Food Styling & Photography Backdrops, Workshops, Online Courses and Resources

5 fail-safe photography backdrops that are perfect for beginners
May 04, 2020

5 fail-safe photography backdrops that are perfect for beginners

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,

    • 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.

 

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Three ways to enjoy British asparagus while its in season - recipes, food styling notes & wine pairing
April 19, 2020

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.

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food styling prop stylist recipe photography soup food backdrop background surface composition tips how to
April 07, 2020

Wild Garlic & Cheddar Soup Recipe - Food Styling 4 Ways

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!

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Basic Food Styling Kit Essentials - 25 things you need to style food for photography
March 03, 2020

Basic Food Styling Kit Essentials - 25 things you need to style food for photography

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.

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Dark chocolate and orange blossom croissant (bread and butter) pudding recipe and food photography set up
January 21, 2020

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!

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National Food & Awareness Days, January to March 2020
December 31, 2019

National Food & Awareness Days, January to March 2020

Hey!  If this isn't too late for you I've just updated my foodie calendar for the first quarter 2020 - copy and paste it below or download a clean version (without weird web formatting) in my resources and downloads section for free.

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.  

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food styling day rate props stylist earn charge how much photography
September 16, 2019

How much do food stylists and prop/still life stylists earn?

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?

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Blackcurrant cheesecake, 6 ways to style cake - a personal food styling and cake photography challenge!
July 17, 2019

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 :)

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food styling tips photography how to style boiled eggs asparagus parmesan recipe backdrops surfaces still life
May 13, 2019

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!

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Lebanese Lamb, Pine Nuts & Roasted Aubergine Recipe
May 09, 2019

Lebanese Lamb, Pine Nuts & Roasted Aubergine Recipe

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!).  

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New styling workshops just added - come along to learn how to plan and style food, props and products for content marketing and photography
April 29, 2019

New styling workshops just added - come along to learn how to plan and style food, props and products for content marketing and photography

If you would like to improve your styling skills and gain confidence in producing beautiful content to promote your craft, product or brand this is a great way to be taught first hand and have an inspiring day learning with other creatives and business owners.  

We will cover everything from generating ideas and linking with national events to honing a style and shooting with natural light where you work with a good couple of hours to develop your skills with first hand help and feedback.  For a full list of the topics covered please go to the styling workshop pages here.

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Pumpkin Pie Recipe for Thanksgiving 2018
November 16, 2018

Pumpkin Pie Recipe for Thanksgiving 2018

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.

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10 Affordable and easy backdrops for food styling and photography backgrounds
November 03, 2018

10 Affordable and easy backdrops for food styling and photography backgrounds

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.

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Some early feedback and customer snaps on our photography background papers
September 25, 2018

Some early feedback and customer snaps on our photography background papers

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.

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Early Autumn Backdrop Edit #1 - for seasonal food & still life styling
September 19, 2018

Early Autumn Backdrop Edit #1 - for seasonal food & still life styling

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.

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A quick peek behind-the-scenes on a couple of recent shoots using my backgrounds
August 24, 2018

A quick peek behind-the-scenes on a couple of recent shoots using my backgrounds

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.

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