started with our printed photography backdrops

Printed backdrops - whether on paper, vinyl or fabric material – are a wonderful way to build a collection of photography backdrops affordably.  

For a relatively small investment you can have marble, wood, tiles and more at your fingertips, ready to style and shoot, at only a fraction of the cost of the real thing.

And what’s more your printed backdrops won’t take over your workspace. 

They are light and easy to transport and store, no more lugging heavy surfaces between shoots! 

Here are a few pointers to help you on your way to creating amazing images with our printed backdrops

 

Our backdrop sheets are posted rolled in cardboard tubes or flat if posted in a carry & store case.

We recommend opening your package as soon as it arrives to allow the backdrop sheets to settle. 

Our extra thick vinyl backdrops will jump open and flatten for immediate use.

The paper backdrops can have a soft curve after being rolled but this will relax in a few hours if they are laid flat, face down with a few books on top.  

Read more

food styling photography colour theory stylist props still life set up behind the scenes tips how to
April 28, 2021

Playing with colour theory in food styling

Hey! I've been very inspired recently by two great books - How to photograph food by Bea Lubas and Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone. 

Both books talk a bit about colour theory in styling and photography, and although I must have covered this in my art A-level or foundation course, I realised I couldn't remember a single thing about it!

So I set myself a challenge to do some research and style a couple of shots with colour theory in mind.  Turns out I have actually been using it as a tool in my styling all this time; I just didn't realise (or forgot) how and why.

Two ways to use colour theory in your food styling and photography

For my first play I wanted to use only green in this guacamole shot. I knew it wouldn't be boring because there are so many beautiful green ingredients in it.

We've got the warm, yellowy lime and vibrant pea green peppers, olivey avocados and the strong coriander green going darker and cooler in the shadows.

I selected props that are light, textural and neutral to create the flow of the composition, going a little bolder with the clay plate to meet the strength of the coriander seeds and za'atar on top of the guac. (Side note; ground spices and herb pots are a fantastic way to bring in complimentary colours as well as a final flurry of texture, I have loads to hand in my studio!) 

Read more

Shout out to the suppliers helping us keep our packaging plastic free
April 20, 2021

Shout out to the suppliers helping us keep our packaging plastic free

Like many businesses we consider the lifespan and environmental impact of every purchase and component of our processes -  is it sustainably produced, what will happen to it if we no longer need it, is it absolutely necessary, what's the alternative, could we make a sustainable version ourselves etc. 

It can be a compromise at times - for example, I often lust after black tissue paper to wrap your backdrop orders... It would really make our branding pop and give you a cool unboxing experience, but the dyes and production process are more damaging to the environment than the acid-free, unbleached one we currently use. And yes, I know there are 'eco-friendly' dyed tissue papers, but at a huge premium; too expensive for small businesses or brands that aren't 'luxury'.

We have to ask: Is it worth it? Often it isn't yet, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Sustainable options will of course get cheaper if more people demand their manufacture in larger quantities.

Read more

5 failsafe backdrops perfect for beginners in food photography or content creation

At the start of your content creation journey your priorities and budget will be very different to that of a seasoned photographer or somebody with an established prop collection. 

Your photography backdrops will need to help you establish yourself (or your biz) as a relevant and aspirational brand.

Also, as a new photographer or to move into specialising in food or still life photography you may need to produce a portfolio of work. 

It's important to show potential clients that you have a carefully curated prop collection and can shoot for many different styles.

That's exactly what I want to share with you in this post;  five photography backdrops that,

* are absolutely timeless,

* will give you the perfect foundation for a strong prop collection,

* work best for those with limited lighting experience,

* OR content creators who shoot and edit on their phone.

Read more on the link below!