Food Styling & Photography Backdrops, Workshops, Online Courses and Resources
Moodboards can help you plan, create, clarify and connect your styling and photography for one shot, a days shoot or across an entire brand.
Whether you create them digitally on something like Pinterest, on here with our moodboard feature to collate backdrops for your shoots or physically with magazine tears and swatches, moodboards can be highly effective in helping you develop ideas and make an initial, visual plan.
And lets not overlook the focus and efficiency having a visual reference can bring to each step of your creative process – it will help keep you on track; clarifying your aims and speeding up decisions.
A moodboard is like a mini creative brief; if you’re shooting for your own content a moodboard might be all you need to develop an idea and set the style and tone for your shoot.
If you’re working on a styling or photography job for a client, a moodboard may be the first step in showing them that you understand their ideas and aims before developing a more in-depth production plan or shot list.
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.
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!)
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.
Props are one of the best ways to elevate your content and build deeper connections with your audience.
Using props to support your hero - whether that's food or products - tells a much more interesting story than your hero alone, captivating the imagination of your viewers so you make a lasting impression.
Show your process with 'doing' props.
A used zester to conjure up the zingy flavour of lemon curd, a whisk with little fluffy meringue peaks still attached tell the process of a recipe.
Equally a craftmans tools or offcuts, say the shavings of dry clay carved away while turning a pot or the natural sponge used to dab water while you work, help tell the viewer about the care that goes into your work.
Props are everywhere and can be anything - just ask yourself this question to sanity check them - does this elevate and connect or overtake and distract?
Printed backdrops offer both beginners and professionals lots of benefits when sourcing photography surfaces. (We know this because we have world class photographers and creative agencies as well as home bakers and bloggers using our backdrops!)
But how do paper and vinyl backdrops compare?
Our extra-thick vinyl backdrops have a new benefit I wasn’t expecting and that is that they spring open and want to be flat.
This makes them ready-to-shoot straight out of the tube. (We have tested this up to 3 days in the tube and they come out with almost no curl that relaxes out very quickly.)
The extra thick vinyl material also makes them easy to hang vertically giving a ‘clean’ hang – less wobbly than paper or thin vinyl which can need pulling tight with extra clips or sticking flat to an upright surface.
Hey! If like us you think pancakes are for any day, all year round, you'll love these recipes and styling ideas.
We have pancakes most weekends, so trust me these recipes are tried and tested! They're not mine - so I won't copy and paste them to take credit, you can find them on the links.
We will focus more on the photography techniques and food styling tips to help you shoot pancakes this Shrove Tuesday and all year!
As with any styling & photography, the first question to explore is; what do we want people to notice first, stay focused on or remember from the image? With food styling we have the added dimension of flavour too!
So what's special about pancakes?
After a very big delay (due to covid and moving and homeschooling and lots of other general life stuff!) we are very pleased to be opening our prop section this week, tomorrow in fact!
Alongside providing props for my styling and photography clients I have been trusted to source props for several cookbooks this year including The Pie Room by Calum Franklin, Ekstedt by Niklas Ekstedt and the MasterChef cookbook.
It feels so good to be finally bringing this part of my work into the BVS offering here!
Being a food and prop stylist myself you will find all of our props perfect for food, product and still life photography, following my prop rules they are -
1. not too big
2. not too shiny
3. not too grabby
For UK delivery on or before Christmas eve -
You can order backdrop sheets and choose Royal Mail 1st class postage up to 12pm on Friday the 18th December. (RM say Monday the 21st but I wouldn't trust that and they may have high demand/low staff this year so we will keep an eye on it!)
Any sheets, carry cases, gift sets etc going with DHL should be ordered up to 12pm on Tuesday the 22nd December. (You can order with DHL by 12pm on the 23rd but this is cutting it fine and I wouldn't recommend it!)
I'm so thrilled to announce our first ever challenge, open to everyone in the creative community via Instagram, and co-hosted by Clementine @clemfoodie!
About this new challenge
#BVSinspired is a new seasonal styling challenge ran through Instagram, created by Sophie in collaboration with food creatives and experts and open for all to enter for a chance for one winner to take home £100 in BVS vouchers and a runner up to receive a £25 voucher.
Through sharing techniques and ideas we hope to support and inspire our community in developing new styling and photography skills while celebrating the seasons and building a deeper connection with nature.
