Food Styling & Photography Backdrops, Workshops, Online Courses and Resources
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.
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?
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
For UK delivery on or before Christmas eve -
You can order backdrop sheets and choose Royal Mail 1st class postage up to 12pm on Friday the 18th December. (RM say Monday the 21st but I wouldn't trust that and they may have high demand/low staff this year so we will keep an eye on it!)
Any sheets, carry cases, gift sets etc going with DHL should be ordered up to 12pm on Tuesday the 22nd December. (You can order with DHL by 12pm on the 23rd but this is cutting it fine and I wouldn't recommend it!)
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.
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!
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.
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?
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 :)