Monthly #BVS capture challenge - July theme is FLOW

Monthly #BVS capture challenge - July theme is FLOW


Welcome to July and our next #bvs capture challenge!  Enter for your chance to WIN a £100 or £25 voucher

About the #bvs challenge

Our monthly challenges are open to everyone in the creative community, hosted via Instagram, co-hosted by myself (Sophie!) and some of our brand ambassadors – Anna, Suze, Matt or Patrick – plus special guest judges each month.

For each challenge we will share professional styling and photography tips and ideas that follow a monthly theme. The tips and themes explored should be useful in all still life photography - including food, product and lifestyle content.

We hope to inspire our community and be inspired ourselves – I always find it fascinating how people can interpret things differently and use the same theory in lots of different creative ways! 


Each month we shortlist four finalists and then the community votes for their winner via Instagram.  The winner will get a £100 BVS gift voucher and the runner up will receive a £25 BVS gift voucher.

Plus all winners from January - November will get the chance to be crowned the 2022 overall winner in December!


So let's introduce our July #bvs challenge and guest judge

The July 2022 challenge theme is FLOW and we're so happy to have Bella @ful.filled as our guest judge helping Anna, Suze and I select the finalists. 


Bella started her blog as a way to share her passion for real food and photography. Her passion project quickly grew into a career that includes styling and photographing for global brands and teaching others how to turn their passions into their purpose through mentoring & workshops. 


About our theme - FLOW

Flow is a fun thing to explore because it is very abstract and other-worldly - not all images have it, and not all mages need to have it, but when they do it brings an extra element of movement and magic.

By flow I mean the way your eye travels across an image - the way the props lead the viewer to take in each element and finally rest upon the hero.  Or explore more because its just so captivating!

Static images - single heroes or equal numbers in grids for example won't have a lot of flow - instead they rely on the impact of a graphic set up, interesting lighting and maybe surprising breaks to the rule - for example an overhead of a grid of 3x3 donuts but one has been bitten - there isn't much organic flow but their is an obvious hero or focal point.

Asymmetric and looser compositions normally create a nice flow across them, using cleverly placed leading-lines and cues in the lighting, framing and focus to help the eye skip across the image and finally rest on the hero.


Different sized circles used in a s-curve create flow across this image, shot on the Cara quartz/marble effect photography backdrop


Photography tips when using flow

  • if you're shooting overhead creating a flatlay composition remember to travel upwards with your styling, towards the camera through layering, as well as styling horizontally across the image - this will give more light and shade to your image as well as creating a more interesting and three-dimensional capture
  • play with black cards to fill in the shadows to deepen them - again adding more contrast and drama to emphasise the flow you have created
  • experiment with the focal depth to create distance and a front, middle and back to your image increasing the feeling of movement


Beautiful linen styling by Suze @gourmetglow showing how to add light and shade in the same tones as the backdrop, leading the eye without feeling heavy and holding your focus.  Shot in the 'Salt' vinyl photography backdrop.


Styling tips for creating flow in your composition

  • explore composition theories such as s-curve, golden ratio and rule of thirds - personally, to me they are all playing on the same thing (balance and tension) but they can be helpful starting points for creating a journey across your image
  • remember you can use negative (empty) space to your advantage especially in asymmetric scenes - keep some space clear to give the eye a rest and create a peaceful composition
  • leading lines are a quick way to direct the flow around your images but use cutlery as leading lines with caution - things can start to look spiky and confusing with too many knives etc! And don't forget the edge of a board, a horizon line and a pointy napkin will all be leading lines/arrows too.
  • ruffled linen and flowing fabrics can add a lot of movement to an image - like a rippling river they can lead you to the final destination - your hero and focal point! Lighter materials (think silk scarves) will create the softest ripples and dreamy dips for shadows


A short focal depth on different heights can be a welcome element to make a flowing flat-lay less flat! Shot on the Earl classic grey photography backdrop.


Editing ideas for images with flow

  • try gradient or brush masks to subtly lighten the 'path' or flow you create around your image
  • if you need more interest but don't want to lead the eye in a certain direction use fabrics and props in tone with your backdrop and desaturate or darken them to make them purely textural/tonal.


@anna_janecka uses negative space and a clever spoon placement to signal the hero (focal point) in this lovely shot using our Amos concrete effect photography backdrop 

I hope that’s given you some ideas and inspiration to try creating more flow in your compositions!


How to enter 

  1. Follow all hosts and judges on Instagram - @blackvelvetstyling @anna_janecka @gourmetglow @ful.filled
  2. Have fun exploring flow in your styling and photography
  3. Post between 12th - 26th July 2022 using the hashtag #BVSflow and tagging @blackvelvetstyling

Each entry will be judged on how you’ve used the technique and how you capture the essence of your subject with it.

We look forward to seeing your posts and announcing the four finalists on Instagram soon after the competition closes at midnight on the 26th July 2022.

Good luck!


Competition Rules

Entries don’t have to include our backdrops, our monthly capture challenges are about exploring different techniques.

Entries must stay on your feed for the duration of the competition and judging period if you are a finalist.

Four finalists will be selected shortly after close and announced via our Instagram stories.

The winner and runner up will be voted for by the public via our Instagram stories, this will be live for 24hrs.

The winner and runner up will be announced via our Instagram stories soon after close.

We only need your email address to deliver the prize.  We never ask for personal or bank details via email or private messages.

No purchase necessary to enter.

No minimum order necessary on the voucher prizes.  They will be valid for 12 months.

Open worldwide.

All decisions are final.

Not in conjunction or affiliated with Instagram in anyway.

Good luck, we can't wait to see your flowing compositions!


A lovely composition by Suze @gourmetglow bringing our attention from the large cake at the back through to the front of the image where our eyes rest on the in-focus piece of cheesecake. 


A simple composition taking our eyes across the main dish yet subtly supporting the hero in a loose style on what could be a quite static, one-element capture.  Shot by @anna_janecka on the 'Hvar' white tile photography backdrop


Eman Ramadan
Eman Ramadan

Octover Winner

Kelly Kardos
Kelly Kardos

This sounds really fun to try…how many entries are you allowed to have on this challenge?

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.