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Chocolate courgette cake

By Tigercomp
I don't usually take photographs of food, so this was new to me. I wanted it to look inviting and home-made. What would make this photo better?

Tags: General Chocolate Courgette Homemade Cake photography

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Comments


banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
19 Jul 2020 4:09PM
A good effort.

I would like to know if you used a tripod, the shutter speed is very slow and cause visible shake?

Better for me without the hand, and the knife cutting the cake; a knife laying on the plate may be a better approach. Te hand with knife tends t draw the eye away from the cake.

Slightly more light since the cake is dark compared to the plate is a good idea.


Ive sharpened, increased cake exposure in the mods, and the second mod is some quick cloning to remove the knife as a comparison.


Regards


Willie

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Niknut Plus
10 2.6k 82 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2020 4:38PM
Send the cake to me !....a shot of a plateful of crumbs might
have a good story to tell ?.?????........just a thought ?.GrinGrin
Robert51 11 7 104 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2020 4:41PM
Great image and my mouth is watering just looking at it.

The first you have to do is clean the knife. Even though you have just cut the cake no one wants to see it on the knife.
I then play a slight amount with the colours and lighteb the red on the hand as to not draw the eye. Next was to add a diamond gradient map to draw the light to the front of the cake to pull the eye. Last thing always add a border, it makes it look like an image from a magerzine.
Hope you like it...
19 Jul 2020 5:00PM
Thanks for the comments.

I did use a tripod, but pressed the shutter with one hand whilst holding the knife in the other, so it might not be completely stable. I did take photos with and without the knife and with and without the basket behind. I'd read a tip beforehand saying include a hand to make it look more friendly. Afterwards I did also wonder if I should have cleaned the knife for the shot and think I should have done that, even though I wanted it to look like I'd just cut it (which I had). I did sharpen it a bit, but probably not enough.

I'm not really sure how to do the diamond gradient thing - I'll have to look into that. Never thought about adding a border - will try that next time.

Thanks Banehawi for the mods, it really helps looking at the different versions.
DaveRyder Plus
6 4.4k 7 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2020 5:59PM
I've added a mod.
Increased details and sharpened. Cut a tighter crop adding a slight vignette and went for a little colour cast removal.
This was done in Luminar 4 with a boarder in FastStone.

For me the basket distracts so i've tried to trim some out with the crop and used colour cast removal to reduce it's overall impact.
The slight vignette focuses the central subject a little more. I've also dropped the highlights to tone down the glare on the knife.

Incidentally the cake looks very nice and if you'd like to share I can PM you an address Smile
19 Jul 2020 6:23PM
Thanks for your comments and the mod. I like how you'e reduced the glare on the knife - didn't really notice it myself before. I haven't tried colour cast removal - that's something else for me to have a go at. Vignette is good too.

Sorry, not much left of the cake - but it was delicious!


Quote:I've added a mod.
Increased details and sharpened. Cut a tighter crop adding a slight vignette and went for a little colour cast removal.
This was done in Luminar 4 with a boarder in FastStone.

For me the basket distracts so i've tried to trim some out with the crop and used colour cast removal to reduce it's overall impact.
The slight vignette focuses the central subject a little more. I've also dropped the highlights to tone down the glare on the knife.

Incidentally the cake looks very nice and if you'd like to share I can PM you an address Smile

pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2149 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2020 7:00PM
You should be proud of this one, Mary, especially using courgettes. I've used avocados and bananas (not in the same cake), but not courgettes.

I like the way you displayed the cake on a slight diagonal, and cut one slice to show the texture of the inside of the cake.

The surface that you used to put the plate on isn't ideal because it has a pattern to it and is also reflective, both making it noticeable and therefore somewhat of a distraction from your subject.
I don't think you needed the basket. It is attractive and pulls the eye. Therefore another distraction.

Less is often more. You want to keep the viewer's eye on your subject - the cake. Any addition inside your frame needs to relate specifically to the cake (like the knife) or not be there at all. Maybe a serviette? The cake looks gooey enough to need oneSmile.

I agree with others about the hand, but not about the knife. To avoid the hand, the knife could simply be resting alongside the cake. There's something yummy about crumbs, and I'm not sure why, but I do like them to be included.

