Food Styling & Photography Backdrops, Workshops, Online Courses and Resources
Welcome to 2022 and our new monthly capture challenge!
I'm so happy to announce a new regular #bvs capture challenge, open to everyone in the creative community via Instagram, co-hosted by myself (Sophie!) and some of our brand ambassadors – Anna, Suze, Matt or Patrick – plus special guest judges each month.
About the #bvs challenge
This is a monthly styling and photography challenge ran through Instagram, created by Black Velvet Styling and open for all to join in.
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.
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.
Printed backdrops - whether on paper, vinyl or fabric material – are a wonderful way to build a collection of photography backdrops affordably.
For a relatively small investment you can have marble, wood, tiles and more at your fingertips, ready to style and shoot, at only a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
And what’s more your printed backdrops won’t take over your workspace.
They are light and easy to transport and store, no more lugging heavy surfaces between shoots!
Here are a few pointers to help you on your way to creating amazing images with our printed backdrops
Our backdrop sheets are posted rolled in cardboard tubes or flat if posted in a carry & store case.
We recommend opening your package as soon as it arrives to allow the backdrop sheets to settle.
Our extra thick vinyl backdrops will jump open and flatten for immediate use.
The paper backdrops can have a soft curve after being rolled but this will relax in a few hours if they are laid flat, face down with a few books on top.
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!)
Hey! If like us you think pancakes are for any day, all year round, you'll love these recipes and styling ideas.
We have pancakes most weekends, so trust me these recipes are tried and tested! They're not mine - so I won't copy and paste them to take credit, you can find them on the links.
We will focus more on the photography techniques and food styling tips to help you shoot pancakes this Shrove Tuesday and all year!
As with any styling & photography, the first question to explore is; what do we want people to notice first, stay focused on or remember from the image? With food styling we have the added dimension of flavour too!
So what's special about pancakes?
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.
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,
Because you might be thinking ‘what the heck is an infinity curve?’ lets’ start with that…
In short, an infinity curve (or cove, or scoop) is created by using a single surface to create the floor and wall of your set, in a fluid curve. Infinity curves are often permanent fixtures, built and painted in large studios for fashion, interiors and car photography, but they can be used to equally good effect for still life and product photography on a smaller scale, using curved paper, card or canvas as a temporary set up.
Infinity curves create a minimal, stylised, sometimes ethereal look. They are best suited to straight-up product photography rather than lifestyle briefs that normally require a more natural look; sets that convey home life.
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 :)