A cake doesn’t exist if you don’t take a picture.
In this world we live in, ruled by social media, knowing how to make good pictures of your cakes has become one of the essential points of the cake decorating business.
I know that the working pace of a bakery doesn’t give you a lot of time to take pictures. Standardizing the process of photographing your cakes is the best option. That’s why I’ve decided to write this post and show you the way I photograph my cakes before storing them in my studio.
STEP 1: Prepare the photography set
Le Doux Collage‘s photography style consists in a dark grey background, always with a similar light and with a low exposure. Defining a style is a difficult task that usually takes months. I always prepare the set of photography in the same way, so that I can guarantee a similar look on every picture.
I use a softbox as a main spotlight. It’s a 5 light LED tripod. In order to get a slightly warm light, I combine 4 cold lights and 1 wamr light. I always place the spotlight to one side of the cake, choosing one side or the other depending on the design.
In order to decrease the shadows on the darker side of the cake, I use a round reflector. Reflectors change the direction of the light that impacts them, causing the light to rebound on the cake. That way we’ll give light to the darker side of the cake without adding an excess of the same.
Finally, we need a background for the cake. Some people place paper or plastic in a curved way to avoid the right angle between the table and the wall. In my case, I prefer both planes to appear in the picture.
In order to obtain a uniform colour in the picture, I painted a board from IKEA with the same paint I used on the walls. But if you want use this style of photography, you’ll face a new problem: lighting.
STEP 2: Adjusting the lighting and taking the picture
After placing the three elements, it’s time to adjust the lighting, place the cake and press “click”. In order to adjust the lighting you should consider these three things: the distance of the spotlight, the direction of the reflector and the distance between the board and the wall.
Place the spotlight at 50cm-70cm from the cake and play with the reflector to minimize the shadows.
Regarding the position of the board, if you place it touching the wall, it’ll be very difficult to illuminate the cake without illuminating the wall and the picture will look too exposed and thus, flat. For that purpose, what I use to do is to separate the board 60cm from the wall. This separation enables to illuminate the cake and get a dark background.
STEP 3: Retouching the picture
This last step takes a lot of work, more especially when you have to edit lots of pictures from the same cake. I always use Photoshop, which is not easy to use but really helpful when you get used to it.
In order to get a natural result, slightly boost the colours and the lighting to highlight everything that you want. However, I recommend you not to abuse when editing, because the picture could look fake. A good photo editing is the one that goes unnoticed.