It would be easy to tell you what our best sellers are but they're not necessarily what's best for a beginner. We sell to a massive mix of clients ranging from top experts of the food photography industry to global creative agencies. magazine and cookbook publishers, as well as home makers, recipe bloggers and crafters - everyones' needs are unique and everybody's skill level and experience will be different.
At the start of your content creation journey - whether thats as a newly trained photographer, social marketer, maker or crafter - your priorities and budget will be very different to that of a seasoned content creator or somebody with an established prop collection.
That's exactly what I want to share with you today, five photography backdrops that -
are absolutely timeless,
Because you might be thinking ‘what the heck is an infinity curve?’ lets’ start with that…
In short, an infinity curve (or cove, or scoop) is created by using a single surface to create the floor and wall of your set, in a fluid curve. Infinity curves are often permanent fixtures, built and painted in large studios for fashion, interiors and car photography, but they can be used to equally good effect for still life and product photography on a smaller scale, using curved paper, card or canvas as a temporary set up.
Infinity curves create a minimal, stylised, sometimes ethereal look. They are best suited to straight-up product photography rather than lifestyle briefs that normally require a more natural look; sets that convey home life.
Three ways to enjoy British asparagus while its in season - recipes, food styling notes & wine pairing
British asparagus season is only a short one lasting just a few weeks in late April and May, sometimes edging into June, so you've gotta be ready with some tasty recipes up your sleeve. Especially as it deteriorates pretty quickly after picking - another reason British asparagus will arrive on your table fresher and tastier than what you can import from else where.
We all know the classics - asparagus and hollandaise is a firm favourite or simply steamed and dipped in butter and sea salt can be scoffed very frantically. But what about when you want to make more of a meal of it?
These are three of my favourite ways to enjoy asparagus as a spring starter or main meal. I can't help but include an egg dish - i just love eggs of any kind, a creamy puff pastry tart is always a good way to get my kids to enjoy different flavours and the scallop dish, well it's just divine and works as a starter or main if you add some buttery boiled potatoes or a green salad.
Now is the time to enjoy wild garlic and this year I wanted to do more with it than pesto! Apparently you can pickle the flowers which will be my next way to enjoy them, but here I'm showing you how to make wild garlic and cheddar soup AND four different ways to style it.
If you like broccoli and stilton soup - and garlic - I'm sure you will love this recipe! The punchy wild garlic is met by the strong cheese and softened with cream and chicken stock (or veggie stock if you prefer to skip the meat element and make this a vegetarian recipe). As always I class this as a lazy, tasty and pretty recipe.
I'm showing you so many different ways to compose a shot for this soup recipe as I have used it as an example in my Styling & Composition course and thought I'd share some of them here. I hope you find the ideas and compositions useful - there are many more styling tips and tricks in my courses if you want to check them out!
I just wanted to confirm that we are open for business and fulfilling orders - and of course taking extra precautions in our home and business.
We have been social-distancing and our kids haven't been in school since Monday the 16th of March as a, we can easily homeschool because we are lucky enough to work from home, and b, I have a heart condition that may put me at higher risk if i get the corona virus.
Its the question everyone always asks - what do food stylists use to make the dishes look so amazing in food photography?
The real answer is years of experience and practise of course!
But you can get a bit closer to achieving that perfect burger or beautifully frosted berries by having these bits of kit on hand ready to brush, stick, tweeze, spray, blast and blaze.
Obviously the kit you need will change from shoot to shoot, dish to dish with extra machines and kit required depending on what food you're styling - if you work in a niche food group or only bake cookies for example you'll soon figure out what they are and how best to style your food for photographs.
Hi :) If you didn't already know, I'm a stylist and content creator too, so I want to share some affordable, everyday food photography backdrops and props with you, ones that you can get on a pretty small budget or may already have at home.
I'm a big advocate of having lots of different options* and I'm not naive enough to believe or propose that you should ONLY EVER USE MY PRINTED BACKDROPS! :D For me, good food styling starts with a beautiful dish of food - everything else is purely framing - and using layers and texture is a big part of that for me. So even though I often start with one of my backdrops when creating content, there will always be other elements and smaller surfaces to compose the shot and frame the hero. (UNLESS! I am creating content to sell the backdrop itself - then propping will be minimal to show the surface off!)
Styling surfaces come in all shapes and sizes, and if you're photographing food or other smallish still life cameos, it should be easy to find interesting, affordable backgrounds big enough for your needs.
