This is for all of the aspiring / established independent bakers, trying to snap the artsiest pictures of your cakes and other bakes. If you find yourself grimacing at the flashed picture of your dessert, if it doesn’t appear as you see it with your naked eye, or if it simply doesn’t look its best, read below for our top tips on photographing your bakes:
1. Natural light
No flash. Ever. That is your worst enemy. Dropping a made cake on the ground 30 minutes before delivery and on-camera flash involved in your cake’s picture should be your two biggest fears. The flash doesn’t accentuate the colours of the cake, nor does it bounce light off properly; it can also make the background look grimy.
Don’t do it.
Find a natural light, and face your bake towards it, be it a window, or a skylight. It mimics much more the features of the cake that we can see with the naked eye.
2. Playing around with the background and the angles
Whether you like aerial shots, or if you want the cake and cake stand to be shown, think about what works best for your cake. If icing is your speciality, you can take close-up shots, if you want to show off your drips, move farther from your cake!
Think about the background and if you’re not entirely comfortable with matching your cake to a particular background (tapestry, cloth or coloured walls), then keep it very simple and minimal: even a white wall will do!
Shaky hands produce even shakier pictures: avoid this by investing in a tripod. It will help also keep the perspective and the height of the view of the cake consistent, giving your pictures a theme and an aesthetic.
4. Instagram filters / or any editing app that you may use
Whether it’s VSCO, Instagram, Facebook or whatever app you may use to edit your pictures, be consistent and don’t use any filters that may blur your images or decrease the quality of the picture.
Ideas could be:
Keep your pictures consistent in sharpness, contrast, brightness for all of your images
Use one filter and keep the tone, brightness and contrast consistent
Tint pictures with colours that complement your cake
5. Simplify, simplify and simplify
Plain white background, sitting in front of a window or on a simple cake stand, keep the picture simple and minimalist. Nothing ruins pictures more than clutter and random cutlery, or drinks behind or beside your cake. The focus should be on your beautiful cake! Not on the painting that hangs above it, or the stack of magazines on your coffee table. Or other cakes that you’ve made: it should be on the single bake you’ve made and the background should accentuate it.
6. Buy an editing app to play with the focus
This is pretty straightforward. Anything that can capture the details on icing, or piping or whatever your greatest skill is, is worth the purchase. Even Instagram has a ‘focus’ setting on the camera. The iPhone X has portrait mode which blurs the background and draws the eyes to the minute specificities of your creation. Other apps that can do this are Camera Zoom FX, or Camera+ which have excellent app ratings!
7. Dress up your cakes / cupcakes (arrangements, looks)
Rainbow coloured, rich drips, crumbly flakes of biscuit on the top layer - decorate your cakes! Baking is expressive and creative and supposed to show your style. Whether you’re into a rustic look, or are extremely colourful, or adore geometric shapes, your cake is a reflection of YOU! Let that show in your designs.
8. Consistency is key!
Filter? Similar. Light? Similar. Angle? Similar. Background? Should be similar. When scrolling through Instagram pages, it is always nice to see there is not only a visually pleasing aspect to the pictures that are taken, but that an effort is made to keep everything relatively similar.
9. Good camera either on a camera, or on your phone
Like Tip No.6, your phone can determine the quality of your picture. Invest in a good camera, whether this be on an iPhone, on an app, or on a camera that’s bought from an electrics store. It’s worth the money, will last you ages, and will give your pictures that extra professional look that offers a sense of credibility and legitimacy.
10. When thou hast a good camera, know thy camera
Know thy camera. The focus, the different settings and how to play around with them to get your perfect shot – all of these can make a world of difference to your pictures! Keep the manual, read the manual, the manual is your new Bible. Get to know your camera, play around with it and start to understand what the best settings is for your cake from your camera. Look up on YouTube some tutorials on working your specific camera if you’re very lost!