Monthly #bvs capture challenge - February's theme is monochrome

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - February's theme is monochrome

February 03, 2022

Welcome to February 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! 

The number of entries for our January challenge was so overwhelming - over 650 posts on the hashtag - AND the quality was incredible, so so happy, thank you!

 

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 February #bvs challenge!

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

Beautiful monochrome colours led by the cake and deep red cherries, shot by Suze Morrison @gourmetglow

 

The February 2022 challenge theme is monochrome and we're thrilled to have Roberta @healthylittlecravings as our guest judge helping Anna, Suze and I select the finalists.

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

Roberta Dall’Alba is a food photographer, food blogger and founder of The Outstanding Food Photographer Program, a course that helps food photographers develop their aesthetic sense to elevate their photography, so they can attract clients. She has a passion for homemade food and an obsession for baking.

Roberta has a love for texture and attention to detail, and her intent is to always make her images mouth-watering and as three-dimensional as possible. Despite her young age, Roberta has worked with small businesses and magazines, as well as larger brands like Nikon, Adobe, Barilla and Samsung. She's OBSESSED with editing!

robertadallalba.com @healthylittlecravings

 

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

Pretty pears allowed to shine in subtle, monochrome surroundings, by Roberta Dall’Alba 

 

#bvsmonochrome

How to enter 

  1. Follow all hosts and judges on Instagram - @blackvelvetstyling @anna_janecka @gourmetglow @healthylittlecravings
  2. Have fun exploring monochrome techniques
  3. Post between 3rd - 25th February 2022 using the hashtag #bvsmonochrome and tagging @blackvelvetstyling

For the full rules please go the bottom of this post.

  

About our theme - monochrome colour technique

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

Beautiful greens shot by @anna_janecka

 

#bvsmonochrome

Most people think of black and white images and artwork when they hear monochrome but it actually describes the use of any single colour (or hue) in different shades. In monochromatic images the colour remains the same but the vibrancy, brightness and - with artistic license - tints and tones differ slightly.

Also food photographers like to go one step further and bring monochrome stying in around a subject which will still have several natural colours in it - this is a favourite technique with lots of top photographers and content creatives as it really makes the food feel vibrant in its muted, monochrome surroundings.

Here are two examples I have shot in this way, where the colour comes from the food and the backdrop and props are all shades of the same hue (or very close!).

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

A monochromatic image using only greys along side the colour of the food. Shot on a custom still life canvas in steely greys.

 

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

Vibrant desserts nestle among monochromatic white and grey props (plus the vintage napkin which has embroidery in the same colours as the food!).  Shot on the 'Noah' vinyl photography backdrop.

   

Photography tips for monochrome captures 

  • make sure your focus is super sharp and obvious (not too short) as there might not be a colour vibrancy/contrast cue to pull the viewers attention there
  • try to get a good spread of whites, highlights, mid-tones, shadows and blacks to avoid a flat image
  • create contrast and direction/flow with your lighting

  

Styling tips for monochromatic compositions 

  • texture and layering will add interest and create light and shade for a bigger range of shades
  • framing your subject will help it stand off a similar hued background
  • lines and patterns may feel stronger in monochrome images - avoid them or play with them - you may want to create lines and patterns of graduating shades to bring the eye across your composition - experiment!
  • select your base colour with a mood in mind - this first decision, as it is the key theme to the entire image, will direct the mood greatly
  • break the rules - play with accent details in contrasting or similar colours
  • use easy subject placement techniques (like the rule of thirds for example) to make your hero more obvious when using lots if similar mid-tones
  • in food photography - start with the colour of the food and build a tonal palette around that

 

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

Simple monochromatic photography led by the colour of the food, shot by @anna_janecka

 

Editing ideas for monochrome photography 

  • Try desaturating everything but the subject
  • Play with the luminescence and hue of individual colours
  • Use masks to selectively increase shadows or highlights and create contrast

 

I hope that’s given you some ideas;  monochrome styling is so much fun and makes a real impact!

 

How to enter 

  1. Follow all hosts and judges on Instagram - @blackvelvetstyling @anna_janecka @gourmetglow @healthylittlecravings
  2. Have fun exploring monochrome techniques
  3. Post between 3rd - 25th February 2022 using the hashtag #bvsmonochrome 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 Friday the 25th February 2022.

Good luck!

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

Vibrant greens in muted green monochrome styling by Roberta Dall’Alba

 

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.

 

monochrome food photography tips styling how to style still life backdrops surfaces backgrounds

 

Celebrating this beautiful purple pasta in monochromatic style on the Bray vinyl photography backdrop

 

Good luck, we can't wait to see your February creations!

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