A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of participating in a gin making day at Nelson's distillery - it wasn't gifted, but it was a Christmas present from my (lovely) other half.
And it was fantastic! The process, the gadgets, the history - all fascinating and made even better by our passionate and energetic host, David Hunter.
The day started with coffee and a quick chat before a tour of the distillery and introduction to the distilling process - which to my understanding is neutral alcohol + botanicals (including juniper) = gin! Plus of course lots of sciencey bits in cool shiny things.
Dark chocolate and orange blossom croissant (bread and butter) pudding recipe and food photography set up
Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog, today I'm sharing a recipe and a bit about how i shot it and the food photography set up as, like many of you, I shoot food content at home in natural light - which can be challenging in the UK!
The recipe is for a pudding i made for a family meal last weekend and shot on a new backdrop (Delia) for some quick content to promote the food photography backgrounds you'll find on this site. The pudding went down so well I am now writing up the recipe as part of my #lazytastypretty recipe collection - if its easy, looks pretty and tastes good it's a winner for me!
Hey! 2019 has been an incredible year for us both as a family and in this business; we recently had our 1000th order, something I thought would take years!
To say thanks and to celebrate our success we are running a HUGE giveaway competition, the biggest yet!
How would you like to win 6 of your favourite photography backdrops, professionally mounted onto solid boards and matt-sealed for a fully waterproof, long lasting photography surface, with free postage included?!
I'm not sure if its a chilli, a soup, a casserole, a stew, a one pot or something else - but I am CERTAIN that it is delish and has everything in it for a complete meal (it's paleo if you're into that). You can of course add nachos, chunky bread or even chips to dip in. I'm a big fan of soup and chips, is that a thing where you are?!
As usual for me, this recipe is a mash up of things I've eaten out, recipes I've used and flavours I want to try. I've made it three times now and for friends yesterday and the verdict was YUM so now I'm ready to share it with you!
Ho ho ho, and meeeeeeeeerry October! I know its early but it's been a very busy year for us so I'm already thinking about our Christmas break!
Our last posting day will be Monday the 23rd of December 2019, and we will start posting orders again on Monday the 30th of December 2019.
Unless agreed otherwise, mounted board production starts again on the 6th of January for the first dispatches that week.
We will still be open for orders over the holiday period, and will probably send out a tasty offer to our mailing list for orders during that time, in lieu of our merriness and incapacity to ship them! Not on the list? Click the turquoise tab at the bottom of the page to register and get our best deals and news.
Grey can fit the brief for many looks - neutral, organic, soft, urban, clean - so it’s no surprise that most stylists and photographers have a few trusty grey backdrops up their sleeve.
Clients love them too because they’re a low-risk, timeless classic meaning their content won’t look dated too soon or fade with the latest colour trend.
I hope you find this useful and thanks again for your feedback which helps me get the right information to potential customers and offer a better service to everyone!
Well that's a tricky question isn't it! And for several reasons.
Firstly, because people (British people sorry!) are taught not to discuss money, and secondly, because freelancers or anybody pitching for work are understandably nervous about publishing or discussing their prices for many different but mostly logical reasons.
Prices may go up or down due to;
- client budget - this is an industry where different areas like editorial, advertising or TV will pay different rates for the same job due to the end use and historical ad agency style pricing
- kudos - if you're somebody that I really want to work with or think would look great in my portfolio I may drop my price if asked to
- stage of career/experience - early on in your career you may charge less and increase with each year of experience
- need to work/lack of work - we all have those quiet periods where we will take any job just to keep working and eat.
Also there are different ways of pricing - perhaps per project if its a large or ongoing shoot or per day with extra services as add-ons if required.
I will be discussing the day rate pricing strategy which I think most freelance food stylists and prop/still life stylists work to.
So what can you charge per day for food styling or as a prop stylist?
No churn ice cream recipes - blackcurrant ripple & matcha, cardamom and pistachio - my first #lazytastypretty recipe post
Morning! It's 8.03am and the first Monday of the school holidays so of course I've been at my desk since 6.30am trying to get some work done! To be fair I actually love this time of day - if I'm lucky the kids are still asleep or can be passed off to breakfast/lounging round until at least 9am and I seem to be able to get more done in these first few hours of the day than most of the rest of the time. I'd go so far as to say I LOVE getting up early and feeling 'ahead of the day'. God I'm old. And boring. Oh well, f#ck it. (*sings 'this is me' in head*)
So what am I here for now? To share two recipes with you and kick off my #lazytastypretty food ethos, community, not sure what to call it!
