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The Wedding Cake

By colin
I don't know if this is a first for EPZ,(i.e a wedding cake) but I've been taking shots like this for a friend of ours who has her own cake shop. She adds these to her portfolio for prospective buyers; uses them for for her website and they've now been published in a flyer for a recent wedding fayre (fame at last!)
The lighting source is on camera flash, with fluorecent overhead lighting - far from perfect. I've set up using a long zoom to avoid burnout. Do you think the quality is good enough for the purposes above?
Comments / critique re lighting, set up, etc appreciated.

Tags: General

Voters: conrad, csurry, photo_monkey and 3 more

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maybe try a lighter background pink/grey/lilac

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PatrickSmith 11 1.2k 2 United States
18 Sep 2005 7:29AM
Hi Colin,

I think you have the right idea. It is a good arrangement and is clear and sharp. I just googled 'wedding cakes' and saw a bunch of them. Your's is as good as any of them. And the background is not busy but still in context with the glasses and all. Ask a bunch of women. They know more than me. But photos are very importand when choosing a cake. We looked on the internet at a website with photos before we decided on one.

deltafour 12 13
18 Sep 2005 7:40AM
You've made a very good job of this Colin. It's crystal clear and well composed. I believe the quality is fine for purpose stated.

colin 12 697 5 Scotland
18 Sep 2005 3:42PM
I really don't understand this site at times - 146 views and only three comments. I was asking for suggestions / critique but next to nothing !!
Thanks Stuart and Patrick - I can always depend on you guys for some feedback. Thanks for your mod, Ian. I agree about the background, but it is a very rough set up in a back kitchen area. I have adjusted some via PS
phil beale 13 1.5k United Kingdom
18 Sep 2005 4:47PM
Ok I have never taken pictures of cakes. But before looking at your shot i imagined taking it on a white background looking at 45 degrees down on it with maybe simple dressing around it white flowers (nothing to bold, just to make the link with weddings).

For me the background is to dark and imposing also the bottle is to strong an element, which distracts from the cake. Also where you have used a Flash it has reflected of the ribbon and base. Could you just use natural light from a window and use a reflector rather than using flashes. I find a square on shot doesn't show the cake to its best maybe an alternative composition looking slightly down on it.

Not sure if this helps, as I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to cake photography (some might say photography in general but what the hell).

Anyway hope my views might be useful. I'm of to practice on a Mr kipplings apple pie Smile

colin 12 697 5 Scotland
19 Sep 2005 1:13AM
Thanks for your comments Phil.
I have tried different angles, and dressings but for the main, the owner just wants a full on true representation of the cake. I have tried lighter backgrounds too, but in the example above, the cake would get lost, so we have tended to stick with a dark background for emphasis.As for the champagne bottle, yes, I agree it can overwhelm the cakes - less is more, and all that.
I appreciate your input - most certainly a reflector or natural lighting would be preferable, but unless we were prepared to transport 9/10 wedding cakes, its the back of the shop unfortunately - no natural lighting at all.
At the end of the day, the owner is more than happy with the results so maybe I should leave well alone.
What is they say, 'Don't give up your day job' (lol)
philwig 11 817 1
19 Sep 2005 2:26AM
It doesn't really do much for me. As already commented, the background is dark and to me the whole image is a little dark. There's all sorts of stuff reflected in the gold-coloured surround. I'm not sure about the composition. I'm not getting a sense fot the "cakey" quality of the cake - there's no texture I can see and it looks almost two dimensional.

I would look in a few cake brochures and see how they present the images there, then try to copy that. It would presumably be easier with dedicated gear, but you can probably rig something up. Flourescent light wouldn't be my first choice for anything; how about some nice ambient in the cake shop or something?

I note you're shooting at 1/60th. If you're using automatic then that will not use the ambient exposure; I'd use Av, select the depth of field you want, then let the camera/ettl do the other stuff.
akh Plus
12 1.2k 5 United Kingdom
19 Sep 2005 2:52AM
In my opinion I think that this is adequate for the purpose. This is quite a simple cake with no intricate detail so choosing a different angle would be of no benefit. For this particular shot I would adjust the levels slightly as the cake looks a bit on the dull side and crop a bit off the RH side. A slight sharpen may also help.

If you are going to be doing this on a regular basis it may pay you to look at some off camera lighting eg. flash with a soft box or some simple diffuser. Difficult to say as I have no idea how much space you have available to work in. For more intricate cakes you may need to get a bit closer to focus on the details which are going to be lost with the on camera flash.
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
19 Sep 2005 3:30AM
Thanks for your input Tony.
The cake above is actually ivory, not white, just in case this is making you think its dull. I agree, I could have cropped a bit on the RHS to balance it all. It has been sharpened, but not for this upload.
I appreciate your comments.

