Have you ever pho­tographed cakes, desserts or oth­er con­fec­tionery? If yes, then you should be aware that even the most exquis­ite culi­nary mas­ter­pieces in the pic­tures some­times look unaes­thet­ic, and some­times not at all appe­tiz­ing. What is the secret and why do we see a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent pic­ture on the pages of glossy mag­a­zines or on the Insta­gram feed?

Source: marlanph.com

Do you want to learn how to prop­er­ly pho­to­graph desserts with­out pro­fes­sion­al pho­to­graph­ic equip­ment, lim­it­ing your­self to your smart­phone? All this is quite real, although the qual­i­ty of the cam­era in the phone still plays an impor­tant role.

Preparing the film set for shooting desserts

First you need to choose a loca­tion for shoot­ing. The work sur­face can be locat­ed almost any­where. It is only impor­tant what exact­ly gets into the frame — what acces­sories or dec­o­ra­tive ele­ments.

With morn­ing light­ing, pho­tographs of desserts with cof­fee or tea are espe­cial­ly good, and in the evening you can even place can­dles in the shoot­ing area. Con­sid­er not only the time of day, but also the time of year.

The back­ground should be con­cise and at the same time orig­i­nal, so that noth­ing dis­tracts and does not spoil the final pic­ture. If you don’t have what you think is a suit­able loca­tion for shoot­ing cakes and desserts, it will not be dif­fi­cult for you to pre­pare it. You will need a white sheet of draw­ing paper, which can be turned not only into a back­ground, but also into a light reflec­tor.

You can also set the mood for your shots with col­ored back­grounds — pink, blue, yel­low, and even black. All this can also be what­man paper. To con­trol nat­ur­al light, you can use a pur­chased reflec­tor or make it your­self from foil stretched over some kind of frame.

When you need to dif­fuse the harsh light from the win­dow, use a light white cloth or plain trac­ing paper. With all these sim­ple items, you will be able to cre­ate pro­fes­sion­al shots and get the most out of the cam­era in your smart­phone.

Your main task when shoot­ing a dessert or cake is to present the con­fec­tion in an appe­tiz­ing way. Prop­er­ly select­ed back­ground, well-placed light­ing and post-pro­cess­ing will help to achieve this effect.

The best pho­tos are tak­en when shoot­ing from a tri­pod. It elim­i­nates shak­ing and allows you to set a slow shut­ter speed. Source: estherschipper.com

It is bet­ter to shoot not with hands, but with a tri­pod. If you use a smart­phone, you can buy an inex­pen­sive table tri­pod for it with flex­i­ble legs, which is easy to set up at dif­fer­ent angles and on almost any sur­face.

The power of composition when shooting cakes and desserts

When com­pos­ing a frame, you need to take into account a lot of nuances. Plac­ing a dessert against a bright back­ground or plac­ing a tea­spoon next to it unsuc­cess­ful­ly can shift the vec­tor of atten­tion in the oppo­site direc­tion.

Do not neglect the clas­sic tech­niques of com­po­si­tion in pho­tog­ra­phy. Try to place objects in the frame accord­ing to the rule of thirds, the prin­ci­ples of sym­me­try, or exper­i­ment with cam­era angles.

When com­pos­ing a com­po­si­tion, pay atten­tion to the details:

  • If the dessert is dec­o­rat­ed with many dec­o­ra­tive ele­ments, do not over­load the frame with addi­tion­al objects and details.
  • Neu­tral back­grounds in light col­ors are the best choice. At the same time, con­trast is need­ed so that the dessert does not merge with the back­ground. This applies not only to the back­ground, but also to table­cloths, cake stands and so on.
  • If there are aux­il­iary ele­ments in the frame, they must match the style of the con­fec­tionery. Fresh flow­ers, lace, pearls are com­bined with a wed­ding cake. A pic­ture with a New Year’s dessert can be sup­ple­ment­ed with arti­fi­cial snow or con­fet­ti.
  • When only a piece of dessert is in the frame, place a cup of cof­fee or an ele­gant tea­spoon in the frame to give the treat a mouth-water­ing look.
To dec­o­rate the dessert, you can use fruits, berries, var­i­ous con­fec­tionery top­pings. Source: adorama.com

Over time, you will begin to under­stand when you are com­pos­ing cor­rect­ly. This comes with expe­ri­ence, but the main rule remains the same: the dessert should be the cen­ter­piece, and every­thing else is need­ed to com­plete the pic­ture. If, when you look at the pic­ture fresh­ly, your eyes fall first of all on the spoon or back­ground lying near the cake, change the lay­out or remove unnec­es­sary items alto­geth­er.

