TIP 1: LOCATION
How often have you delivered your cake to a venue to find the lighting is too bright or not bright enough? The background of your photos with arms and legs of other vendors setting up or your cake table nowhere in sight so the glorious cake box photo is taken.
For consistent looking photos try to take your photos before you leave your kitchen. We suggest setting up a permanent spot (preferably near a window) where you always take your photos. The time of day you are taking your photos is important too. The first hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset is the best.
When the sun is lower in the sky the light is much softer. The result is a warm, soft light that enhances your images, if captured correctly. It does not create harsh shadows or over exposure and casts a warm color temperature illuminating your cake. Cloudy overcast days are the worst days to shoot so plan ahead and ensure you capture that cake before the weather has other plans.
TIP 2: EQUIPMENT
There is no need to invest thousands of dollars into photography equipment when it isn’t your chosen career. We can show you how you can take amazing photos on your phone using a few cheap items found at your local craft store.
Smart Phone: Phone cameras have come a long way over the last decade meaning we don’t need to go out and invest in expensive DSLR cameras to capture the perfect shot. It's all about how you set up your shots to create amazing results. Here are a few tips to help you take Instagram worthy pictures with your phone.
* Clean your lens
Unlike a camera our phone doesn’t have a lens cap to protect it from dust and grime. It’s great to get into the habit of wiping your phone's lens before taking your shot. There's nothing worse than looking back on photos that have fingerprints or marks over them.
* Setting exposure
Do you find that your photos are coming out either too bright or too dark? To ensure the perfect level of brightness you need to adjust the exposure (brightness) before you take your photo. Start by tapping your phone screen to focus. Then swipe up and down to adjust the brightness.
There are quite a few photo editing apps out there that you can use to quickly edit your pics before they go live. Our favourite is SnapSeed as it’s a free professional-grade editing app which provides you with a huge amount of features. You’ll be able to turn any mundane photo into a show stopper. It also has the capabilities to save your presets so you can use this on all of your photos. This is great for creating a consistent looking Instagram feed.
Background Sweep: A sweep is a large bendable sheet of paper, where the bottom acts as the surface beneath your product and then curves up behind your product to become your background. The curve is invisible unlike the corners and blemishes you get when simply taking a photo against a wall.
If you are placing your cakes or cookies directly onto your sweep it’s best to use a material like vinyl which can be easily wiped down and won’t mark. You will get longevity out of your backgrounds saving you money down the track. Our favourite supplier for backdrops is Svpply Co. They make durable easy to clean backdrops in an array of on trend designs.
If you take a look at the images below you can see that the left hand side is using the sweep and the right is a photo simply taken up against the wall. You can also add props accordingly to make the shot look less sterile.
Foam Board: For larger projects sweeps can take up a lot of room and require fancy clamps and stands to hang them. A simple way around this is a large piece of foam board or wood. As you can see in the image below we have elevated the cake using a stand and then strategically placed props around the stand to hide the line where the wall and foam meets.
Bounce Card: There's no need to spend tonnes of money on expensive lighting to illuminate your final products. An easy and cheap solution is to use a bounce card. These are either made out of cardboard, foam board, wood or cloth that are coloured white, grey or silver to reflect light into shadowy areas of your cake.
You can get someone to hold this opposite your source of light, or as you can see below we have simply balanced it against our backing board.
TIP 3: BACKGROUND AND PROPS
It is important before you invest in props and backgrounds to look at the kind of products you will be shooting. You may find all your cakes are white for example; so perhaps a darker/ warmer background may be more suitable than say a stark white.
You could a look at what your cake idols are using for inspiration. Select a background tone that you think will help your product pop. It is important that once this decision has been made you stick with it for consistency purposes. Nothing makes a feed look more hectic and busy than inconsistency. You don’t have to stick with all white backgrounds but you do have to stick with light and bright if that is the scheme you have chosen.
TIP 4: CAMERA ANGLE AND COMMON MISTAKES
Last but not least, play around with your camera angles and the position of your product. Not all products translate well from just one perspective. Get creative and take a few snaps of your product to see what is most flattering.
Whatever the angle, it’s important that you think of the final image and what platform it’s getting uploaded too. Does it have to be uploaded to Instagram? Make sure your image can be cropped square. You can see the below image doesn’t have enough backdrop to be cropped square limiting its uses.
Remove your products from any glare or reflecting packaging. We don’t need to see your smiling face in the reflection of the wrapper. This goes for the types of background you choose. Stainless steel and mirrored surfaces are the worst for taking photos on.
Overall it takes practice and trial and error to find the look you’re after and get your photography style down. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun.