BVS News plus Food Styling & Photography Tips & Resources

Price increases from 1st July
June 24, 2022

Price increases from 1st July

Like most businesses in the UK we are facing increased costs in nearly all aspects of our work.  We have thought hard to make our product price increases as minimal as possible, while allowing us to continue to offer attractive shipping costs and special offers on shipping and products.

On the 1st of July the following products will change price as follows:

Read more

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - May theme: HARD LIGHT
May 05, 2022

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - May theme: HARD LIGHT

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

About our theme - using hard light

#bvshardlight

I am only just starting to play with and see the possibilities with using hard light in my photography - as a 99% natural-light-photographer I need direct sunlight to get hard light and strong shadows.

But its so much fun exploring this technique now I have some lighting kit! Strong, direct light gives you those hard edged, highly defined shadows rather than the softly graduating patches of darkness you get from soft - or diffused - light.

Typically, larger light sources (that will wrap light around your products and props) produce soft shadows, and smaller, single light sources (like slim, directional light) produce harder light and shadows because there is little or no other light softening the edges from other angles.

Read more

Introducing 'The Styling Handbook', look inside our new creative agency
April 25, 2022

Introducing 'The Styling Handbook', look inside our new creative agency

Introducing The Styling Handbook, a new creative agency focused on authentic, quality-led content and e-commerce for food and lifestyle brands

The Styling Handbook is the new home of our styling, photography and marketing services - somewhere we can share our passion for authentic, quality-led content without confusing the message here - where 99% of you visit us purely for photography backdrops!

While BVS is still an important focus for me, I'm really excited to be working on more commercial photography and marketing projects and have the time to train and support other businesses - thanks largely to our amazing team at BVS!

We're already working with some fantastic global brands and local businesses, offering -

  • commercial styling and still life photography 
  • remote and on-site content creation, including restaurant photography
  • marketing strategy and social media services
  • e-commerce strategy and design
  • styling and photography training and workshops

Read more

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - April theme: FRAMING
April 06, 2022

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - April theme: FRAMING

Welcome to April 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! 

Read more

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - February's theme is monochrome
February 03, 2022

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

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.

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.

#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.

Read more

NEW #bvsinspired instagram challenge - join in to win up to £100 in vouchers!
November 01, 2020

NEW #bvsinspired instagram challenge - join in to win up to £100 in vouchers!

I'm so thrilled to announce our first ever challenge, open to everyone in the creative community via Instagram, and co-hosted by Clementine @clemfoodie!

About this new challenge

#BVSinspired is a new seasonal styling challenge ran through Instagram, created by Sophie in collaboration with food creatives and experts and open for all to enter for a chance for one winner to take home £100 in BVS vouchers and a runner up to receive a £25 voucher.

Through sharing techniques and ideas we hope to support and inspire our community in developing new styling and photography skills while celebrating the seasons and building a deeper connection with nature.

Read more

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!

Read more

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.

Read more

10 Affordable and easy backdrops for food styling and photography backgrounds
February 23, 2020

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.

Read more

Autumn Spiced Chicken & Squash Chilli / Soup / One Pot Recipe and Food Photography Ideas
November 07, 2019

Autumn Spiced Chicken & Squash Chilli / Soup / One Pot Recipe and Food Photography Ideas

I'm not sure if its a chilli, a soup, a casserole, a stew, a one pot or something else - but I am CERTAIN that it is delish and has everything in it for a complete meal (it's paleo if you're into that).  You can of course add nachos, chunky bread or even chips to dip in.  I'm a big fan of soup and chips, is that a thing where you are?! 

As usual for me, this recipe is a mash up of things I've eaten out, recipes I've used and flavours I want to try.  I've made it three times now and for friends yesterday and the verdict was YUM so now I'm ready to share it with you! 

Read more

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?

Read more

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 :)

Read more

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!

Read more

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!).  

Read more