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

Two new brand ambassadors for 2022!
diciembre 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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NEW autumn/winter 2021 photography backdrops
noviembre 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
julio 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
julio 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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Getting started with our printed photography backdrops
mayo 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
abril 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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Printed or hand-painted photography backdrops : we compare each material & look at the benefits and differences between all of the backdrops we offer
abril 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.

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    5 fail-safe photography backdrops that are perfect for beginners
    octubre 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,

     

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    How to use an infinity curve for food and product photography
    agosto 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
    abril 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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    10 Affordable and easy backdrops for food styling and photography backgrounds
    febrero 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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    Autumn Spiced Chicken & Squash Chilli / Soup / One Pot Recipe and Food Photography Ideas
    noviembre 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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    30 of my mounted photography backdrops are now part of the prop collection at Food Studio Hire in London, NW1
    junio 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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    Lebanese Lamb, Pine Nuts & Roasted Aubergine Recipe
    mayo 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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