Cake Photo Snapper Beginner

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by robhullfury, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. robhullfury

    robhullfury TPF Noob!

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    Hi all first post on the forum my partner is starting a business doing cake decorating. The nature of the business means that photos sell cakes we are both novices with photography. We recently bought a Sony Cybershot DSC W55 I am looking for advice on what we need to take more professional photos. We bought a square photo booth on ebay wih various coloured back drops but the photos seem to come out dull. examples of this are posted below. we dont want to pay out lots of money on expensive cameras and equipment so any help would be much much much appreciated.

    i am clueless on lighting etc and places to buy from etc so any help in this area also settings on the camera would be good and some maybe basic explainations like what does iso mean etc

    sorry about lots of questions thanks guys and girls
    photos can be seen at www.cakesbyleni.co.uk/birthday.html

    thanks all
    rob
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    A light tent was a good idea...but what sort of lighting are you using with it?
    Are you using a tripod?

    It looks like your photos could be easily salvaged with a little bit of post processing.
     
  3. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Food photography is a specialty in itself. You might do better in googling food photography tips or something similar. As per equipment it depends on what you are willing to spend. Don't be fooled however into thinking if you have all the pro equipment it will reflect in your pics. You can still take snapshots w/ a $2K camera, and some can take very professional pics with a $20 Holga.
     
  4. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Big Mike. Use Photoshop to lighten up the whites and darken up the areas you want dark. You can also enhance the color and add filters to enhance the light.


    I took one that I thought the light already looked decent and spruced it up a bit in photoshop. I noticed that it wasn't very sharp and looked kind of grainy or something, so I was going to run it through neat image, but I saw that you had taken it at 100 iso at 1/50. Was this handheld? If so, that's not a fast enough shutter speed and will make your image slightly blurry. Personally I try to never shoot below 1/100 or sometimes if I'm pushing it and holding REALLY still 1/80.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. robhullfury

    robhullfury TPF Noob!

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    I took one that I thought the light already looked decent and spruced it up a bit in photoshop. I noticed that it wasn't very sharp and looked kind of grainy or something, so I was going to run it through neat image, but I saw that you had taken it at 100 iso at 1/50. Was this handheld? If so, that's not a fast enough shutter speed and will make your image slightly blurry. Personally I try to never shoot below 1/100 or sometimes if I'm pushing it and holding REALLY still 1/80.

    sorry i dont understand things like this anychance you can break it down into idiot terms lol i literally know how to point and shoot dont know how to best change settings accordingly etc. are there any tutorials etc available places?

    thanks again oh btw i have photoshop so might have to have a little play about on it to work out how to edit them best etc thanks agian

    rob
     
  6. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First off what do you think makes professional photos professional. 1 thing is pro gear and 2 is a professional photgrapher. Barring both of those you can get acceptable results with something like a D40 http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/494364-REG/Nikon__D40_SLR_Digital_Camera.html and a Nikon flash http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/323882-USA/Nikon_4802_SB_600_Speedlight.html with these 2 you can do much better than what you have produced with your P+S. Also as long as you are all official with the IRS on the income of the cake business (and of course you make enough) I imagine you could write an item like this off your taxes. A good place to learn some good lighting techniques (albeit for people not sill life) http://strobist.blogspot.com/ .
     
  7. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Since these pictures aren't going to be very large you don't have to worry about grain/noise so you can increase the speed of the sensor (ISO) to about 400.

    That will allow you to use a larger f stop (f 5.6) so your depth of field will be greater.

    Adjust the lighting so there is more on one side than the other so that the pictures aren't so flat looking.

    Use a tripod. Use a tripod. Use a tripod.

    To eliminate some of the distortion caused by being so close, take the picture from further away and crop it for the web site.
    Use an image manipulations software (Picasa [free]) to increase contrast and saturation.
     
  8. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Hi Rob,
    100 iso is how fast your "film" is. (I learned on film, maybe someone with better digital know-how can correct my use of wording). My 20D goes up to 1600 and it produces some "noise" or "grain" when using film.
    So, when I'm outdoors and there's enough light, I like to use 100 & 200 speed. And when I'm indoors and am trying not to use a flash, I'll start upping it to 400, 800, and 1600. But, obviously, you want to use a lower # with what you are photographing because you want it to look it's best. I think since cakes don't move around, you can just put your camera on a tripod and then use the slower shutter speeds to get enough light on it.

    One other thing that I was thinking is that it may be worth it for you to hire someone to take shots of your cakes. They will look so much better and in turn probably sell your cakes much easier. It'll also save you the time of trying to learn how to photograph:)

    Or, if you don't want to hire someone, what about asking if your clients if they are going to have a professional photographer at their event to share the images of your cakes with you. And, if you like them, ask the photographer if you can buy the image?
     
  9. robhullfury

    robhullfury TPF Noob!

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    thanks all i think firstly I need to play about with the settings on my camera and buy a tripod and some lighting for the photobooth ill have a look about and post some pictures up when ive had a go.

    thanks all
    rob
     
  10. WingedPower

    WingedPower TPF Noob!

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    Hi Rob, Wow... tasty cakes!
    [​IMG]
    Kinda echo'ing what others have already noted:
    1) tripod.
    2) more light.

    Okay, imagine the cake is the center of a clock. Your camera is at 6 o'clock. Optimally, you'd like to have a well lit light tend from both sides at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock with softboxes(2'x2'). Optionally, you can illuminate the cake from above with a 4'x4' or larger soft box, pointed straight down on the cake.

    Another option is to use a ring-flash on your camera.

    When you look at professional wedding sites where the cake is illuminated well, you'll notice that there are few shadows and the cake is well lit from a multitude of directions. This is accomplished with dome/tent lighting.
     

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