Basically I want to start saving our favourite family recipes and maybe even inspire other families to eat better, live better with little-to-medium effort, enjoying the process and results, whether it's family meals or posh nosh.
Making a good meal shouldn't' be a chore - it's a great excuse to switch off the gadgets, stand up for a bit, be creative and get the whole family involved. (Not every day of course, we're not the Waltons, but aiming for 3-4 times a week to create bakes or meals together is a good thing to aim for I'd say!)
The first recipe I want to share isn't a healthy one, it's a treat......
Blackcurrant cheesecake, 6 ways to style cake - a personal food styling and cake photography challenge!
I don't know about you but I struggle with cake styling. I think its because I don't like triangles, and I also hate that look when you cut out a piece of cake and when you take it away from the rest of the cake you're left with a pacman face. I just can't stop looking at it in a cake shot, it's all I can see!
SO. I decided to set myself a challenge of shooting a cake overhead. I'm avoiding the pacman issue by only shooting it whole and then divided in pieces and repeated, without the rest of the cake in the shot. I'm looking to some of my instagram faves for inspo and pushing myself to do a light, colourful and dark version for each set up.
Here's what I created, why I did what I did and how I feel about each image! Please do comment your feedback below and let me know what cake styling challenges you face or how you've overcome them in your own food photography :)
30 of my mounted photography backdrops are now part of the prop collection at Food Studio Hire in London, NW1
Images copyright Howard Shooter. 'Bert' backdrop used above.
I had the pleasure of meeting Howard Shooter yesterday, having created 30 mounted and sealed photography backdrops for his food photography studios in Camden. What a lovely man! (And food photography legend, obvs.)
Howard now has the largest range of BVS backdrops in London! (That I know of anyway!) You can use them as part of his photography services and they are also available to hire in his two extra kitchen studios which are rented out on a daily or weekly basis for food stills, TV and film work.
I'm very excited to see what Howard and his clients create with the collection! The hire studios haven't been open long but Howard has already had The Body Coach - Joe Wicks, Gousto, Marcus Wareing, Louise Pentland, Weight Watchers, The Great British Bake Off and Waitrose in - follow @foodstudiohire on Instagram to see these beautiful spaces in use.
Quick food styling tip for boiled eggs! Charred Asparagus, Parmigiano Reggiano and Boiled Duck Egg Recipe
Hi! Asparagus season is here in the UK so I'm enjoying it A LOT at the mo. One of my favourite ways to eat it is dipped in eggs and rather fortuitously a friend dropped round some neighbours duck eggs yesterday so I have been dreaming about this lunch since then!
Skip down for the recipe below or get this for a food styling win - I had a happy accident when boiling the eggs!
I went to a middle eastern wine tasting recently and enjoyed some beautiful spiced beef and egg plant (or aubergine!) and I just couldn't get the flavour out of my head. You know, when you're thinking about what you ate somewhere days later?!
So I just had to look for a recipe for what I guessed was a Lebanese dish, and I searched 'beef and eggplant' on ckbk and this absolute belter came up from the cookbook, 'Classic Lebanese Cuisine' (more details at the end of this post!).
INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY to celebrate my 500th order! WIN 3 Mounted Backdrops of your choice or 2 Runner Up prizes of 5 backdrop sheets!
Hi! As I write this I am at 498 orders - when I get my 500th backdrop order I will launch a giveaway for you to have the chance to win 3 free mounted backdrops of your choice, worth £58 each, so it's a BIG prize worth £174!
I'm so amazed and thrilled by how this business is going - I love doing this work, I'm so pleased its working out as a regular income stream for me - the whole point was to create something I could do from home around my children and adhoc styling/content work so I can't thank you enough if you have been one of the 498 orders, supported me on Instagram or been an advocate or part of my journey in any other way!
I'm a bit late with this one sorry but here is the list of food and drink awareness days and weeks, as well as some international food dates that you might wish to consider for your social media marketing or web content during May, June and July 2019.
If like me you are required to come up with topical or trending food content for your clients this is a big time saver, or it could help you develop your own marketing plan and give you the confidence to focus on a few dates and ignore the ones that don't fit your brand. Just don't feel forced to do everything - quality and authenticity is key!
I'm pleased to introduce 7 new designs today, ranging from textural metals to pastel wooden doors to bold painted effects. I can't wait to see how you use them but also get styling with them myself. Patsy is just *WOW*.