Decor for desserts — how to use it wisely

Learn how to dec­o­rate desserts, cakes and baked goods to make them look appe­tiz­ing. If they have a bor­ing mono­phon­ic tex­ture, this is unlike­ly to attract atten­tion. Imag­ine a face­less cake cov­ered in white cream. No mat­ter how tasty it is, they will not pay atten­tion to it. And even more so, no one wants to cook or order it if you offer culi­nary recipes or cook cakes to order and pro­mote your page on Insta­gram or oth­er social net­works.

You can dec­o­rate desserts with any­thing — from fresh fruits and berries to nuts and choco­late. Even ready-made top­pings are sold that can give the cake a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent look. Some lemon or cher­ry glaze, vanil­la cream, cin­na­mon and more can dra­mat­i­cal­ly change the pic­ture.

Lighting that matters a lot

The best option for any food pho­to is nat­ur­al day­light. It is able to reveal the tex­ture of the dessert with­out dis­tort­ing the col­ors. If it’s cloudy out­side, use some lamps. And nev­er use a flash, as it will dis­tort all the col­ors and rob the frame of depth.

The direc­tion of the light plays an impor­tant role. The light source can be placed on the side, in front or behind the object. But shoot­ing, stand­ing between the dessert and the win­dow, def­i­nite­ly should not be for a num­ber of rea­sons:

  • there will be over­ex­po­sure in the pho­to;
  • col­ors will turn out fad­ed;
  • your sil­hou­ette will hang over the sub­ject.

Exper­i­ment and find the best angle. For exam­ple, dark cakes and desserts (bis­cuit or choco­late) work well when shoot­ing from the side, as shad­ows and high­lights do not burst into the frame in this case.

Soft­box­es and reflec­tors can be used in place of a win­dow with nat­ur­al light, but these come at a hefty price. Source: estherschipper.com

If you have a mousse with a translu­cent jel­ly top or a cake dec­o­rat­ed with fresh berries and fruits, try pho­tograph­ing it with back­light. In this case, the col­ors in the fore­ground will turn out to be the most vivid and juicy. The sun’s rays or a lamp will illu­mi­nate the jel­ly from the inside with­out over­ex­po­sure.

To redi­rect or soft­en the lumi­nous flux, use reflec­tors made of white thick paper. Desserts with a het­ero­ge­neous tex­ture are espe­cial­ly orig­i­nal with the right approach. The com­bi­na­tion of illu­mi­nat­ed and shad­ed areas cre­ates spec­tac­u­lar col­or tran­si­tions. Try to place reflec­tors on the left and right, and you will be pleas­ant­ly sur­prised by the result.

Regard­less of which side the light source is on, dif­fuse it. This is espe­cial­ly true for bright sun­light. Oth­er­wise, sharp dif­fer­ences between shad­ows and light will make the pic­ture rougher. You can hang a win­dow with a thin cloth that will make the light­ing even. As a result, the tran­si­tions from light to shad­ow will be soft­er and smoother, and the pic­ture will turn out to be more pro­fes­sion­al, even if you take it on a smart­phone.

Common mistakes when shooting desserts

Many begin­ners who are just learn­ing to pho­to­graph cakes and oth­er con­fec­tionery make the same mis­takes:

  • shoot in direct sun­light, with­out soft­en­ing or scat­ter­ing;
  • choose an unsuc­cess­ful angle (here you just need to exper­i­ment and gain expe­ri­ence);
  • enclose the pho­to in a frame by adding all sorts of hearts and flow­ers — this is a bad move that makes any pic­ture very cheap;
  • use too aggres­sive fil­ters in post-pro­cess­ing.

Get closer to the ideal

Pho­tograph­ing cakes and oth­er treats in such a way that every­one wants to try them is an art form in its own right. First you need to mas­ter all the basics that we talked about above and start prac­tic­ing. Try dif­fer­ent angles, play with light, com­pose shots in dif­fer­ent ways, and exper­i­ment in some oth­er way. Then view the received frames and ana­lyze where you made the right deci­sion and where you didn’t. So in a few months you will learn how to shoot desserts like a pro­fes­sion­al spe­cial­iz­ing in food pho­tog­ra­phy.


От Yara

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