Cakes Look Better In Photos?

Decorating By kger Updated 15 Mar 2011 , 11:54am by heroes

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kger Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 12:38am
post #1 of 16

I just completed a wedding cake yesterday, and while it photographs nicely, I was in such angst when I left that cake. There were white flecks on my fondant, and the surface of the chocolate candy melts were kind of smudged. The BC didn't look perfect by any means, and I was feeling that a grocery store could do it better. I could have stayed for hours picking at the cake, and trying to fix it, but after 90 minutes of setting up, I rationalized it would be dark, the cake was in a corner, and no one would notice the flaws that were so obvious to me. Once I'd photographed it, I decided it was ok to leave.

I feel like my cakes always look 10 times better in photos than in person. Is this normal? Do your cakes in real life look just like your photos?

15 replies
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icer101 Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:00am
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I think i am a good decorator. but yes, the pics always look prettier. i am glad.

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underthesun Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:01am
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Join the rest of us. My cakes are never to my satisfaction! There are always a hundred flaws, but the one thing I have learned.... redo or let it go (this means quit playing with it or it will get worse) and try to gain the knowledge of which one of these to actually do. But make the decision and go with it.

I think there has only been one cake I have made in which I was totally satisfied.... a camo hat that I truly don't believe I could improve upon or duplicate its perfection. But the photos look awesome!

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indydebi Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:04am
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Originally Posted by kger

...the flaws that were so obvious to me.

The common thread among decorators. They are obvious to YOU ... but to no one else. thumbs_up.gif

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obsessed Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:09am
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I wish that I was as photogenic as my cakes seem to be!

Agreed. Most don't seem to notice the flaws that are so obvious to me...and I am SO thankful for that. icon_smile.gif

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cab333 Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:22am
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Originally Posted by obsessed

I wish that I was as photogenic as my cakes seem to be!


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Elcee Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:32am
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I'm the opposite, I always feel like the photos don't really do my cakes justice. Actually, someone who saw one of my cakes in person and then saw the pictures I posted here confirmed that. See ThreeLittleBlackbirds' comment on this cake...

Could be because I'm a TERRIBLE photographer, though! My mother is a good photographer so the new plan is for me to TRY to ge tmy cakes finished with enough time to spare for her to come over and photograph them. Not likely but I'll keep trying! icon_wink.gif

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kelleym Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 2:09am
post #8 of 16

I find cake photography to be so finnicky. Some cakes photograph 10x nicer than they appeared in person. Some cakes just don't translate to film very well, and it doesn't seem to matter how much I play with the light or the background. It's a very sad thing to look at the image in your camera and go... "Wait.. that cake doesn't look like that."

Examples of cakes that photographed badly, or didn't do justice to the finished product:

Cakes that look better in the photo than they did in real life:
(not that they were bad to begin with, but you know what I mean) (ok, I really struggled with this cake and was not happy with it)

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Kitagrl Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 2:25am
post #9 of 16

I definitely agree that both can be true! I have had cakes that I've not liked much but the photographed super nice!

Other cakes I was super proud of, but then I took a picture and I'm thinking "Wait no, really, it looks tons better in person!!!!"

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AKS Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 2:27am
post #10 of 16

Mine look better in person than in photos. Is that weird?

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cake_architect Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 3:01am
post #11 of 16

haha both are true for me as well. the first cake i noticed looked better in photo than in person was my tweety graduation cake- it was (what i thought) a mess in person, but it came together nicely in the photo =D also, i think it depends on the camera, not just the lighting. my phone (mytouch3G) takes horrible pictures and is always my last choice, my sony cybershot (10MP) is my second choice, my bf's iphone4 is even better (surprising right?!), and my top choice is the $500 camera i bought my bf last year (olympus pl1). so it may not just be your lack of skills ruining a photo lol

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Cupcations Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 3:15am
post #12 of 16

I agree with it being both
When I did my burgundy roses I seriously couldn't look at them, I posted them here & on FB & got a lot of likes & was really weird!
Other times I feel like pictures don't give them justice even though I take 100+ pics for each design.
I would also add that the camera itself plays a big role, having a good camera saves you a lot of time & gives you more confidence in yourself & your work

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CookieD-oh Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 5:10am
post #13 of 16

Ha! I was never so happy to be a crappy photographer as when I finished a birthday cake for my great-aunt! That cake looked sooooo much better in photos icon_biggrin.gif. That being said, other cakes I've done looked much better in person. The birthday cake I just made for my son was dark purple and dark blue, but it just looks blue in the pictures. But that's ok. I'm not interested enough in photography to spring for a nice camera!

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cathyscakes Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 6:13am
post #14 of 16

I always notice things in the photos that bug me. I'm thinking why didn't I fix that, but don't notice it in person. The fondant ribbon popped up, or a finger smudge in the frosting. I do like editing photos, making the colors brighter, or cropping. But i'm the opposite I think the cake looks better in person.

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majka_ze Posted 14 Mar 2011 , 1:53pm
post #15 of 16

Generally, the cakes won't look better in photographs, but we get a bit space and "get real" - meaning we stop nitpick and look for the flaws only. Take a cake with flaws you see, show it a group of non-decorators and I bet none of them will see a problem.

The sad true is, some cakes photograph better then others.
Good photographer with good camera and even better lens, who knows what he/she is doing, will take the best possible photo of every cake they see. Mind you, if the cake is a real wreck, no amount of photography and editing skills will make a photo of masterpiece out of it icon_smile.gif In such case, best possible photo of wedding cake could be photo of wedding rings on a plate with the cake itself in background and out of focus.

A decorator (non-photographer) with decent camera can learn to make good photos, but with "problem" cakes they will struggle. And sometimes the cake as the single subject of the photo won't work, but this is exactly what we want to show.

The smaller the cake, the bigger the problems - the photograph will show tiniest imperfections you cannot see in person. Some cakes have dimensions which present a challenge for photography.

Our problem as decorator is that we want photograph the cake and won't accept, that for some of them the photo will never be as good as the real thing. We see photos of cakes in books and magazines and don't see the rejected photos of perfectly good cakes where the photo came out lacking the something extra. We don't see that the photographer will sometimes spend several hours to have everything perfect, sometimes will add props to make a better photo out of an ordinary one, will spend a hour deciding where to move the cake, how to light it...
My photos of cakes are, from the photography standpoint awful. Most of them I took before I knew better, but some are awful even when I had the knowledge and means to take a much better photo. But when you are decorating in the night only, finish at 1 or 2 AM and have to deliver the cake in the morning (without setup on location where you could take another photo), the last you want is to spend another 30 - 60 minutes to set up location, background, lights and put it all away again. Even now, I sometimes take a snapshot with my cell phone and call it a night.

As aside, the blue/purple problem is quite common in photos. If your camera has different white balance settings, try them. Manual white balance would be best in such case.

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heroes Posted 15 Mar 2011 , 11:54am
post #16 of 16

I have the opposite problem. I only have a camera phone, I think TBH I know it sounds up my own A.... but my cakes are better than my pics.

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