I have done a modification that is in square format, which crops away the hand altogether. I then did a few slight contrast adjustments. It isn't absolutely necessary to include the whole of the cake in your frame.
I hope you find these ideas and suggestions helpful.

Pamela.
19 Jul 2020 7:50PM

Quote:You should be proud of this one, Mary, especially using courgettes. I've used avocados and bananas (not in the same cake), but not courgettes.

I like the way you displayed the cake on a slight diagonal, and cut one slice to show the texture of the inside of the cake.

The surface that you used to put the plate on isn't ideal because it has a pattern to it and is also reflective, both making it noticeable and therefore somewhat of a distraction from your subject.
I don't think you needed the basket. It is attractive and pulls the eye. Therefore another distraction.

Less is often more. You want to keep the viewer's eye on your subject - the cake. Any addition inside your frame needs to relate specifically to the cake (like the knife) or not be there at all. Maybe a serviette? The cake looks gooey enough to need oneSmile.

I agree with others about the hand, but not about the knife. To avoid the hand, the knife could simply be resting alongside the cake. There's something yummy about crumbs, and I'm not sure why, but I do like them to be included.

I have done a modification that is in square format, which crops away the hand altogether. I then did a few slight contrast adjustments. It isn't absolutely necessary to include the whole of the cake in your frame.
I hope you find these ideas and suggestions helpful.

Pamela.



Thanks Pamela

It was my first time making a cake using courgettes and I was very pleased with the outcome.

I agree the kitchen surface is distracting, must try somewhere else next time. Thanks for making the edit and taking the hand away. There are so many good suggestions from everyone here. It gives me a lot to think about.
I does look like a delicious cake and I see that my contribution is a bit after the event as it's all gone now. Thought I'd still comment as it might give you an excuse to bake and enjoy another one!
In your introduction, you said that you wanted the cake to look inviting and home-made. The cake itself certainly ticks those boxes and looks yummy, but I wondered if that feeling could be enhanced by placing the cake in a more traditional homely setting - maybe a table cloth, china - that sort of thing?
Sue
19 Jul 2020 9:38PM

Quote:I does look like a delicious cake and I see that my contribution is a bit after the event as it's all gone now. Thought I'd still comment as it might give you an excuse to bake and enjoy another one!
In your introduction, you said that you wanted the cake to look inviting and home-made. The cake itself certainly ticks those boxes and looks yummy, but I wondered if that feeling could be enhanced by placing the cake in a more traditional homely setting - maybe a table cloth, china - that sort of thing?
Sue



Thanks, yes, I think you're right. I didn't think too much about the setting and yes, table cloth and china might have enhanced the overall feel of it. I thought about the light from the window and it was a bit dreary outside and so wanted to take the pictures before the light got worse. I will be doing more baking and am enjoying trying to improve my photography. I've been concentrating more on flower photography, so the cake photography was new. I'm still learning and am enjoying the process. Hopefully, the next time a post a picture I will try to remember and capture more of the ideas from everyone.
dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 683 England
19 Jul 2020 10:39PM
It isn't bad at all, and it does look appetising.

I agree about the hand, it is a distraction and because it's only the finger ends it just looks awkward. Now if you were shooting a few seconds of video it wouldn't be so bad but even then I'd go for more hand or close in and just get the knife. With a still image that hand is just so more noticeable. I'm just trying to illustrate a point, every element of a still life needs to be considered as to its effect.

I think the basket hints at a picnic or eating outdoors so I don't mind to see it though it's rather bright and if not dominating it certainly fights woth the cake for attention so if it were angled or placed so it didn't catch the strong light would be worth trying.
In the same way if you add china or other tableware be aware of distractions from those too.
19 Jul 2020 10:53PM

Quote:It isn't bad at all, and it does look appetising.

I agree about the hand, it is a distraction and because it's only the finger ends it just looks awkward. Now if you were shooting a few seconds of video it wouldn't be so bad but even then I'd go for more hand or close in and just get the knife. With a still image that hand is just so more noticeable. I'm just trying to illustrate a point, every element of a still life needs to be considered as to its effect.

I think the basket hints at a picnic or eating outdoors so I don't mind to see it though it's rather bright and if not dominating it certainly fights woth the cake for attention so if it were angled or placed so it didn't catch the strong light would be worth trying.
In the same way if you add china or other tableware be aware of distractions from those too.