PS Ironically this has become my most viewed picture at 213 views !! In best Victor Meldrew voice:
"I don't believe it!!!!
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
19 Sep 2005 4:40AM
Sorry Phil, forgot to give thanks to your comments in despatches.
Yes, you're right about the reflections, etc - this was in a a kitchen area with shelving and produce around, in a fairly confined space - not ideal by any stretch.
In essence what we have is a trade off between convenience, cost and quality.
PatrickSmith 11 1.2k 2 United States
20 Sep 2005 11:30AM
Wow! 213 views? Well at east you have some interest! Maybe people don't know what to say. After all, it isn't a landscape, portrait, bird, bug, building or any other common category. Yes, I'd look at brochures, and it sounds like there are lots of technical issues involving lighting to deal with. It is a whole other world.
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
20 Sep 2005 1:01PM
Hi Patrick, thanks for taking time to revisit. I'm now up to 246 views and 2 clicks - an incredible achievement. I'm sure this means something, I'm just not sure what, although I've got a fair idea (lol)
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
20 Sep 2005 2:46PM
270 and rising......
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
21 Sep 2005 8:49AM
290 views !!! Will it get to 300??
21 Sep 2005 10:20AM
There you go Colin .... I saw your comments on Patricks picture ..... so had to come take a look! lol ... I feel sorry for you ... cos this really isn't that bad a picture ... tho I do agree that it is a tad on the dark side .... but under the circumstances that you describe .... well done mate! It is better than my landscape one .... by far! lol ... so lets sit and weep todgether shall we? Wink (joke) I like this anyway! so .... Click* from me! xx
LenLamb 13 105
21 Sep 2005 11:52AM
Hi Colin,

I'm also a Patrick re-direct!

My feeling is that your pic lacks impact. Needs something like a 'bursting out of frame' display such as I tend to go for.

My wife has just said scrap the champers and put in some pretty flowers. And she thinks the stand is too dominate.

Hope that helps. (At least it gets you nearer 300!)

colin 12 697 5 Scotland
21 Sep 2005 4:29PM
Hi Karen & Len
Thanks for your comments.
Karen you had to go a spoil my record for the site's worst pic - I'm now at 296 views and 3 clicks - a 50% increase !!!!!!
As far as I'm concerned there is a certain kudos in having such a highly viewed picture with no clicks. Will now have t push for 400 (lol) !!!
Len, I appreciate your honesty - the problem I now have is that I've printed out 10 x A4 prints and this boy ain't for turning. As I've said on this and the forum, I have done some different scenarios, using candles, flowers, invites, etc, but to be honest I've now given up the will to live and can't be bothered to post the others.
Thatnks for your input - but I've now decided to let this baby lie !


EDIT - 296 views and 3 clicks - just marginally over a 1% hit rate !
PatrickSmith 11 1.2k 2 United States
21 Sep 2005 5:06PM
LOL - Hey Colin, should I post a link to this pic asking people to 'view but don't click?' Maybe it can set a record!
My worst one is 8/83 and counting!
sabretalon 12 1.9k United Kingdom
22 Sep 2005 12:45AM
Just done a quick mod see what you think?
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
22 Sep 2005 2:02AM
Cheers, Glen. Like the treatment.
UserRemoved 12 6.2k 1
22 Sep 2005 2:36AM
Mod uploaded
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
22 Sep 2005 4:13AM
Thanks Mark. Subtle but effective changes.
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
22 Sep 2005 4:16AM
362 views: 3 clicks - how embarrasing!
PatrickSmith 11 1.2k 2 United States
22 Sep 2005 6:30AM
Funny thing is, I don't think it's a bad shot. I looked at wedding cakes on the web a couple of years ago and this one is as good as the others. Also, once a pic gets exposed to the general EPZ population, the clicks/view rate drops. Even on my best ones, once it gets into the 'most viewed in the last two weeks' page, only about 10% click on them from then on. Most just view.

PatrickSmith 11 1.2k 2 United States
22 Sep 2005 8:57AM
LOL - Hey Colin. I'm catching up!
I'm at 9/198 now. That's 1/115 in the past 16 hours.
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
22 Sep 2005 9:17AM
You've still got a bit to go Mr Smith - I'm now at 3 for 379!
Thanks for your support, and yes, I don't think its that bad either. I certainly didn't expect an RC, but by the same token wasn't expecting this level of public humiliation !Smile) Still, I remember an old adage I once heard -
"Love me, hate me, but please don't ignore me" - at least its being looked at, even if not appreciated. And anyway, it is only a photograph. Not earth shatteringly important.
starliz 12 1.6k 3 England
22 Sep 2005 1:33PM
mmmm 380 now nearly 400 : )

nothing to add really just being nosey.
PatrickSmith 11 1.2k 2 United States
22 Sep 2005 3:09PM
LOL - I'm at 9/217 now. You may end up 'winning' this one. And, I'm sure that you win for the longest thread of comments for a photo with 3 votes! I'll never look a a photo of a wedding cake the same way ever again.
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
23 Sep 2005 1:01AM
Wow !! 407 views, 3 clicks.

I'm truly honoured !!!!!!!!
LenLamb 13 105
23 Sep 2005 8:34AM
Wait a sec, wait a sec!

How many of those are your own?


PatrickSmith 11 1.2k 2 United States
23 Sep 2005 8:53AM
Congrats on #400! I'm fading fast at 240.

LOL Len!
Actually Colin has three other accounts, so well.. you know!

conrad 12 10.9k 116
23 Sep 2005 10:44AM
Made you a little mod, Colin. Hope you like it!

colin 12 697 5 Scotland
25 Sep 2005 3:08AM
Trying to muudy my good name Mr Smith - tsk,tsk dirty tactics indeed !!:-0
colin 12 697 5 Scotland
25 Sep 2005 3:08AM
You were having a laugh, Conrad. Weren't you?
conrad 12 10.9k 116
26 Sep 2005 3:13AM
... Wink ...
PatrickSmith 11 1.2k 2 United States
26 Sep 2005 11:08AM
LOL ..Oops... what?

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