How Do You Take Pics?

Business By jillmakescakes Updated 24 Nov 2008 , 7:33pm by -Tubbs

jillmakescakes Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 2:02pm
post #1 of 34

Ok, so I am working out some of the smaller details of my shop while I am waiting for answers on some of the bigger (like the landlord coming back from vacation) and had a question:

What kind of a setup do you use to take photos of your cakes? I was trying to think of the best way to get the best lighting/background etc...

Anyone willing to share a picture or details of your photo setup?


33 replies
sari66 Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 8:49pm
post #2 of 34

Use natural lighting if at all possible, if you don't have a neutral background use a nice looking sheet or get a poster board triflod and use that.
If you take the photos at the gathering and your camera has setting adjustments change your light settings for indoor and florescent <sp>

Also someone posted here how her son taught her how to take good pics

sweetcakes Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 8:56pm
post #3 of 34

i use a teal coloured plastic table cloth that i attach to my wall and drape over the table that the cake will sit on. i take several pictures with and without flash and then crop and colour correct on the computer.

KKC Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 9:04pm
post #4 of 34

I am horrible at picture taking so i'm glad you asked this question and i'm so glad that you guys have solutions. I love it here!

UltimateCakes Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 9:07pm
post #5 of 34

Just set your cake on an uncluttered table. Use a nice sheet if available. take the pic, load it up on your pc and then photo shop it (Crop, color correct, rotate, etc.)

Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 9:19pm
post #6 of 34

1. Use natural lighting whenever possible. I don't have natural lighting streaming through my windows so I usually have to turn on all the lights, especially if it's 3:00 a.m. Although it's not practical for most people, I've taken the best pictures in the shade outdoors. I don't have to use a flash and the colors come out pretty accurate. An example would be the blue baptism cake I just added to my photos.

2. Try to use a sheet or flexible poster board that begins up on the wall and drapes down onto your surface to the foreground. This eliminates the "back corner" effect. In my pics with the white background I used a common poster board which I anchor on my glass stovetop and curve up the back like a backsplash. If you aren't using a backdrop, make sure that you are a good distance from any walls, which will prevent harsh shadows.

3. Always keep lighting above and/or behind you. Don't aim your lens at a light source. This will cause your subject to be too dark.

4. Take LOTS of pictures at lots of angles. I get as many bad ones as good ones. In every angle take pictures both with the flash and without the flash. I've found that using a flash usually overexposes my pictures. It's easier to adjust the exposure on a picture that's too dark. I use to edit my photos and it's awesome.

5. Even if you don't use a backdrop, make sure the surrounding area is free from clutter. It's distracting and not easy to crop out. If your camera has Portrait setting, use it. It focuses on the center object and tends to blur everything else in the background.

I'm no expert, but this is what I have learned. You can click on the banner in my signature to see my cake and cookie photography.

Just as my cake decorating has improved in the last few months, so has my cake photography! I've still got lots to learn in both regards!

Hope this helps.

Relznik Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 9:22pm
post #7 of 34

So, our clocks have gone back an hour. It's winter. Cold, GREY and miserable. NO decent natural light to take photos with.

So, I had an idea.

Our bathroom has those recessed little halogen lights that give a really nice bright, white light.

I needed to photograph my ghost cookies. As these were spare ones that I kept back specifically for photographing, it didn't matter about hygiene!

And this is the result I got:


I'm not about to photograph wedding cakes balanced on my loo, though! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

By the way, I did not buy the unco-ordinated toilet paper! We've still got another dozen rolls of the flippin' stuff to use up before I can buy WHITE! icon_razz.gif

julzs71 Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 9:33pm
post #8 of 34

I suck at taking pictures. Natural light is great. I have heard of two things, but have not used them. Always use a flash even outside to reduce shadows and use reflection. YOu could cover a board with aluminum foil for that.

MosMom Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 9:37pm
post #9 of 34

I need a good camera. Mine is great for distance point and shoot but I recently tried to get some closeups of my cake and they were just hideous. I think I'm going to do some research on good cameras.

__Jamie__ Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 9:40pm
post #10 of 34



Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 9:50pm
post #11 of 34

Relznik: that's it TOO funny!

Julzs71: you are right about using the flash outdoors. Even when I'm outside I take pictures both with and without the flash. Excellent point.

FromScratch Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 10:24pm
post #12 of 34

The best thing you can do for your photography is to nix the flash if at all possible. Your flash will enhance every flaw and cause harsh shadows and hot spots (harsh highlights). Unless you have a speed light, flashes are useless.. the on board flash on your point and shoot camera is way too in your face.

Natural light from a north facing window is the best light, but any big window will do. You want to set it up in the light, but not direct light. You want an un-cluttered backdrop like a sheet or a piece of fabric. Try to find an angle that gives you subtle shadows for definition, but nothing too jarring. If the shadows are more harsh than you'd like you can take a piece of white poster board and use it to reflect some light back on your cake to fill in some of the shadows.

You might need to use a tripod to hold your point and shoot camera steady in no-flash situations.. especially in low light. You can pick one up for a reasonable price.. it doesn't have to be fancy.

If you can afford it and have the time to learn a little, a DSLR camera and a good lens will do WONDERS for your photos.. for about $800 you can get a Canon Digital Rebel XTi (or XSi) camera body and a 50mm 1.8 lens and instantly your pictures will be better.. and with a little know-how they can be amazing. icon_smile.gif But if you use this advice with your point and shoot camera it will get you on the way.

jjkarm Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 10:38pm
post #13 of 34
Rocketgirl899 Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 10:56pm
post #14 of 34

When I can i borrow my dad's camera. It is a Nikon D-50 (they don't make it anymore) but the D-40 is also AMAZING. Kinda pricey, but sooooooooo worth it.

