First impressions are everything, even in the home bakery business. Today, social media and websites are the easiest way to market yourself and your business. Taking great photos of the cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other treats that you bake is essential in turning your baking passion into a successful home-based bakery business.
How do you take better photos of your cakes? A camera (phone cameras are ok), good lighting, thought-out backgrounds, and photo editing are all you need to take better photos of your cakes and other treats. Planning your photography sessions by focusing on these areas will increase the quality of your cake photos.
We live in a visual world and that means people eat with their eyes first. Well designed and edited photos of your creations will capture your audiences’ attention. The most stunning cake can be ruined by bad photography.
You do not have to be a photography expert to take gorgeous photos of your culinary masterpieces. Even if photography is not your strong suit, taking great photos is easier than you think. This article explores a few easy tips and tricks to turn your cake photos into marketing material that will grow your home bakery business.
You do not need fancy camera equipment to capture a great cake shot. When getting started, it is ok to use what you have, even your cell phone. While the photo equipment you use does not have to be expensive, it’s important to know how to use the technology that you have.
Spend some time playing with the photo features on your phone or camera, including the modes and filters, to help you make the most of what you have to work with. Reading the manual, watching YouTube videos, or taking a basic photography course are all good options to help take better photos with your equipment.
Phone camera technology is much better than it was even five years ago. Most phones have several modes, filters, and lighting options, and even photo editing software built-in for convenience. For example, if your phone has a ‘Portrait’ setting, it will blur the background and focus on your cake, which will make it stand out.
If you have your heart set on a new camera for taking your cake photos, spend time researching the different options. Camera equipment is a big investment, but it can increase the quality of your photos.
How to Get the Best Lighting
Lighting is a critical element for your cake photos. A dark or shadowy photo will not capture the beauty of your creation. Editing will only go so far in helping to fix bad lighting. It is best to get the lighting right when you snap the shot.
Natural light is the best light. Placing your cake near a window or in a room with abundant natural light will do wonders for bringing out the colors and decorations on your cake. If you take a photo of your cake outside, it is best to do so on cloudy days. Direct sunlight may seem like a great thing, but it makes it harder to get a great photo.
Backgrounds will help make your photos look professional. Creating backgrounds will also add character to your photos and make your cakes stand out. You do not need to invest a lot of money into backgrounds. Here are some ideas for backgrounds that are low cost but stylish.
- If you have dedicated space for your business, you can paint a wall and use it as your photo backdrop. Choose a color that you want to be associated with your brand and the wall becomes a marketing tool.
- Use wallpaper samples from a local hardware or decorating store. Tape the wallpaper to a wall and instantly create a backdrop for your cake. You will find a wide variety of styles that you can reuse, making this a cost-friendly and versatile option.
- White foam boards offer an adaptable surface to work with. You can use the boards for a white background or cover them in scrapbooking paper, bulletin board paper, or contact paper to achieve different looks. You can buy a few and use some for the background and others for creating levels.
- Use what you already have. Search your home and yard for items you have lying around. Reclaimed wood can make an exquisite backdrop for cake photos. Tablecloths or curtains may also make good backdrops. You may also find that you have great props to add to your cake photos.
Edit Your Photos
Once you take your photos, the work is not done. Editing cake photos is an important step to helping your photos look professional. There are several options for easy photo editing depending on your budget and comfort level with technology. You do not have to be a photography expert to learn how to edit photographs.
If you take pictures on your smartphone, it probably comes with basic editing software. The iPhone comes with several editing features that allow you to lighten or darken your photo, add filters, increase saturation among other features. If you are on a budget, you can still get great pictures using your smartphone for editing.
There are more advanced photo editing apps that you can download on your smartphone. VSCO is an example of one of those apps. Apps like this will have more editing features than what comes standard with your smartphone. Advanced apps like this are not necessary when just starting out, but they can improve your cake photos.
If you are taking pictures with a camera, it often comes with editing software that you can load onto your computer. These programs will have the most editing features, but they can be more complicated to learn.
For the busy entrepreneur, the best way to learn how to use editing tools through trial and error. You can also search on YouTube for tutorial videos. Photography and editing courses are great, but they can be expensive and time-consuming.
Having a well-organized catalog of cake photos is invaluable. Taking the time to set up a photo storage system for your creations is worth it in the long run. You may be surprised how many people ask about cakes or other desserts you created in the past. Being able to find these photos quickly will save you time and possibly help you score a new client.
Here are things to consider when setting up a storage system for your photographs:
- Only keep the best photos. After you edit your photos, pick the best ones, and then delete the others. It can be a hassle to have to go through 10 or more photographs a year after you took the photo to determine which one was the best.
- Create a folder system. Organize your photos in folders or categories. Only you will know what works best for your business but having a filing system will help you retrieve the photos easier. You can sort photos by occasion (18th birthdays, 50th birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers, etc.) or by type of cake (three-tiered, fondant, sports theme, etc.).
- Backup your photos. Make sure your photos are stored in more than one place. If they are on your computer hard drive and your computer crashes you will lose a lot of hard work. Several cloud storage options are free for a certain amount of storage, or inexpensive. Cloud storage is great because you can pull the photo up from anywhere you have access to the internet. You can also buy a hard drive to back up photos.
You wear so many different hats when running your own home-based bakery business. Photographer may not seem like an important hat to wear, but having beautiful pictures of your work will help you build your business. It is possible to take your own professional looking photos for your bakery business with minimal time and expense.
Have you gotten my Essential 5 P’s for Perfect Product Pricing pdf yet? I created this freebie to take the guesswork out of determining how much to charge for baked goods. Sign up for my email list and your very first email has the pdf.
Check out my blog archive for more helpful articles. Follow me on Instagram at @whiskwarrior where I post weekly tips, resources, and personal experiences operating a home bakery and retail bakeshop.