How to photograph cakes – some tips

You put your heart and soul into making beautiful cakes for your clients.  You’re up half the night putting the finishing touches on a wedding cake and you know it looks amazing.  You want an image for your portfolio but your photographer isn’t available for every cake you make!  So you whip out your iphone and take a quick snap and….oh.  Why does it look so BAD?!

If you’ve ever felt like this, I want to help.  Try out some of the tips below, they’ll make a huge difference to your images and you really don’t need an expensive camera.  Of course, if you don’t feel like you can do it yourself, drop me a line and we can talk about how I can help with your photography.

All of the cakes shown here were made by Tasha at Glitter & Sparkle Cakes, and photographed by me.  You can see more of my food photography on Instagram.

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  1. Clear the clutter!:  Have a nice, clear space for your cake.  We don’t want to see your cat’s litter tray in the background!
  2. Think about the scene: Use large pieces of card in different colours to complement the decoration of the cake, you can stick it to the wall behind with BluTak.  You could also try covering pieces of board with wallpaper so you’ve got a selection of different backdrops.  Avoid white – without specialist lighting is usually turns out grey in a photo.
  3. Props and styling: Start collecting props, like different cake stands, vintage plates and cutlery.  You could cut a piece out of your cake (if it’s not for a client!) and shoot it on a plate with a fork and napkin, maybe with a cup of tea at the side.
  4. Use natural light: Use a room where you have plenty of light, but you don’t want bright sunlight as that will cast harsh, unflattering shadows.  If the light is too harsh, try hanging a sheet or a piece of muslin at the window to soften the light.  Work near a window and have the light coming in from the side of the cake.  If the light comes from behind, it can throw your cake into a silhouette.DON’T use flash or overhead lights.
  5. Try different angles: Get some wide shots (ie the whole cake in the frame) and some close ups of the details.  If your camera has a macro facility, use it – it will allow you to focus closer
  6. Use a reflector: With the light coming from the side, the opposite side of the cake will be in shadow.  You want a bit of shadow to give the image some depth but you don’t want it to be too dark.  A reflector will bounce some of the light back onto your cake and light up those shadows a touch.  You don’t have to fork out for expensive equipment – a board covered in foil, a piece of polystyrene or even just a large piece of white card will do the trick.  Play with the angles of your reflector – you’ll be amazed what a difference it can make.
  7. Pinterest!: Don’t shoot me – you could lose hours of your life on Pinterest!  But it’s a great place for inspiration.  Start a board and make a collection of any pictures you like the look of, so you’ve got some ideas to work with.

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All the cakes featured here were photographed by me and made by Tasha at Glitter & Sparkle Cakes, based in Nottingham.   For regular updates from Glitter & Sparkle, follow Tasha’s Facebook page.  Also watch this space – there will be more of Tasha’s cakes on my blog at a later date.

Sara x

 

 

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04/05/2015 - 7:55 pm

Catherine Connor - Beautiful post stunning photography

05/05/2015 - 9:36 pm

Boo Marshall - Love the post! Really useful- pics are gorgeous x

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