To celebrate their launch I'm giving 1 design away to 3 lucky winners - simply comment below letting me know which you'd like to win to be entered!
Paper backdrops are great - they are an affordable way to expand your prop options, can be rolled up and transported in the parcel tubes and can be used as scoops. They are also a great way to bring new props in for individual clients and charge transparently, and even better, they can be disposed of straight after the shoot if space is at a premium.
However, you may want to mount your printed backgrounds to make them last longer or seal them so you can style food straight onto the surface.
Mounting your backgrounds onto boards will of course make them more durable and they can be easier to set up to work on. Sealing them will also make them water resistant and stronger on the surface so even better for food stylists and other messy creatives.
Treat your stylish one to some fabulous backdrops and help their creativity flyyyyy!
Our gift vouchers can be used across the entire range on printed backdrop sheets and professionally mounted and sealed photography backgrounds.
Select £10, £25, £50 or £100 depending on how good they've been....
SAME DAY DISPATCH, next day delivery on photography backdrop sheets, Christmas deadlines and other fascinating shipping news!
I am very pleased to now be able to offer same day dispatch on all of my printed photography backdrops. This means you could order today before 1pm, for delivery for your shoot by 9am tomorrow! (I'm whooping as I type!)
So, here are 8 styling ideas & ways to decorate this Christmas
Like many other Brits I guess, I haven't had sweet pumpkin before, oh apart from spiced lattes! So it was really nice to create this recipe and eat pumpkin in a different way. We waste so many around Halloween anyway don't we so it's good to have another recipe up my sleeve to make use of them. Maybe you could peel and chop the pumpkin up straight after Halloween and freeze it until you need it?
Anyway, it was both delicious and a dream to shoot - I mean that colour! And autumnal natural props always make me giddy, so this was a dream job for me. I'm going to write a post about the work side of this recipe shoot - the photography set up, styling and editing - but for now lets focus on the recipe itself.
I used one which called for fresh pumpkin rather than tinned to use up a big pumpkin I had left over and it wasn't hard at all - just took a bit longer to prep and cook but I think the colour and flavour would be much better with fresh anyway.
I wanted to write a short blog about social sharing and my use of customer images (user generated content or UGC to marketers) as it is very valuable to my business and much appreciated, but only of course, if you're down with it too. I want to check that I am approaching it correctly and respectfully.
So, as I use hashtags on Instagram to mark entries to the monthly giveaway (yeah I give 3 free photography backgrounds away every month just for sharing an image! Check out this post about it for more details.) and I'm now using product specific hashtags to share both my and customer social images on the backdrop listings too, I wanted to clarify my thoughts on the etiquette of it and make sure they are in line with yours. And get your feedback if not!
This is a completely new business and product range for me so I'm really pleased to have this great feedback on what I had hoped would be (and is proving to be - thank god!) a good solution to the needs of stylists and photographers on a lower budget or when quick fixes are required if you supply props for many different clients.
Another good sign is that we're already getting repeat orders - only in our second month of being in business - so that makes me very pleased too. Not only are people enjoying shooting with my photography backgrounds, but they're also coming back for more, giving me feedback, discussing opportunities and generally being part of our journey. It's fabulous - thanks so much if you're one of those early advocates.
If you are on the fence as to whether these backdrops would be right for your photography, read on for genuine customer comments and click through to see how these guys are using their BVS backdrops on Instagram or their own websites.
It's sad to say goodbye to such an amazing summer, but
Autumn is awesome too.
I'm excited for more mushroom foraging, pumpkin-spiced lattes, crunchy walks, chestnuts, cosy (forgiving) fashion and all the rich colours the English autumn brings.
Here is my AUTUMN EDIT #1 to get you in the mood for some seasonal styling (and maybe for Netflix and comfort food). I've kept it quite colourful - as that seems to be my style - but also I don't want to go full on dark and wintery yet - Autumn can be bright and sunny and there's still lots of colour around - roses, dahlias, berries, garden apples - all make beautiful natural props before we resign ourselves to winter.
A very quick post to show you how well my printed backdrops stand up to commercial product photography and food styling. I can't share too much until the clients release the content but maaaaaaaaaaaaan these colours look gorgeous!
We shot Christmas, mothers day, cocktails, breakfast, bakes, valentines, fathers day, cinco de mayo and more for web and social media content, POS and packaging images.