How to Take Instagram Worthy Pictures of Your Cake
Maybe it took you multiple days to make an impressive cake for your family and you want to take beautiful pictures to remember your creation before it’s eaten. Or maybe you’re a professional cake decorator and you want to grow your business with a beautiful cake portfolio.
Whatever the reason, check out some of our tips for taking beautiful photos of your cake creations -- using just your phone! Put them up on your website/social media feed and follow + tag us @ledolci so that we can see your pics!
If you make cakes for a living, it’s worth keeping in mind that many professional cake decorators and bakeries have a ‘brand aesthetic’ or ‘look’, which runs through their entire brand – logos, colours, fonts and sometimes even website layouts! This brand aesthetic is particularly visible on Instagram, where the
medium is almost entirely made up of photos and videos. Some brands have a more general look like ‘light and bright’, ‘pretty in pastels’, or ‘dark and moody’, and others create more specific ‘on brand’ style guides with specific colour palettes and textures. This can give customers a better idea of your typical
decorating style and the types of cakes that you make. So if you’re a cake professional and have a brand aesthetic or look in mind, remember to consider this for each aspect of your photos.
1. Lighting, Shadows and Lightboxes
Lighting is the #1 most important factor when taking photos of cake.
You’ll generally want great lighting to show off all the colours and details on your cake creations. This is true even if you’re going for the ‘dark and moody’ look – in that case, let the lighting show off your cake and create the ‘dark and moody’ atmosphere through props and a dark background.
You’ll also want to avoid harsh shadows which can hide details, make the picture dull and distract the eye from the focal point of the cake.
Using natural lighting, you can choose a spot near a window where there is indirect, bright light throughout most the day. If you want an even brighter look, you can soften direct sunlight to avoid inconsistent shadows and glares, like by using a curtain or paper to diffuse the light.
If your cake studio doesn’t get a lot of light or you want a more consistent lighting setup, accessories like ring lights or lightboxes can be a game changer and are relatively inexpensive. Ring lights work by surrounding the camera with an even light source, which can help to eliminate glare and harsh shadows.
Lightboxes are basically boxes made out of a white, reflective surface, with one side open. Taking photos of a cake inside a lightbox helps to illuminate every part of the cake by bouncing the light source off the surfaces inside the box.
2. Background and Styling
The background shouldn’t distract from the main attraction – it’s all about the cake! You can use a backdrop (eg paper/cardboard/curtain/blind) in a single, neutral colour or blur out a background like a kitchen or party scene so that the cake remains the main focus of the photo.
To give your photos a sense of setting or atmosphere, you can also style or accessorize your cake. There are all kinds of cake stands, linens, plates, serving items, cutlery and party paraphernalia to help you achieve a certain look or feel to your photos.
3. Camera Angles
Different camera angles will best show off different cake designs. Generally, cakes have decorations on top of the cake (eg an edible photo cake), on the side of the cake (eg an ombre cake) or both on top and on the side (eg a unicorn cake).
Your camera angle should always show off the best part of the cake but we also recommend creating depth to your cake photos by photographing the cake as 3-dimensional. In other words, if all of your cake decoration are on top of the cake, instead of taking photos directly overhead, angle your camera so that you can also see some of the sides of the cake (and vice versa).
4. Camera Focus
One of our favourite ways to photograph cake is to put the cake in focus, with the background out of focus. This draws attention to all the beautiful decorations and really makes the cake the star of the
show. You can do this by fiddling with your camera settings or in manual mode.
5. App Filters
Photography and food photography can be somewhat tricky and technical. Luckily, there are many apps on the market that have preset filters made for food photography which take out a lot of the guesswork.
Play around with different apps and filters to find something that works for you!
And remember, photo posts are there for post-erity! If you have cake photos that are not picture perfect, you can still share them to keep your audience engaged and involved. Instagram Stories are temporary and can offer your customers and friends a ‘behind the scenes’ look at your cake decorating adventures.
Eager to get hands-on cake decorating experience and snap photos of your beautiful cake decorations?
Join our in-person Cake Decorating Classes at Le Dolci Classroom & Studio located in Toronto, Canada.
Our classes are suitable for all levels of cake decorators, from total beginners to pro cake decorators who are looking to perfect their technical skills (BONUS: we do the prep, baking and the cleanup so that you can focus on cake decorating!).
Don’t live nearby or caught the cake decorating bug? Join our Online Cakes & Buttercream Course for structured video tutorials where you will learn how to build and mask a cake step-by-step, all about cake science and how to make our favourite cake, syrup and buttercream recipes.