BVS News plus Food Styling & Photography Tips & Resources

Royal Mail strikes in October and November - choose DHL delivery to be safe
October 06, 2022

Royal Mail strikes in October and November - choose DHL delivery to be safe

Royal Mail are taking strike action - please plan ahead as much as possible (I know that's so hard to do in our industry, sorry!)

The Communication Workers Union has called on its members who collect, sort and deliver for Royal Mail to strike on the following dates: 

  • Thursday 13th October
  • Thursday 20th October
  • Thursday 25th October
  • Thursday 28th November

I would expect delays and interruption to all RM services on those dates and the dates in between when they will be trying to catch up on a backlog.  

We are advising all of our customers to use DHL for urgent orders placed around these dates.

If you need your order for a shoot date - its best to be safe!

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NEW XL portrait, studio and newborn photography backdrops or floordrops
September 27, 2022

NEW XL portrait, studio and newborn photography backdrops or floordrops

NEW backdrops and floordrops in XL size

You can now get all of our backdrop designs on the same 60% recycled vinyl material in XL size - a whopping 100 x 150 cm!

Choose from the same range, printed at the same quality on our unique, extra-thick and smooth matte vinyl - which as you will know if you've shot with it before, holds a lovely flat shape or curve helping you avoid tonnes of editing.

Our XL backdrops are perfect for cake smashes, larger table-scapes, newborn photography, adhoc portraits (just tape them to a wall) and for using as floordrops.

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We will no longer dispatch on Fridays from the 1st of October
September 13, 2022

We will no longer dispatch on Fridays from the 1st of October

BIG news! Our dispatching days are changing

From the 1st of October we will no longer dispatch orders on Fridays.

Orders will be dispatched Monday to Thursday.

Any orders placed after 1pm on a Thursday will be sent out the next dispatching day, the following Monday (exc UK bank holidays).

This may be forever, it may just be over autumn/winter, we'll keep you posted. (Teehee)

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Tarte tatin with rosemary vanilla ice cream - recipe
August 30, 2022

Tarte tatin with rosemary vanilla ice cream - recipe

My mum grows the most beautiful organic apples and my kids love that caramel sweetness so tarte tatin is an easy, go-to recipe for our household each late summer.

I wanted to shoot some rustic food with a freshly-picked, home-grown 'garden shed' vibe on our new 'Jack' backdrop so this recipe offered the perfect opportunity to style and enjoy these leafy homegrown apples.

I've given the ice cream a slightly grown up twist by infusing the cream with rosemary before making into ice cream - it balances the sweet caramel, as does tossing your quartered apples in lemon juice before assembling them in your oven dish.

I hope you enjoy this sweet, sticky, creamy mess!

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6 NEW backdrops for September! Pre-order now with 3for2
August 19, 2022

6 NEW backdrops for September! Pre-order now with 3for2

So new I haven't even had chance to work with them and create a 'styled' shot yet!

I have been working on these designs for the last month or so and have just had the final samples back; I wasn't going to launch them until September (when we'll all probably feel a bit more worky and a bit less summer-party!) however, I realise we will be ending the 3for2 offer at the end of August and it feels a bit mean to do that and then drop a batch of brand new designs!

So I'm breaking the mould here and showing them to you before we have had the delivery of stock so you can pre-order using the 3for2 offer if you want to take advantage of the deal but are happy to wait until September for delivery of your complete order.

All of these designs will be available in the standard A1 size on sustainable paper (£18.50) and waterproof vinyl (£32.50) for dispatch the week of 5th September.  As always you can also order larger custom prints and have the paper backdrops professionally mounted onto MDF boards - more info on that here.

To get 3for2 simply add this code when you go through the checkout - 3for2.sunshine

Shop all the latest NEW backdrops here.

 

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Monthly #BVS capture challenge - August theme is NATURE
August 18, 2022

Monthly #BVS capture challenge - August theme is NATURE

New #bvs capture challenge for August!  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! 

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Special offers in AUGUST - 3for2 and FREE carry cases!
July 29, 2022

Special offers in AUGUST - 3for2 and FREE carry cases!

OFFERS END AT MIDNIGHT ON WEDNESDAY 31ST AUGUST!

We know many of you are taking it easy over the summer but we also know that lots of you are shooting for autumn and Christmas and love cracking on while your businesses are quieter.

Soooooo, we have a few deals for those of you who do want to shop this week!

3for2 on all printed backdrops  

Enter code 3for2.sunshine at checkout  

UK backdrop sheet orders over £100 get a FREE carry and store portfolio case worth £38 

You don't need to add this to your cart, we will do that for you when the free shipping is triggered as an option at checkout! 

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Monthly #BVS capture challenge - July theme is FLOW
July 13, 2022

Monthly #BVS capture challenge - July theme is FLOW

Welcome to July 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.

July theme - FLOW

Flow is a fun thing to explore because it is very abstract and other-worldy - not all images have it, and not all mages need to have it, but when they do it brings an extra element of movement and magic.

 

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Investing in handcrafted backdrops - when is the right time to get the most value?
July 07, 2022

Investing in handcrafted backdrops - when is the right time to get the most value?

When is the best time to invest in unique, hand-painted and textured photography backdrops?

Our production space is full of hand-painted photography backdrops today so I had a little look at who's ordering them and what kind of trends we're seeing and I have a few insights that might be helpful for you if you're considering commissioning a painted backdrop too.

We have a guide on the different materials and types of backdrops we offer here but if you're already eyeing up a custom-made backdrop - either on solid board or canvas - this article could help you decide when the best time is to invest.

I've had a little nosy at our repeat customers socials and websites and spotted a few recurring themes around when they start ordering hand-painted surfaces in addition to paper and vinyl backdrops.

Here's what I've noticed...

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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:

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Monthly #bvs capture challenge - June theme: STACKING
June 13, 2022

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - June theme: STACKING

Welcome to June 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

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Collection - 30% OFF for 72hours!
June 01, 2022

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Collection - 30% OFF for 72hours!

Celebrate the Queens Platinum Jubilee by paying only 70% the usual price 

70% for 70 years on the throne for 72 HOURS ONLY!

Choose red, white, blue or grey (for platinum!) backdrop designs in all materials - printed paper, mounted papers and vinyl, or hand-painted board and canvas.

Shop the Jubilee collection here with 30% off.

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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.

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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

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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 - the March theme is Editorial
March 09, 2022

Monthly #bvs capture challenge - the March theme is Editorial

Welcome to March and a new #bvs capture challenge!  Enter for your chance to WIN a £100 or £25 voucher

#bvseditorial 

I'm so excited about this theme because it is SO different to the creative briefs I usually follow in my commercial styling work or even my own content creation shooting with our backdrops.  Editorial styling is clean, clear, simple, graphic and impactful - never boring, sometimes dramatic, often minimal and always confident to use negative space.

After all, editorial images need space for titles and copt text - that is the purpose of having empty or simply propped areas; to run text over it and it still be clear and easy to read....

How to enter 

  1. Follow all hosts and judges on Instagram - @blackvelvetstyling @anna_janecka @gourmetglow @matt_inwood
  2. Have fun exploring editorial styling and photography techniques
  3. Post between 9th - 27th March 2022 using the hashtag #bvseditorial and tagging @blackvelvetstyling

For the full rules please go the bottom of this post.

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Solid, sustainable, waterproof mounted backdrop boards are back!
February 22, 2022

Solid, sustainable, waterproof mounted backdrop boards are back!

You love them, we love them - so we had to find a way to produce our unique mounted backdrops again sustainably and without using nasty spray adhesives, and I'm so pleased to say that we have!

Our hugely popular mounting options are back - order A1s direct from the design listings in the paper A1 collection or order A0s here.

Our uniquely-innovated mounted backdrop boards are back by popular demand and already filling our production space again.

You can now order your favourite backdrop prints as solid, water-proof, durable, eco-friendly boards at a fraction of the cost and weight of the real materials like marble, wood, stone and tiles!

Double-faced boards offer the best value and save space, giving you two backdrops on both sides of one board.

 

Mounted backdrops are perfect when you have space in your studio and want quick, solid set ups.  They look fabulous lined up around the room and some clients even add picture hooks to hang them! 

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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.

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NEW monthly #bvs capture challenge - January's theme is chiaroscuro lighting
January 06, 2022

NEW monthly #bvs capture challenge - January's theme is chiaroscuro lighting

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.

Read more

Two new brand ambassadors for 2022!
December 10, 2021

Two new brand ambassadors for 2022!

Good morning, afternoon or evening! And thank you for visiting our blog, today I have exciting news I've been dying to share with you for yonks and yonks! (Ages and ages for anyone outside of the midlands/UK!)

I am so stoked to be welcoming two more brand ambassadors to our band of merry men and women, both super passionate about our backdrops and all we do at BVS HQ.

So without further rambling, may I introduce you to Anna Janecka and Suze Morrison!

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Christmas order deadlines and posting days
December 09, 2021

Christmas order deadlines and posting days

Hey and ho!

Here you will find lots of boring but very important info regarding order deadlines, last post dates and our holiday working (dispatching) days.

 

So, first off! For custom photography backdrops made bespoke to your order - on canvas and board - please order by 1pm on Wednesday the 15th of December.

AND email us immediately with your references/colour charts (if we haven't already discussed on email beforehand).  Your backdrop commissions can't be started until we know what you want and if we can't confirm the details of your order there will be delays in the production.

 

For in-stock, printed backdrops on paper and vinyl our last UK posting dates for Christmas 2021 are -

  • Wednesday 22nd December with Royal Mail (but we'd suggest Tuesday the 21st to be safer!)

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NEW autumn/winter 2021 photography backdrops
November 02, 2021

NEW autumn/winter 2021 photography backdrops

Hey! I'm so excited to finally share these new backdrop designs with you!

I hope there's something here you will like - there's a good mix of wood, stone, colours and textiles - and they've been developed to launch now because of course they are perfect for autumn/winter styling and photography.