So hard to take a bad photo with a Nikon... these aren't point and shoots, they are "real SLRs" and you can look in my album, the good photos are the Nikon, the bad, camera phone or "crappy" (which isn't really that crappy) point and shoot.

vickymacd Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 11:19pm
post #15 of 34

I have a Nikon D40. I may not take the best with cake photos (but I really don't try either!), but all my other photos I take are amazing with this camera!

MosMom Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 11:24pm
post #16 of 34

I have an Olympus and if I turn the flash off, the pictures are blurry. So I have to turn on the flash and put my finger over it. It is absurd. I need to go work on DH for a new camera. :p

Rocketgirl899 Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 11:42pm
post #17 of 34


We should prepare ourselves for the "canon Rebels" to come here and argue theirs are superier... icon_smile.gif

lol. a fight that will never die!

( I use a canon A1 35mm from like before I was born (im 22) sometimes and love it, my dad just happened to buy a Nikon, and I am in love with it too, and considering I don't have money to buy something different--i don't think I would--it is awesome icon_smile.gif )

jessfmaldonado Posted 4 Nov 2008 , 11:57pm
post #18 of 34

When I'm ready to take pics I wait for daylight. I have a big window on one side next to my photo area.

I drape a tablecloth, right now I only have my white one.

I need to get a black one, I am worried about lint showing up on it though. Anyone have a problem with lint showing on the black cloth? What type of material do you use for the black cloth?

I make sure the cloth is covering the whole back wall and the top of my freezer(which is what I put my cake on).

I place a white foam board on the side that is shadowed, to reflect light. This helps so much. If someone is not around to hold it for me, I just prop it up.

When it there is daylight my flash doesn't come on, so my pics end up with true color.

I just have a samsung digimax v70, 7.0 mega pixels. I wish I could get a better camera, but this will have to do for now.

Jessica icon_smile.gif

FromScratch Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 12:04am
post #19 of 34

I don't think the brand of camera you use matters as much as you knowing how to use the camera you have matters. I have used both Canon and Nikon cameras.. I like the feel of the Canon and find it easier to use, but it's what I am used to. Nikons are great too.. DSLRs and SLRs are superior to point and shoots is the only argument I would make.. I don't have the patience to wait for film to develop so I prefer the DSLR over the SLR.

MosMom.. if you are getting blurry pics with no flash then there isn't enough light and if you grab a tripod and use the timer on your camera you will be able to get a non-blurry picture with your current camera. icon_smile.gif

jennifer7777 Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 12:33am
post #20 of 34

One tip I've learned is using the "macro" setting on my digital camera. It allows for good close-ups.

FromScratch Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 1:29am
post #21 of 34

Oooh.. good one Jennifer.. it's been so long since I used my point and shoot that I forgot about that one. I used to do that all the time too.. and it will allow you to take pics without your flash easier too. icon_smile.gif

jillmakescakes Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 2:09am
post #22 of 34

Thank you all so much for your help!!! I've got a lot of "testing" to do now, not in the bathroom of course, icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Thanks again!

DerrellC Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 4:55am
post #23 of 34

I think we should all flood ICES with a request for a photography seminar at next meeting.I know they have a pro on duty to take pics of all the cakes on display. The two things that seem to make most difference between a snapshot and a well taken photo is 1)lack of backround clutter and 2)control of lighting.

GI Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 5:11am
post #24 of 34
Originally Posted by Relznik

By the way, I did not buy the unco-ordinated toilet paper! We've still got another dozen rolls of the flippin' stuff to use up before I can buy WHITE! icon_razz.gif

Wowza but that shower is spotless!! icon_biggrin.gif

kimblyd Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 5:22am
post #25 of 34


Relznik that is priceless taking pictures of cookies on your toilet! I love it! What is so funny is that no one would ever guess that.

jillmakescakes Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 12:45pm
post #26 of 34
Originally Posted by DerrellC

I think we should all flood ICES with a request for a photography seminar at next meeting.I know they have a pro on duty to take pics of all the cakes on display. The two things that seem to make most difference between a snapshot and a well taken photo is 1)lack of backround clutter and 2)control of lighting.

I agree!!! Maybe they could set something up that would allow people to bring in their own cameras to be sown the best settings to use for that camera-- maybe a walk up booth with a few photography buffs!!! I'll sign the petition!

missmeg Posted 5 Nov 2008 , 2:21pm
post #27 of 34

I am incredibly thankful that I have my dad to take cake pics for me icon_biggrin.gif. My dad is a professional photographer, specializing in natural portraits and settings. We have a whole mini-studio he built out of PVC pipe that we assemble, drape the backdrop cloth, and put the cake on the table. He takes fabulous pics and spends alot of time doing color correcting for me. All the "good" pics in my gallery were taken by him.

One of the things dad and I do to help is put my cake decorating pedestal on the table, THEN drape the cloth over it. It gives the cake a bit of extra height.

Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 23 Nov 2008 , 3:06am
post #28 of 34

I tried something new and it worked so I thought I'd share it in the form of a tutorial. I usually take pictures of my cakes and cookies in my kitchen and I must say that changing out my regular fluorescent tubes with full spectrum tubes has made all the difference in the world. Not only is the light brighter, but you get truer colors.


TooMuchCake Posted 24 Nov 2008 , 2:25am
post #29 of 34

Here's a cake-specific photo tutorial on my website:


goodiegoddess Posted 24 Nov 2008 , 3:03am
post #30 of 34

If you do turn your flash off just remember that the shutter speed is slower, longer exposer (even digital). If its off you need to place the camera on a flat surface and not hold it in your hands because they will shake, even a little and the pic is out of focus. I took photography in school, let me know if you have any more questions but see if this helps!

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