You have just created the most beautiful cake. Frosting on point, glossy ganache, blooms of buttercream in every colour. And now it’s time to take a picture of that cake for the world to fawn over.
My baking prowess is closer to zero than hero, that I admit, but I come bearing a few tips on snapping pictures of your baked goods using a camera phone with limited lighting. And just to really drive the points home, all pictures with cakes in it were taken with my camera phone. Let’s get started, shall we?
1. Camera phones, get a hold of yourself
You might scoff at this. Actually, you probably already just did. How to hold the camera phone? Really? Yes. Really.
Ever hold your camera at arm’s length to get a shot? You’re asking for trouble. To get a good, sharp image, you’ll need steady hands. So turn yourself into a human tripod!
Hold the camera with both hands and pull your arms into your chest or stomach. Avoid sticking your arms out – either to the side or in front of you. Extended arms reduce stability and tends more toward camera shake.
Keep your arms tucked in, elbows into your tummy by your waist. You’re instantly sturdier and so are your photos.
How you hold your camera is so important, yet so many of us take our camera grip for granted, assuming that we will naturally hold it in the most stable way available. For some, it does come naturally, but for most of us, bad habits can take root before we even know it.
ADDITIONAL READING: To Watermark, Or Not To Watermark? That Is The Question.
Make an L with both hands and cradle your camera phone into the corner of each hand. Position the phone so that your camera lens is on the topside.
That way, your thumb (either left or right depending on phone model) will be at the ready for the trigger on the edge of your phone. You can also use the on-screen button, but the trigger makes for steadier and clearer picture.
2. Cut the crap
Simplify the background: put you baked goods onto a background that doesn’t distract the eye. Monotones, plain colors or patterned cloths with repetitive and small patterns. These allow you to blur out the background for a more pleasing photo. If you don’t have any cloths you can opt for the mahjong paper, cheap and easy to find.
Cakes are intricate and beautiful on their own, so adding unnecessary props might do more harm than good. A simple cake stand will do wonders, which brings me to another tip – you don’t own a cake stand? That’s A-Okay.
Just take a bowl and a flat plate. Invert the bowl and place the plate on top.
Et voila, a makeshift cake stand even MacGyver would be proud of.
3. Lights, camera (phone) and…ANGLES! (& POSITIONS)
This is common knowledge, I know, but there are three different dimensions of a cake that you should show for viewers and customers to get a really good look at it, and these are: the top of a cake, the sides of a cake and the inside of a cake. Each one comes with their own way to photograph to really showcase them.
For the TOP OF THE CAKE
You’ll need to position the camera for an Aerial view (overhead shot), and position the cake to be in the middle of the viewfinder. This is then finished off with a tight cropping either on the camera phone, or during post editing.
For the SIDES OF THE CAKE
Really get at eye-level with the cake (sit if you have to), position the bottom of the cake (or cake stand) about ½ to 1 inch above the bottom horizontal frame. Leave a lot of negative space on the top.
For the INSIDE OF THE CAKE
There’s no other way than to cut into the cake and show all the different layers. Lay the cake slice on its side and take an overhead shot. Finish it off with wide cropping and what I call the disappearing plate act – crop a bit off the plate to get a closer look at the cake layers.
Extra: THE PEEK-A-BOO
This is taken with the camera at a 45 degree angle from the surface, and positioning the cake in the middle of the viewfinder. Wide cropping to finish.
With all these being said, do experiment with other post-editing programs and toggles, because ultimately in the end it’s what you like and what you think looks good.
And that’s all I have for this post, guys! I do hope it helps.