Scroll down to see all the new photography backdrops but I also want to talk about a few of them and introduce you to them individually.

 

Firstly, I want to show you 'Taj' - a magical marble pattern.  The geometric design, the tiny textures and marble details - it's so beautiful. 

I've styled it with festive biscuits but I really can't wait to use it in a more casual setting, maybe as an outdoor table in the summer or a kitchen wall with a wooden table in front for a recipe shot.

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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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Getting started with our printed photography backdrops
May 12, 2021

Getting started with our printed photography backdrops

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.  

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food styling photography colour theory stylist props still life set up behind the scenes tips how to
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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Shout out to the suppliers helping us keep our packaging plastic free
April 20, 2021

Shout out to the suppliers helping us keep our packaging plastic free

Like many businesses we consider the lifespan and environmental impact of every purchase and component of our processes -  is it sustainably produced, what will happen to it if we no longer need it, is it absolutely necessary, what's the alternative, could we make a sustainable version ourselves etc. 

It can be a compromise at times - for example, I often lust after black tissue paper to wrap your backdrop orders... It would really make our branding pop and give you a cool unboxing experience, but the dyes and production process are more damaging to the environment than the acid-free, unbleached one we currently use. And yes, I know there are 'eco-friendly' dyed tissue papers, but at a huge premium; too expensive for small businesses or brands that aren't 'luxury'.

We have to ask: Is it worth it? Often it isn't yet, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Sustainable options will of course get cheaper if more people demand their manufacture in larger quantities.

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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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Printed or hand-painted photography backdrops : we compare each material & look at the benefits and differences between all of the backdrops we offer
April 01, 2021

Printed or hand-painted photography backdrops : we compare each material & look at the benefits and differences between all of the backdrops we offer

Printed backdrops offer both beginners and professionals lots of benefits when sourcing photography surfaces. (We know this because we have world class photographers and creative agencies as well as home bakers and bloggers using our backdrops!)

    But how do paper and vinyl backdrops compare?

    Our extra-thick vinyl backdrops have a new benefit I wasn’t expecting and that is that they spring open and want to be flat.  

    This makes them ready-to-shoot straight out of the tube. (We have tested this up to 3 days in the tube and they come out with almost no curl that relaxes out very quickly.)

    The extra thick vinyl material also makes them easy to hang vertically giving a ‘clean’ hang – less wobbly than paper or thin vinyl which can need pulling tight with extra clips or sticking flat to an upright surface.

    Read more

    How to style: Pancakes
    February 03, 2021

    How to style: Pancakes

    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?

    Read more

    food styling props stylist prop photography tips how to kit buy for sale online kitchen utensils vintage cutlery tray tin
    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

    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

    5 fail-safe photography backdrops that are perfect for beginners
    October 01, 2020

    5 fail-safe photography backdrops that are perfect for beginners

    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,

     

    Read more

    How to use an infinity curve for food and product photography
    August 19, 2020

    How to use an infinity curve for food and product photography

    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. 

     

     

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    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!

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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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    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.

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    Gin making at Nelson's Distillery in Staffordshire
    February 04, 2020

    Gin making at Nelson's Distillery in Staffordshire

    A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of participating in a gin making day at Nelson's distillery - it wasn't gifted, but it was a Christmas present from my (lovely) other half.

    And it was fantastic! The process, the gadgets, the history - all fascinating and made even better by our passionate and energetic host, David Hunter. 

    The day started with coffee and a quick chat before a tour of the distillery and introduction to the distilling process - which to my understanding is neutral alcohol + botanicals (including juniper) = gin! Plus of course lots of sciencey bits in cool shiny things. 

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    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! 

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    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?

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    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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    30 of my mounted photography backdrops are now part of the prop collection at Food Studio Hire in London, NW1
    June 21, 2019

    30 of my mounted photography backdrops are now part of the prop collection at Food Studio Hire in London, NW1

    Images copyright Howard Shooter. 'Bert' backdrop used above.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Howard Shooter yesterday, having created 30 mounted and sealed photography backdrops for his food photography studios in Camden.  What a lovely man! (And food photography legend, obvs.)

    Howard now has the largest range of BVS backdrops in London! (That I know of anyway!) You can use them as part of his photography services and they are also available to hire in his two extra kitchen studios which are rented out on a daily or weekly basis for food stills, TV and film work.

    I'm very excited to see what Howard and his clients create with the collection!  The hire studios haven't been open long but Howard has already had The Body Coach - Joe Wicks, Gousto, Marcus Wareing, Louise Pentland, Weight Watchers, The Great British Bake Off and Waitrose in - follow @foodstudiohire on Instagram to see these beautiful spaces in use.

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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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    We're now proudly supporting Surfers Against Sewage!
    October 31, 2018

    We're now proudly supporting Surfers Against Sewage!

    Hi! If you read my post about why I don't print my backdrops on vinyl (PVC) you'll know that the ocean and marine life is very close to my heart.  You'll also know that I've been making some changes at home and at work - in this business - to keep our product, processes and packaging as eco-friendly as possible.

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