Good photos are the key to grabbing your customer’s attention on your website or making your cakes look good in print. But since most of us are cake makers, not photographers, we thought we’d start the tutorial section with a crash course in taking better pictures of your cakes. For less than $100 you can take your photos to the next level. That may sound like a big investment, but trust us, it’s worth it.
- Camera tripod
- Dedicated piece of fabric or sheet for a backdrop (iron and hang it to store)
- 3 lamps with at least 60-watt halogen bulbs in each
The first step towards achieving eye-catching cake photos is to buy the best camera you can afford. At Cake Central Magazine, our photographers use a professional camera and lens to achieve the stunning images. It is very possible to take great cake pictures with your own point-and-shoot digital camera. In fact, the images you’ll see in this tutorial were shot entirely with a nonprofessional camera. To get familiar with the dos and don’ts of photographing your cakes, check out our tips, which identify the most common mistakes and the most effective fixes when trying to get the perfect cake shot.
- make sure your piece of fabric or sheet is ironed and free of wrinkles
- arrange 3 lamps strategically to light your cake and eliminate shadows
- use at least a 60-watt halogen bulb in your lighting lamps
- put your camera on a tripod for a clear image
- make sure your camera is a minimum of 8 megapixels
- photograph your cake straight on from the front
- be aware of everything that can be seen in the shot, including light switches, messy countertops, etc.
- don’t photograph your cake at a downward angle; it will look smaller
- don’t use a wrinkled, creased, or dirty backdrop
- don’t use black for your background, since it absorbs light and shows any flaws in the cake
- don’t use a singular light – it will create shadows and spotlight effects
- don’t use a flash have accidental items in the shot
Cake featured in this tutorial by celebritycakestudio.com
Your intention should always be to take a good photo that can be sent “as is” to your web designer or publication. Unless you are an experienced graphic artist, do not attempt to just “Photoshop® it.” Processing a digital photo to fix lighting, color, and other various mistakes is laborious, expensive, and most importantly, avoidable.
There are many free resources online where you can access amateur photography advice. We like thephotoforum.com. Following these tips will give you high quality pictures of your cakes to use on your website, facebook, in your brochures, and on cakecentral.com! Of course, sometimes you can do everything right and your photos just don’t turn out the way you had hoped– or maybe you’re placing that last sugar rose on the way to delivery and simply don’t have time to set up the perfect photo shoot for your cake. In that case, you may want to leave the picture-taking to a professional. If you are submitting photos for a book or magazine, you should always work with a professional. We talked to Nate Thacker of NLT Photography, who offered tips on how to negotiate with the person who will be photographing your cake– the wedding photographer.
Some photographers may agree to give you the high resolution images for free in exchange for photo credit, while others may require you to purchase each image. Make it clear to the photographer what you intend to use the images for, whether it be for business promotion, contest submissions, magazine submissions, etc.
The photographer may want to establish a written contract for each exchange. If (and only if ) you are paying for the images, it is appropriate to ask for an approximate date upon which the images will be delivered. Otherwise, a polite and grateful follow-up e-mail to the photographer will help remind him or her that you are really looking forward to seeing the edited photos of your cake.