Taking Pinterest-worthy photos of your cakes and other baked goods can be a bit of a challenge, but a well-formed shot highlights the natural beauty of your artistry and can literally make mouths water. As a professional, these things are your first impression with your potential customers and will encourage them to either take a closer look or leave them uninspired and scrolling past, so nailing your food photography is essential. Here are a few tried-and-true tips to help you take gorgeous photos of your baked goods that will make sure you get noticed.
What you will Need
Camera: Most photographers will tell you that you need to purchase a high-quality camera and use the manual settings. As your skill progresses, it’s a great idea to do just this and experiment with what works for you, but you don’t need to invest in an expensive camera right away. If you have a high-quality smartphone, start with this. If anyone tries to tell you differently, tell them to take it up with National Geographic photographer Ivan Kashinsky, who prefers to take his iPhone on assignment, or Business Insider’s with Harrison Jacobson, who compared the quality of an iPhone, basic point-and-shoot, and pricey DSLR camera, only to find that the DSLR and iPhone came out about evenly on tests.
Tripod: Unless your food is on the go, make it easy on yourself and pick up and inexpensive tripod. At the end of a marathon baking or decorating session, keeping your hand steady enough to avoid blur is a real challenge.
Light: You should have an alternate source of light regardless of what camera you’re using. For the best results, choose a light that mimics natural light.
Reflectors: To illuminate your photos better and reduce shadows, pick up some reflectors. These don’t need to be expensive- some photographers simply use white foamboard (from the arts and crafts store) or white cardboard.
Elements of the Perfect Cake Photography Shot
Location, Location, Location: You never know what conditions will await if you’re delivering your work to an event and you may not get good shots there. Set up a place to take photos at home or in your kitchen and always grab a few before you transport.
Lighting: Lighting is everything. Whenever possible, try to use natural lighting and work with your reflectors to bounce light back to your baked goods. If the sun isn’t cooperating that day or you’ve worked past the prime daylight hours, make use of the supplementary light you purchased.
Staging: The less busy your background is, the better your photo will turn out. If you can’t set up a proper photo shoot area, use clean, pressed white sheets as a backdrop. Props can add some visual interest, but keep a minimalistic approach- your work needs to shine.
Composition: The rule of thirds is a major component in beautiful photography. Use the gridlines (3×3) on your camera and align the subject either with those lines or on one of the intersecting points. This helps balance the image, so it’s more visually appealing.
Orientation: Before you shoot, consider how the image is going to be used. If you’re shooting for Pinterest, vertical is usually best, simply because the site limits your width, but not your height. You’ll get more prime real estate and get more attention if your image is longer. On other websites, horizontal photos may be best, especially panoramic shots. If you’re not sure how you’ll use the shots, take a variety, so you’re certain to have something that works on the page.
How to Photograph Cakes: Tips for the Perfect Shot
- If a professional photographer will be at an event, don’t be afraid to ask for a few high-quality shots of your artwork for yourself.
- Vary your angle. Include close-ups, aerial views, head-on, and downward views, but beware on the latter and try to come in at only a slight angle, so as not to distort your work.
- Don’t rely on editing software to correct issues. It’s ok in moderation or to make enhancements, but shouldn’t be used for everything.
Ready to Showcase Your Work?
Bakers and Cakers will be launching shortly and can help connect you with people with people in need of your services. Practice grabbing some shots that show off your epic confectionary skills and shoot us a message to let us know you’d like to be listed in our marketplace.