So you’ve made a beautiful cake. When the light hits it just right, you could swear you hear Angels singing.
So you take a photo, aaaaaand, Blergh. Dull, weird colours, lumps everywhere, what happened??
Photographing your cakes professionally, especially if you sell them, is imperative, but sooo much easier than you think.
You don’t need a professional, or expensive equipment, just good natural light, a good backdrop, and a half decent camera.
A Little Background
Your backdrop is vital. Not only does it complete the picture, but it can also affect how the light reflects on your cake. Busy, bright backgrounds can be funky and fun, but if they are more interesting than your cake, we have a problem. Solid, or graduated coloured backgrounds are just that, backgrounds. They provide the stage for your cake to shine.
I only use a white background, not only does it help to light my cakes, but I also use a lot of pastels, so bold backgrounds would drown out my babies. There are lots of companies that make backdrops, I got mine from the fabulous Janet O’Sullivan.
Let there be Light
Nothing beats natural light (unless you can afford a full professional studio set up! Did I mention daylight is free?), and the best natural light is around midday when the sun is high, meaning whiter light, and fewer shadows.
There will be a place in your house that has the best light, it could even be somewhere weird like the laundry, so have a wonder at lunchtime, and find your spot.
The best light is diffused light. So if your best source of light is very bright, consider taping some wax or greaseproof paper over the window to reduce glare.
Out of the Shadows
So you have a great photo, but there’s some shadows that you just couldn’t eliminate? Your car keys in the edge of the shot? No problem. That’s where photo editing software comes in.
From something simple (and FREE!) like Window’s Photo Viewer, to reaaaallly expensive Adobe Photoshop, there’s an app for that. The middle ground, which sadly isn’t free, but has a host of features (and is buckets cheaper and easier than Photoshop) is Pixelmator (Mac). It sells on the App store for around AU$46, but its worth every penny.
With Photo editing software, you can adjust the shadows, change the exposure if you got stuck with an overcast day, you name it. Its not just for supermodels 😉
The trick to photo editing, is starting with the best possible photo you can in the first place. It’s a good idea to take many shots, just incase the final shots aren’t as clear as you thought they were.
Which Camera should I use?
I have an old school SLR (which uses, *gasp*, film!), my iPhone, and my new baby, my Nikon D3400.If you are looking for a digital camera that has all the moves, without the enormous price tag, that’s my pick.
I used my iPad Air for all my pictures until my “Enchanted Forest” cake, and from then, my iPhone 6. I got my new baby just around the time that I took Zoe Hopkinson’s Steampunk Mermaid class, and boy does it take good pictures. I’ve now upgraded to the iPhone X, and as you know with phones, the picture quality just keeps getting better and better.
I may have two decades of photography experience, but I have only about 4 years experience in digital photo editing, so if I can do it, you can do it!
Have a play, and take some test shots. Learn your best place for shots and have a go at editing. There’s always the ‘undo’ button!
If you have any questions, or want to share your work, drop me a line!
Viva La Buttercream! xx