Lighting Help: "Smash the cake"

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by nateMN, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. nateMN

    nateMN TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    My niece just turned 1 and my sister asked if I could try and do what they call "smash the cake" (baby in diaper and give em a cake... messiness ensues) vs paying $450 for a studio session.

    I agreed to do it and she knows this will be my first attempt at something close to studio-type shooting. I've read most the strobist info so I understand how everything works, but I'm looking for a little input.

    Equipment:
    53" white seamless roll (purchased for the shoot)
    1 - canon 430ex
    1 - vivtar285 (purchased for the shoot)
    2 - 43" shoot thrus & stands
    cactus V4s
    (I have gels too)

    I've been experimenting with both strobes on either side of the camera, same power, which gives me good lighting, but I was looking for any other suggestings/input that would work better. Bare flash? One pointed towards the seamless more to blow it out? Different power settings?
     
  2. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I'd use one off camera right as a mainlight and the other parallel to the subject (left of camera) as a fill/high key light ...

    These are a lot of fun for everyone involved and you can get a lot of great shots. I've done a few of these in my time and they are pretty simple to set up.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,795
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You could try gelling one flash and aiming it toward the background paper with the flash set to a relatively low power output, to create a colored backdrop. My suggestion would be to position the background flash at mid-back level, right behind the child's high chair,and use the flash set to a telephoto setting, to get a graduated fall-off look. If the cake has say, white frosting with pink adornments or yellow adornments, you could use those colors in your gel to harmonize.

    I think using two umbrellas, on on either side of the camera, might look a bit flat, lighting wise. I am assuming the use of a high chair, if only to keep the child confined to one area,and avoid having her crawl to the back of the seamless and crinkle it or knock it over. Most of the smash the cake shots I have seen have been done with the child in a high chair, which seems entirely appropriate for a 1-year old.

    One thing you need to watch out for when shooting a gel-fitted flash into a white seamless paper is called "wrap" or "blowback". Light can easily reflect back, toward the subject, and cause the hair and neck areas to take on the color of the gelled light. This is especially a problem if the background light level is strong, so you need to make sure that any gelled light on the background is not "too strong". Also, light coming from the umbrella or other sources can also affect the gelled background light if a lot of the main or hair light hits the background and dilutes the gelled light too much. This a problem mainly in small, cramped set-ups, and with only 53 inch wide background paper, you can not put the background "wayyyy behind" the subject, or the edges of the background will show.

    When working on half-wide or 53 inch rolls of paper, you can not really use wide-angle lensed very easily, or the edges of the paper will show. Instead, you need to be able to move the camera back a ways, and use a narrower angle of view focal length, like say 50mm, and not 18-35mm from closer range.

    Watch out for flying frosting!!!!
     
  4. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've done all of mine without a high-chair, BUT I had the luxury of vinyl drops that didn't crinkle or tear ...

    honestly, though, corralling the child is usually accomplished by the cake, as long as they have the cake you usually have their attention, at least for like 15 minutes.

    And Darrell is right, watch out for that frosting.
     
  5. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    16,062
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Location:
    Chesterfield UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Have you thought about a black back drop, using white it is best to have 3 lights 2 for the back drop and one for the subject plus a reflector to bounce some fill light, black back ground you could use one flash at 45% plus reflector on the opposite side and one from 45% behind high up as a hair light or low shinning up from behind or on a low setting on the backdrop on a low setting to give a bit of seperation
    This was lit with one large light http://gsgary.smugmug.com/photos/430391333_32JQ8-L.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  6. nateMN

    nateMN TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    That's what I noticed and am trying to avoid. I'm doing the shoot on Saturday and might play with it a bit more before then with maybe one main light and another just for the background to blow it out or gel? (I only have color correction ones - CTOs, Blues, and Greens)

    As far as the seamless only being 53" wide, would a it be bad to cut a section off and hang them side by side?

    I was planning on not using a highchair, just on the floor (less objects to distract the image). Would taping the paper to the floor hold up?
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
cake smash
,

cake smash camera settings

,

cake smash lighting setup

,
camera settings for cake smash
,
camera settings for indoor cake smash session
,
how to light a baby smash cake session
,
photographying a smash the cake lighting
,
settings for a canon camera for a cake smash
,
what camera lens to use for cake smash
,
what setting should i use in dslr for cakesmash