Thank you for the great tips. I dont do cakes but I am trying to learn cookie decorating and photography at the same time. I have a difficult time learning how to "set up" a photo and I always rely on the light in the room. I never thought about placing lights around and hanging a backdrop! Thank you!!!
Gracias por el articulo!!
When photographing smaller objects like cupcakes and cookies, I suggest getting a book of scrapbook card stock from the craft store. You can use lots of fun patterns and colors. Here are some photos from Cakecentral magazine using scrapbook paper for a backdrop http://cakecentralmagazine.com/example-cake-photography/cookies2/
While most of these tips are good, I wholeheartedly disagree with the assertion that ones need to spend a fortune on a camera to get a good shot. It doesn't matter if you have a $60 camera or a $600 camera if you don't know how to use it. The image you get out of any camera is 80% what you put into it (lighting, composition, camera settings) and 20% equipment. Your lenses do make a difference, so if you do have a DSLR, you're better off buying one high-end glass lens than three cheap plastic lenses, but to the average Joe, even this difference won't be noticeable. A point and shoot or even a iPhone can take amazing pictures if you take the time to learn its various settings/modes and to set up a good shot. Following the lighting and backdrop tips in this article is a very good way to start.
Also, if your camera allows you to change f-stop, shutter speed, and ISO, spend a couple of hours reading about these settings and how they interact with each other. For example, if you want the cupcake in front in focus, but want the cupcakes in back to blur out, you want a lower f-stop number, but that opens up the lens, letting more light in, so you may need to speed up the shutter or lower the ISO to compensate. If you have a large cake that you want to be sharp front to back, you need a higher f-stop number, but now you'll definitely need that tripod because you'll have to leave the shutter open longer to get enough light.
Finally, if you want a perfect picture, you need a perfect subject. Make sure your light placement doesn't put ugly shadows across the cake or around it. Sometimes looking at the subject sideways or upside down helps you to better see flaws that our amazing human brains auto-correct for us, but that would ruin a picture. Make sure the backdrop is hanging smoothly and the table is crumb free. Make sure any 'accessories' look good where you've placed them around the cake. It's worth it to spend the time to set up the shot right. Sure beats hours of computer work later to fix a bad photo. After all, wouldn't you rather be baking?!
Thanks for tips
Jackie. Thank you for that tip. I have so much scrapbook paper but I never know if the contrasting patterned paper takes away from the cookies or enhances the photos. Those cookies look amazing and now I see that the paper actually makes them look even more beautiful. I am going to try that. At this point i need all the help i can get with both the cookie decorating and photos! :-)
My husband builds intricate model cars. He photographs them with a piece of white Bristol (sp?) board (thin cardboard) curved on the counter, the car sitting on one side, with the cardboard curved up behind. The photos look good (with our point and shoot digital). Would this work for a cake, in your opinion? I don't have a place to hang a sheet to take a photo, and don't make too many cakes, so my photos are mainly for my albums. The Bristol board is easy to store, and never wrinkles! It has a matte finish, so no shine in the background.
I always try to get a picture of my cakes before they are delivered. I have made every single one of these mistakes and wondered why my pictures don't look as glamorus as everyone elses. So now I know. Believe me, I am going to make marvelous photos now. Thanks for the Tutorial.
"I wholeheartedly disagree with the assertion that ones need to spend a fortune on a camera to get a good shot. " -- That's actually what this article is about!
In this tutorial we used an 8 Megapixel $70 Olympus Point-and-shoot Digital Camera to create our good photo next to the "Do" list. http://media.cakecentral.com/b/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/07/tutorial-photograph-cake-6.jpg
We left the camera in Auto mode and turned off the flash. As you can see from the diagram, we used 3 desk lamps we purchased at a second hand store for a few bucks (you can also get really inexpensive new desk lamps at places like IKEA and Target) and a cheap neutral bed sheet. In total, including the camera, we spent under $100. If you already have a camera, you can recreate what we did for less than $30. And the supplies should last for quite a while.
And thank you for all the great photography tips!
Looking forward to it!
In my opinion daylight is superior to any kind of artificial light. I always put my cakes close to a window, turn of any light bulbs in my apartment and finally set white balance on "daylight".
If a shadow makes my cake look unflattering I use white paper or a mirror to light up the shadow. However, I think that any kind of shadows give some depth to my photos.
I just wanted to share how I make my backdrop for my cakes as I have limited space also. I use one of the tri-fold science project boards that school kids use (often for a science fair project). These can be purchased at most craft stores & Walmart. I purchased a few pieces of fabric (just a couple of yards each) in different colors for flexibility. You can certainly use one color of you choice. I do have black and have used it without any issues. I place the tri-fold board on my table with the fabric draped over it (wrinkle free of course). I use clothes pins or bag closure clips (for chips/cookies) from my kitchen to secure the fabric to the board. I do use additional lighting to help with any shadows, although I'm not always successful. I am NOT a photographer. My camera is also a point & shoot because I like things easy. So I have one of those cameras for idiots - me. Here's the thing, if you've ever had professional photos of your family, etc., taken at a photo studio just think back to the equipment you saw in the room. This helped me to figure out many things on my own. And lastly, I use a free photo program from the web to place my name on my photos, crop, frame, etc. Again, very easy to use. Hope this has helped.
Little tip.....I use dollar store wrapping paper for my backdrops. That way I can coordinate with my cake.