7 Top Tips for Photographing Your Cakes
Lets improve your cake photography with a few simple tips.
- LIGHTING If you only learn one thing from this article, make sure its this one! It is ALL about lighting. The light source you have will make or break your images. Natural light is always best and a cake can look just magic when hit with some soft light from a window or shot outside at the right time of day, usually dusk. But as we all know, cake decorators often find themselves photographing cakes in the wee hours of the morning, just as they have added that last rose petal to their work of art. Our advice is to invest in some lighting. Soft boxes are great and can be picked up easily on Amazon or eBay.
- NO FLASH Ok, well sometimes flash, but no flash directed at the cake! Unless you have an external flash unit that you can redirect the flash to bounce off another surface creating light that will fall on your cake rather than blast it from the front, don’t use it. If you do have a DSLR with a pop up flash, we have had some success with this nifty little gadget that redirects your flash. http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/pop-up-flash-bounce/ But in a nutshell, using flash will flatten your image and will not showcase your cake in the way you would like.
- BACKDROPS Or sweeps, as fancy pants photographers call them. No, this does not mean you can pop your cake on top of the washing machine and get a great shot, just because it is mostly white. This means investing in wallpaper, art paper, muslin, black velvet or whatever backdrop works for you. If you are shooting outside and have a lovely ivy covered wall that you can pop an antique table in front of works just as well. If you have the space, setting up a corner in your house is a great idea with some cardboard covered in your sweep of choice and some lighting, always ready to get the shot. (If you want to learn how to shoot your cake and get a beautiful white background, check out our post on Shooting a Cake with a White Background)
- COMPOSITION Have a play with this one and of course with the myriad of cake shapes there is always exceptions to the rule, however most cakes look better when you shoot slightly down on the cake, allowing you to see the back edge of the top tier, even if just ever so slightly.
- PROPS Your cake will always look better if you can create a scene for the cake. Now this doesn’t mean setting up a lavish dessert table every time you shoot a cake but the inclusion of a cake knife on a lacy tablecloth gives some context to a wedding cake and adds some more dimension and interest to your image.
- BE BRAVE Get your camera off automatic and watch your photography open up a whole new world of creativity. Once you learn the basics such a depth of field (having the subject or in this case the cake in focus and the background blurry), how to use shutter speed to let more light in and your images will start to sing.
- FINALLY – THE BEST CAMERA IS THE ONE IN YOUR HAND We often get asked what sort of camera our students should buy and our recommendation is that if you are on a limited budget and have an iPhone, invest in some soft box lights and use your iPhone. Whilst you may not be able to manually control all of the settings on an iPhone in the same way you can on a DSLR, those clever app creators have made all that possible in post processing all from your phone. Check out apps such as Snapseed, Afterfocus or King Camera and get the background and vibrancy you want from your iPhone images.
These tips are just scratching the surface of the wonderful creative world of photography. In todays competitive marketplace, photography is an essential skill to add to your bag of tricks to help you market your business or even just to show your work off to your friends. So get out there and start shooting today.
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