Thank you.

I think I'll keep hands out of my photos in future! Now looking at it the basket does seem quite bright, it didn't occur to me at the time, I just preferred it to the tiled background in the kitchen.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
20 Jul 2020 7:33PM
It's effectively a still life image, and the first step I'd take would be to use delayed action on the camera, and a smaller aperture, for greater depth of field. You'll have to hold the knife steady, though - technical perfection is a hallmark of food photography, Bob Carlos Clarke's 'White Heat' apart.

When everything is under your control, you can experiment... Try variations, and keep going until you're exhausted - or until you achieve perfection...

A really good first attempt at a difficult genre.
20 Jul 2020 7:53PM

Quote:It's effectively a still life image, and the first step I'd take would be to use delayed action on the camera, and a smaller aperture, for greater depth of field. You'll have to hold the knife steady, though - technical perfection is a hallmark of food photography, Bob Carlos Clarke's 'White Heat' apart.

When everything is under your control, you can experiment... Try variations, and keep going until you're exhausted - or until you achieve perfection...

A really good first attempt at a difficult genre.



Thanks very much for your comments. Do you ever achieve perfection? I'll keep going and will try a different setting next time and try and incorporate lots of the helpful comments. I did myself wonder why I didn't use the timer, it would certainly have helped me hold the knife steadier, oh well, lots to learn still.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
20 Jul 2020 7:57PM
Of course I don't!

But I find that it really pays to take the shot, look at it, think again, and do it the way that the logic suggests. As they say on CSI, 'Work the scene' - try variations, leave no stone unturned.

Unless, of course (like me) you want to leave an excuse for shooting again soon...
20 Jul 2020 9:36PM

Quote:Of course I don't!

But I find that it really pays to take the shot, look at it, think again, and do it the way that the logic suggests. As they say on CSI, 'Work the scene' - try variations, leave no stone unturned.

Unless, of course (like me) you want to leave an excuse for shooting again soon...



Thank you for your helpful comments, I will try and learn from them. I enjoyed trying out the photo and will do it again. I might try baking/making something else and combining the things I'm enjoying at the moment, growing, baking and photography. I've only just bought the tripod and a new lens, so still getting used to using them, so advice such as your own is very beneficial. I was quite pleased with my first attempt at something like this. It has inspired me to try again and do better.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
21 Jul 2020 2:04AM
That's the best part of the learning curve - when every step encourages you to take another.

If you find that multiple technical challenges (baking and photography) are leading you to fall short on both, you might want to try practising the photographic techniques separately, so that when you bring them to the baking (or anything else) you can work with complete assurance.

On the other hand, you may have sufficient energy to apply yourself to both - in which case, you have my admiration and, indeed, envy!
chase Plus
14 1.7k 411 England
22 Jul 2020 2:51PM
The cake looks yummy, but the basket behind would be my major distraction.
The idea of a simple but minimal table setting would be my approach, white accompaniments ( teapot with cup and saucer spring to mind), white table cloth and crumbs, would really put the focus on the cake. If you really wanted to include the knife, for me, it needs to be clean, set on a crisp white napkin.
22 Jul 2020 4:35PM

Quote:The cake looks yummy, but the basket behind would be my major distraction.
The idea of a simple but minimal table setting would be my approach, white accompaniments ( teapot with cup and saucer spring to mind), white table cloth and crumbs, would really put the focus on the cake. If you really wanted to include the knife, for me, it needs to be clean, set on a crisp white napkin.



Thanks for your comments. I think I will experiment with different surroundings/accompaniments the next time.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
22 Jul 2020 4:48PM
Janet (Chase) is a real expert with still life, and has significant ability with styling... What she says makes absolute sense.

Take it to the next level with a slice of cake that is more than a slice of life: make it fit for the cover of Mary Berry's next book...
22 Jul 2020 4:54PM

Quote:Janet (Chase) is a real expert with still life, and has significant ability with styling... What she says makes absolute sense.

Take it to the next level with a slice of cake that is more than a slice of life: make it fit for the cover of Mary Berry's next book...



The photos on her portfolio are stunning.
chase Plus
14 1.7k 411 England
22 Jul 2020 6:02PM

Quote:The photos on her portfolio are stunning.

What a lovely compliment, thank you.

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