Black Velvet Styling - Photography Backdrops Blog

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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