6 Great Tips for Taking Simple Cake Photographs

Hello, it’s been a while since I last blogged. There’s been a lot of exciting things happen which have kept me super busy. A lot of them are still at early stages so cannot share just yet. You will be the first to know as soon as they come to fruition.

A few highlights of what has gone on in the past couple of months:

  • I converted my garage into my workspace so my house is slowly starting to feel like a home, here is a before and after picture

Garage Conversion

  • Shelves now packed with goodies. I am carrying on sourcing lots of new cake goodies

 The Cake Decorating Shop

  • I took the Wilton Instructor’s course- Yay! I am now a Certified Instructor. That’s me with the cake I made fr my final (Course 4)

Wokingham Wilton Instructor

  • After months of intense physiotherapy (following my injury during my 10K race at She Runs, Windsor) I am now getting myself slowly back to running

Now, onto photography- I am still works in progress when it comes to photography, I am still figuring what all the numerous buttons do BUT I thought I’d share my handy “photobooth”  and some handy tips I’ve learnt. My friend Jen of Jen’s Just Desserts called me out once on my bad photography several months ago and gave me a little tutorial on staging photographs. I am still to go fancy in that department but one change I implemented after our little session was to stop photographing my cakes in their boxes or with cake tools lurking in the background! She suggested I find a spot in the house I could use, I cold not find any that ether did not have a radiator or involving shifting furniture around.

One day as I was clearing out my garage I had a eureka moment. I came across a couple of doors left over from when we installed our kitchen. These worked perfectly!

Here is a picture of my booth (please excuse the mess in the background)

How to take cake photographs

The cake after cropping

SONY DSC

Now for the handy tips:

  1. Try and take your pictures when it is daylight- it will give the most natural looking pictures
  2. Avoid direct sunlight if possible, it gives a harsh shadow
  3. Settings- Learn the settings of your camera. I still refer to the manual of my DSLR every now and then. I take most of my cake pictures on Aperture priority mode following Jen’s advice. A lower number means the aperture is wider so the background is blurred out. This makes the cake stand out against a blurry background. The opposite is true (ie if you want the whole image to be sharp  you want a higher number)
  4. Try changing the angles you shoot from, while it may appear to make more sense to be perfectly in line with the cake, photographing from above or below can create a more interesting perspective
  5. Hold the camera steady. I literally take a breath in, hold my breath and shoot  (I have shaky hands!) I have also invested in a little tripod which I use when there is low light conditions
  6. Lastly the rule of thirds- this took me a while to get my head round but basically you take better photographs if you do not have the focal point dead on the centre. In this classic rule, the focal point of the picture should be placed on one of the intersections of imaginary horizontal and vertical lines dividing the area you are taking a photograph of into thirds. An example is shown below of some pies I made not too long ago.

rule of thirds

Have you got any other tips for taking great picture of your baked goods?

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Holy Communion Cake and Wired Fondant Grapes Topper Tutorial

Been going through my hundreds of photographs this morning and came across this pictorial tutorial I made a little while ago so i thought I would go ahead and share it in this week’s blog post.

I made this 2 tier cake for Gianluca’s first Holy communion. The top tier as a Chocolate fudge cake with dark chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. Bottom tier was a Vanilla sponge cake filled with Jam and Vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.

The customer sent me an image of a cake she’d found online and liked which had grapes that looked like they had been made in a silicone mould. I did not own a grape mould and did not feel it was necessary  to buy one for this cake especially. I try and only ever buy tools I am likely to use again in the future. Not only does this reduce what could essentially end up as clutter,but keeps costs down, benefiting the customer ultimately. I also quite fancied a challenge so I decided to have a go at making a bunch of grapes that looked as realistic as possible. I searched online for a tutorial but could not find one. I decided to photograph the stages as i attempted them so I could share with you.

Here is how to make them

wired grapes tutorial

  • Using florist tape , tape around the hook.This step is not essential but helps the flower paste cling better onto the wire

wired grape tutorial

  • Brush a small amount of edible glue on the taped end of the florist wire. Insert wire about 2/3 of the way up your rolled “grape”

wired grape tutorial

  • Leave to dry overnight. You may need to leave it longer if the weather is humid

wired grape tutorial

  • To get the high shine brush with a little confectioners glaze

wired grape tutorial

  • Finish by wiring the grapes

first communion cup tutorial

To make the Chalice I used a tutorial from Sugar Sweet Cakes and Treats 

How to level a Domed Cake

A quick and easy way of levelling a domed cake is to put it back into the tin it was baked in and slicing the top off.

how to level cake

 

 

If the cake is shallower than the tin, you can prop up using a cake board(s) which is an inch smaller than the cake to prop up the cake, saucer etc  then put the cake back in and level as above