I recently demonstrated how to get great photographs of cakes and sugar craft models.
Ok, it might have been a bit complicated so I’ve written here the basic steps to get some great pictures of the cakes or sugar craft models you’ve spent hours working on.
Cake Photography Made Simple!
I’ll skip all the history of photography, the technical details of the cameras you might use to photograph your cakes and get down to the practical steps.
First I must just mention the camera you use without getting techie. Smart phone cameras will do a reasonable picture of your cake (or anything else come to that) but a small compact “proper” camera with a zoom lens will always beat even the best phone.
One like this will do a great job. If you can invest in one like that, do.
Secondly, think about the BACKGROUND to your cake. Yes that’s actually more important than your cake! I’d suggest a plain background that works with the colour of your cake. So maybe a white wedding cake would be best photographed against a soft, pastel pink background. A kids bright birthday cake against a sparkly backdrop. A Green Dragon against a silver background. Whatever you think will look good. The point being that your kitchen cupboards, kettle and food mixer are probably not going to make anyone’s cake look good.
Third, LIGHTING for you cake photograph. The flash on your camera (even my Nikon D800 Pro camera) is a last resort. Natural lighting to the side of your cake usually is a safe bet. So position it next to a window and take the photograph with the window to your side. This will give depth to the picture and some shadow and difference in lighting across the cake. If it’s a bright day outside you may need to soften some of the shadows by using a piece of white board (A2 size on Amazon is about £5) opposite the window to reflect some light back onto the darker side of the cake – play around with it and you’ll get a nice balance.
Fourth, take the shot. So onto your camera and you’ll need to get to know the beast and PLEASE, try to get away from “Auto”! OK, it will get a picture but one step up from Auto is “Scene Select” or similar depending on the make of camera. Maybe “food” or “close-up” will get a good picture. If you’re up for it use “A” which stands for Aperture Priority. Here you can set the lens aperture which will enable you to get a shallow “depth of field” so only a small area, a certain distance, from the camera is in focus – this makes the background blurry and gives a nice look to the images. Use F4 or whatever the lowest number is one you camera.
Now check the speed if you’re using “A” – you want a sharp image so no camera shake so stay faster than 1/30 second. The camera will usually automatically set this in “A” mode but if it’s slower than that you may need to adjust the ISO – go higher! This will allow the camera to increase the speed.
Typical setting would be around :-
Depends on the lighting but if you’re around there get shooting!
Finally, get close! Make sure the cake fills the screen, even photograph parts of the cake rather than have a cake with lots of background to distract the eye.
Hope that help and any questions I’m happy to help.