Blueberry Crumble and Styling Evolution

I love crumble. Apple, peach, you name it.

Crumbles are easy, rustic, oh-so delicious and this blueberry crumble is all of that and more.

But this post is about more than this rustic dessert recipe (which I’ve included below).

Today, I’m mixing blueberry crumble with a few food styling tips and a closer look at my approach and how this image came together.

cotton fabric

Let’s start with fabric. I always try to use some type of fabric in my styling to add color and texture.

In fact, fabric can add important visual interest to any photo layout.

I keep my eyes peeled for interesting, colorful and muted textures but in this case, I hand dyed my own.

Let me warn you, once you start hand dyeing your own fabric, you may get hooked.

It’s a fun weekend project and also is an easy way to expand your fabric prop collection.

You can check out my previous post on how to hand dye your own fabric for food styling, HERE.

crumble blueberry

OK,  I’m going to unpack what’s going on in this photo and how it evolved.

When I first set up the shot, I placed the quiche dish and simply scattered a few blueberries around the plate.

I also like to include a small bowl filled with whatever I’ve scattered to give the impression of immediacy.  It’s as if the blueberries were pulled right from the bowl.

When I stood back and looked at the setup, it still felt a little empty.

It’s a good idea to try to find elements that seem like they might naturally be in the shot.

In this case, it made sense that a small jug of milk would be in a setting like this.

crumble dessert

Can you see how the simple act of adding milk to the scene?

The milk jug is a small thing but it adds a much-needed dimension to the story.

While I like to use lots of negative space, and there’s a lot of it above the food… I still wanted to fill the background with a little something more.

Don’t be afraid of adding more elements.

You can always remove them, if it crowds the main image or feels overwhelming.


How about a wood chair?

Now, that makes this scene look even more authentic complete.

Styling is about layering elements and adding those elements in a way that makes sense to the overall vision you have.

Here, I was going for a kind of country kitchen feel and adding the chair makes this styling look like the photo certainly could have been snapped in a rustic kitchen corner space.

But wait, check out the photo below to see the real deal.

photo setup

Yup. Here’s my country kitchen,

It’s actually a small corner in my dining room and it’s where I shoot a lot of my styled food and other projects.

The two diffusers in the window help to soften the natural light.

The black background is the diffuser cover that doubles as a backdrop.

The wooden base is an old picnic bench and you can see how I made that from an earlier post, HERE.

Sometimes, a small corner of a room is all you need.

Now, who wants a slice?

Blueberry Crumble
Prep Time
20 d
Cook Time
30 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch, as a thickening agent
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup toasted oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted nuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Lightly butter square or round baking dish. Approx. 8-inches in width.

  3. Prepare the filling. Gently combine blueberries, sugar, juice, cornstarch, vanilla. Try not to burst the blueberries while mixing.

  4. Set berry mixture aside.

  5. Add flour, sugars and butter to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or by hand.

  6. Stir in the oats and optional nuts.

  7. Pour the berry mixture into the baking dish.

  8. Sprinkle the crumble mixture topping evenly over the fruit mixture.

  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

  10. Many of the blueberries will burst in the heat. Don't worry, that's normal.

  11. Serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream or scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

  12. Enjoy!

blueberry crumble slice

Thanks for stopping by.

See you back here next time. 


  • Cristina Di Noia

    Hi Lisa, loving your work flow and thought process. Fabric dyeing sounds interesting.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Cristina.
      I’m so happy you’re inspired. Please do give hand-dyeing a try one weekend.
      I think you’ll love it and it’s a great way to get shades to use in all kinds of photo styling.
      Happy day to you.

  • Sandra Garth

    The Crumble sounds and looks delicious and thank you for sharing your photography and styling tips.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      My pleasure, Sandra.
      I’m going to try to include more behind the scenes photos and tips as I go.
      Hope you have a wonderful and creative week.

  • Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things

    Your photography is stunning and that crumble sounds wonderful.

  • Kathy

    Your photography is always stunning. It’s what attracted me to your blog.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Kathy.
      I’m glad you found my little corner of creativity.
      I hope you’re also inspired to try a few of the recipes and projects around here.
      Drop me a line if you ever get stuck on anything I post, and I’ll get you through it.
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to look around.
      Happy weekend to you.

  • Sherry

    Your photography is gorgeous. It actually makes my mouth water! I can almost smell that crumble. Beautiful.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Oh, thanks so much for that, Sherry.
      That’s exactly the reaction I was going for-lol.
      Hope you find the styling tips helpful too.
      Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Teddee Grace

    Love, love, love these “tutorials” in which you “unpack” your lovely photos. Perhaps one of these days I’ll get a decent camera so I can at least play with some of your tips that create these beautiful “Dutch” still lifes.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks Teddee.
      I’m going to try to include more of these behind the scenes tips too.
      I love when other bloggers do that.
      I’ve been so surprised at some of the gorgeous photos I’ve been seeing taken with the new IPhone.
      While I know what you mean about a “decent” camera, you can always practice and improve your skills with whatever you have.
      Good luck and happy day to you.

  • Mary from Life at Bella Terra

    I love any kind of crumble. I especially love that you shared how you create your fabulous photos! I have those pieces of equipment but barely use them. I will now try experimenting! Plus I never thought to use fabric. Learning as I go but so appreciate your willingness to share your tips!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Hi Mary, thanks so much.
      I hope you can try the hand dyeing fabric.
      I’ve created some beautiful shades to use in my styling efforts.
      Also, I love collecting vintage and rustic linens to use too.
      Good luck with your experimentation. Thanks for popping by for a visit.

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