Monthly #bvs capture challenge - the March theme is Editorial

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - the March theme is Editorial

Welcome to March and a new #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 March #bvs challenge!

The March 2022 challenge theme is editorial and we're thrilled to have our lovely friend Matt Inwood @matt_inwood as our guest judge helping Anna, Suze and I select the finalists. 


I spent the first twenty years of my career in publishing, working as a designer and art director for a small independent publisher, focussed on creating high-end food and drink books. It gave me the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people working in food and food publishing, from world-renowned chefs such as Tom Kerridge, Jason Atherton, Claire Clark and Philip Howard, to some of the most well-respected and talented food writers around. I’ve worked with some great global food brands, from MasterChef to Marmite, and with some of the best food photographers in the business, including David Loftus and Jean Cazals. I love every aspect of creating a book, from design and typography to directing photo shoots and briefing stylists, but I also have a very thorough understanding of print and production, and of commissioning and editorial work, too.

Since setting up my own company, I have also been working as a food photographer and a teacher of photography via my phone photography and Instagram workshops, which have been running for almost five years. I have taken this workshop all across the country and abroad to Ireland and France, to share skills with small, medium and large business owners and budding amateur photographers of every description. I have delivered training to restaurant and hotel groups, to PR companies and for businesses as diverse as National Geographic, Time Out and the food board of Ireland, Bord Bia.

Read more about Matt and his work at


About our theme - editorial styling technique

A editorial style image of only three elements, leaving the dark, 'Safe' backdrop clear.



I'm so excited about this theme because it is SO different to the creative briefs I usually follow in my commercial styling work or even my own content creation shooting with our backdrops.  Editorial styling is clean, clear, simple, graphic and impactful - never boring, sometimes dramatic, often minimal and always confident to use negative space.

After all, editorial images need space for titles and copt text - that is the purpose of having empty or simply propped areas; to run text over it and it still be clear and easy to read.

But that doesn't mean editorial style images are only good for magazine spreads or web banners - I think this style works brilliantly for product and food photography and helps you create strong compositions.  It guides you in keeping things simple and using only a few elements in the layout - something we all need to do sometimes as stylists is actually to do less.

And you can still follow your own creative way - modern, moody, soft, layered, vintage, pretty - these can all still be made to look editorial by keeping it simple and having clear areas of space or low contrast.



Clean and simple styling for Burleigh Pottery leaving clear space for copy and links. Shot on the Draper light wood effect backdrop.


Photography tips for editorial captures 

  • add interest in the negative space by allowing the light to fall away or graduate across
  • you can play with really short focal depths when the hero is so clear and simply framed
  • create direction/flow with your lighting by playing with bounce (white) and fill (black) cards
  • go macro - try a 85-105mm lens


Styling tips for editorial compositions 

  • if you love layering keep it subtle by using similar tones - remember you need larger areas of similar colour/contrast to make it feel clean and mean any overlaid text will still be clear 
  • try using only three elements
  • if adding action (hands, moving elements etc) consider this one element and don't overlap with other props (only the backdrop) to keep it simple
  • select your backdrop carefully - this will be a big element in your image as we're looking to leave a lot of negative space
  • if in doubt - take it away! Less is more in editorial styling.



Editorial product styling on the 'Seville' vibrant orange photography backdrop.


Editing ideas for editorial photography 

  • use masks on the backdrop/negative space if you need to make it more consistent
  • or use gradients to add interest to flat areas
  • try layering titles and text across your image - where would it go? If theres isn't any space you haven't nailed the editorial look yet! (Your entries can have text on them or not - its up to you!)


Beautiful lemons shot in a graphic overhead editorial style by Anna Janecka on our ‘Ariel’ deep sea green photography backdrop

I hope that’s given you some ideas;  editorial styling is a great technique to learn as it is quick and simple to set up! 


How to enter 

  1. Follow all hosts and judges on Instagram -@blackvelvetstyling @anna_janecka @gourmetglow @matt_inwood
  2. Have fun exploring editorial styling and photography techniques
  3. Post between 9th - 27th March 2022 using the hashtag #bvseditorial 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 Sunday the 27th March 2022.

Good luck!



Editorial styling on a hand-painted canvas backdrop using a short focal depth to create a feeling of space and frame the products.


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 editorial creations!


Perfectly simple styling by Suze @gourmetglow leaving lots of negative space following the editorial theme, shot on the ‘June’ swirling sand and pink marble backdrop. 

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