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

BVS X Lucy Parissi design collab + giveaway on IG #summerdessertchallenge
July 10, 2021

BVS X Lucy Parissi design collab + giveaway on IG #summerdessertchallenge

Today we launch our first backdrop collaboration, BVS X Lucy Parissi to bring you three gorgeous new designs developed with photographer and food blogger, Lucy.

I love working with people outside of our own four walls (no offence to my team but external input and feedback is always so inspiring and helpful!) so when Lucy asked me about developing some new backdrops from a few of her own surfaces I jumped at the chance.

Lucy has been a customer and supporter of Black Velvet Styling from very early on so we’re really happy to be collaborating on our first BVS X range with her. Lucy’s work is absolutely stunning – if you don’t already go follow her on Instagram @supergolden88 for a lesson in how to shoot in a beautiful and layered yet clear and elegant style that brands love.

There’s been a lot of back and forth on the styles, colours and tiny details which Lucy and I ironed out over two lots of samples, but I think its safe to say we have three AMAZING new backdrops here.

Two really nice *hopeful* classics and one total wild card that I just couldn’t resist putting in the range.  You know I always like to test the boundaries and push you out of your comfort zones a bit!

I think its really important that I never assume too much what you guys would like in our backdrops and that’s another reason I’m so excited to collaborate in this way more – people approach design from so many different angles - I love being surprised by what people find on their travels or have lying around and think would make an awesome print.

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Introducing our first brand ambassadors: Patrick Rock Smith + Matt Inwood
July 01, 2021

Introducing our first brand ambassadors: Patrick Rock Smith + Matt Inwood

We're very excited to announce our first official brand partnerships with two fantastic food snappers.

We're thrilled to be working with Patrick Rock Smith, whom we have shared a mutual admiration with for a while now - Patrick for our backdrops and us for his amazing food photos and London restaurant inspiration.

And I'm equally delighted to be making our long standing advocate and friend, Matt Inwood an official partner too. Matt was a very early adopter (guinea pig even!) and cheerer-onner of our backdrops and already gives a discount code to his Instagram masterclass students, so I guess he has been ambassador-ing behind the scenes all this time! 

If you don't know of both these guys I suggest you go follow them now for some serious food, styling and photography inspo - @patrickrocksmith @matt_inwood

  

More about Patrick 

Patrick is our kind of guy - he has a huge passion for food and specialises in shooting social media content for big and small brands.  

'Photography is my craft, and creative content is everything.'

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How to use moodboards to plan, present & clarify your styling and photography direction
June 08, 2021

How to use moodboards to plan, present & clarify your styling and photography direction

Moodboards can help you plan, create, clarify and connect your styling and photography for one shot, a days shoot or across an entire brand.

Whether you create them digitally on something like Pinterest, on here with our moodboard feature to collate backdrops for your shoots or physically with magazine tears and swatches, moodboards can be highly effective in helping you develop ideas and make an initial, visual plan.

And lets not overlook the focus and efficiency having a visual reference can bring to each step of your creative process – it will help keep you on track; clarifying your aims and speeding up decisions.

 

A moodboard is like a mini creative brief; if you’re shooting for your own content a moodboard might be all you need to develop an idea and set the style and tone for your shoot. 

If you’re working on a styling or photography job for a client, a moodboard may be the first step in showing them that you understand their ideas and aims before developing a more in-depth production plan or shot list.

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April 28, 2021

Playing with colour theory in food styling

Hey! I've been very inspired recently by two great books - How to photograph food by Bea Lubas and Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone. 

Both books talk a bit about colour theory in styling and photography, and although I must have covered this in my art A-level or foundation course, I realised I couldn't remember a single thing about it!

So I set myself a challenge to do some research and style a couple of shots with colour theory in mind.  Turns out I have actually been using it as a tool in my styling all this time; I just didn't realise (or forgot) how and why.

Two ways to use colour theory in your food styling and photography

For my first play I wanted to use only green in this guacamole shot. I knew it wouldn't be boring because there are so many beautiful green ingredients in it.

We've got the warm, yellowy lime and vibrant pea green peppers, olivey avocados and the strong coriander green going darker and cooler in the shadows.

I selected props that are light, textural and neutral to create the flow of the composition, going a little bolder with the clay plate to meet the strength of the coriander seeds and za'atar on top of the guac. (Side note; ground spices and herb pots are a fantastic way to bring in complimentary colours as well as a final flurry of texture, I have loads to hand in my studio!) 

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The power of props: elevate your content & craft stories through styling
April 08, 2021

The power of props: elevate your content & craft stories through styling

Props are one of the best ways to elevate your content and build deeper connections with your audience. 

Using props to support your hero - whether that's food or products - tells a much more interesting story than your hero alone, captivating the imagination of your viewers so you make a lasting impression.

Show your process with 'doing' props.

A used zester to conjure up the zingy flavour of lemon curd, a whisk with little fluffy meringue peaks still attached tell the process of a recipe.

Equally a craftmans tools or offcuts, say the shavings of dry clay carved away while turning a pot or the natural sponge used to dab water while you work, help tell the viewer about the care that goes into your work.

Props are everywhere and can be anything - just ask yourself this question to sanity check them - does this elevate and connect or overtake and distract?

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November 25, 2020

NEW! Food styling and photography props now on sale in our store

After a very big delay (due to covid and moving and homeschooling and lots of other general life stuff!) we are very pleased to be opening our prop section this week, tomorrow in fact!

Alongside providing props for my styling and photography clients I have been trusted to source props for several cookbooks this year including The Pie Room by Calum Franklin, Ekstedt by Niklas Ekstedt and the MasterChef cookbook. 

It feels so good to be finally bringing this part of my work into the BVS offering here!

Being a food and prop stylist myself you will find all of our props perfect for food, product and still life photography, following my prop rules they are -

1. not too big

2. not too shiny

3. not too grabby

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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.

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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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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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