photo of cake with ingrendients by Brands&People on Unsplash

15 Proven Tips for Appealing Cake Photography

Cake photography is interesting and a great way to tell a story, whether it is a wedding, birthday, congratulation cake, or any other cake. Taking photos of cakes brings out more details and features about cakes in a great way. However, taking the cake photos can sometimes be tricky and requires some practice. The following tips can help you in cake photography:

1. Select the Ideal Angle to Showcase Your Cake

Think about the cake you're photographing before you take out your camera. Choose the camera position that will highlight its best features and support the narrative you want to tell. For instance, layered frosted cakes look great with straight shots, and three-quarters shots work perfectly for drawing attention to the swirls on your cake. Overhead images are not that good for cakes unless you need to concentrate on the top of the cake plus, they are ideal for storytelling when you have things like plates and drinks on set.

2. Make the shoot easier by utilizing natural light.

Although most food photographers use artificial lighting, the best option when just starting with cake photography is a natural light plus; it is great if you lack expertise in using flash. To make use of the sunlight, position your cake near t a window while shooting. Diffusers or translucent supplies should be used. You can achieve great results with a curtain. It will soften any glaring sunlight or light coming in from the window; you will keep the cake from having harsh shadows, but a diffuser is not necessary for a cloudy day.

3. Choose Your Props Wisely

photo of three layer's cake

Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash

It's never a good idea to choose random props in cake photography; they ought to blend in with the other components of the picture and go with the visual story you are trying to create. Avoid vibrant colors and striking patterns when choosing props, as they will divert focus from your cake. Go for tiny props to ensure more attention is on the cake and use the support in inventive ways, for instance, placing the cake on plate stakes or vintage trays.

4. Shape the light by using fill and bounce.

You can use reflectors and diffusers of varying sizes, which you can get online, or improvise using white curtains and several pieces of foam core in black and white. Expert reflectors are excellent for cake photography as they come in silver material for brightening, gold for warmth, and black and white. Black and white foam core to increase contrast and shadows by reflecting light. The opposite of your light source should have a reflector or foam core; use white to reflect some of the light to your set, and use black to fill in a few shadows. 

5. To focus, use a smaller aperture.

You can use autofocus, but it has limitations as it can take the focus off and result in blurry cake photos. The degree of light and contrast significantly affects autofocus; therefore, you will have difficulty focusing without good lighting or low contrast. Manual focus can be used with a small depth of field and macro lenses, meaning you need to have accurate focus as a slight error can mess up the focus. For cake photography, use an f/8 aperture which will make the cake in focus; pay attention to the cake's front as well.

6. Utilize Food Styling Techniques to highlight the cake

photo of cake on a cake stand

Photo by Logan Clark on Unsplash

If you are present when the cake is being made, you can apply food styling techniques. To make a slice of cake appear higher when photographed, place additional cardboard layers between the cake layers. The same shape should be cut out but slightly smaller than the cake slice. It should be sandwiched between 2 layers, then frosted; be sure to remove any extra frosting from the sides to make it appear natural. You can apply the same technique to photograph a whole cake by sandwiching round cardboard pieces between layers.

7. Brighten the Background with Colorful Lights

When the background is dull, and you can't or don't want to keep moving the cake, you can add some vibrant color to the background by attaching a colored gel to a flash that is off-camera. To illuminate the front of the cake, you will also need to add a little flash. To reduce light overflow and keep the light you are adding to the scene focused on the cake, use a grid or on the flash.

8. Select the ideal lighting direction.

The lighting direction is important, including the backlight (noon), side lighting (9/3 o’clock), and the 10/11 o’clock sidelight. Your choice of lighting will depend on the kind of cake you are shooting. Backlighting is a good option if your cake has a glossy glaze or a lot of surface texture, as it makes the texture better and enhances shiny areas. Side lighting can also be used, which is straightforward compared to backlight. It will help if you experiment with the lighting direction before taking photos.

9. Take wide, medium, and closeups shots.

close up photo of chocolate cake

Photo by American Heritage Chocolate on Unsplash

Begin the cake photography by setting the scene with a wide view shot showing the cake in its surrounding context. To get a closer look at the cake's specifics, take a medium view shot with fewer interruptions; the entire cake should be seen. The cake's distinctive details, from the patterns in the frosting, are highlighted in the closeup.

10. Make natural-looking swirls

When it comes to making swirls at the top of your cake, it is best to do them. However, swirls that are forced don't appear as enticing or luscious. They always prefer natural, flowing motion. It will make the cake look amazing in the shot.

11. Set your camera flash

When taking a cake picture, it is best to set the on-camera fill flash at the range between 1/8 and 1/16. Setting up the flash will only take a minute or two, and you can apply it with any setup. 

12. Please keep it simple.

In cake photography, you must ensure the cake is the center of focus. When you overuse props, they take attention away from your cake which happens mostly for the entire cake. You can also capture several cake slices on plates in a photograph; use a variety of plates or ones that match. Put them together in an asymmetrical layout to give your image flow. It is better to use an odd number of plates for slices and ensure you keep the setup simple but looking amazing.

13. Look for an intriguing background.

little girl's birthday photo with Kate Pink and White Stripe Photography Backdrop

Kate Pink and White Stripe Photography Backdrop

It would be best to find good backdrops for your cake photography as they are important for great photos. If the background does not work for you, shift the position of the cake till you get the best background. However, be very cautious not to drop the cake and find the background that goes with your cake.

14. Have a consistent spread and natural-looking swirls

If you make the cake, ensure it is not bulky as it may take all the light and make the photo look dull. You need to test the lighting setup, and the spreadable version’s increased gloss will be visible and look good in pictures. Ensure swirls look natural before taking the photos.

15. Complete your cake photography in post

You can always add a few extra details in post-processing to make your photo stand out, even if it looks fantastic on camera. Remember to strive for uniformity when editing your photos so that your pictures of the cake will wonderfully fit on the same spread as the place settings, decors, and other components. You can use editing applications that you are more familiar with, like lightroom, to change the exposure to a negative five, depending on the photo. Make adjustments until you are satisfied to get good results.


Taking pictures of cakes is a lot of fun; however, to become an amazing cake photographer, you must practice. You will, however, notice progress over time. Ensure you carefully follow the tips above to ensure your cake photos look amazing on your next cake photography. Remember to take a break and find new ideas in case the shoot is not working out as planned.

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