Everyone wants to have good pictures of their cakes, but most of us aren't professional photographers. I'm lucky that most of the photographers who I've met are willing to send professional shots of the cake if you just ask them. I post pro shots on my website with a link to the photographer's site when I can get them, but sometimes you can't get a professional photo. If that's the case, how can you maximize your chances to get good pictures of your cakes?
I find that the two major issues at reception sites are lighting and ugly backgrounds. To avoid these problems you can set up a lightbox and photograph the cake before it's delivered. If the cake needs to be assembled and finished at the reception site, though, you'll have to deal with the lighting available there.
I asked a few pro photographers for some tips, and they came up with a few ideas. To address the bad lighting issue, David Abel of David Abel Photography suggests moving the cake near a window so that you have soft, natural light. He said that you can't get better lighting than that.
Eric and Debbie Miller of Miller Photography also suggest bringing a neutral white backdrop of some sort to improve the lighting and mask any unattractive things in the background. (How many times have you had to worry about the fire extinguisher or air vent in the background of cake photos at venues?) Even a trifold board like the ones that you use for school science projects can be used for this.
The Millers also suggest that other idea for dealing with ugly backgrounds would be to try different angles to see if you can avoid the background, or try shooting down low or up above so that the camera lens is more
centered on the cake versus what is going on in the background. Shooting closeups of the cake or using a setting on the camera that will blur the background of the photo would also help. This can also be accomplished by using the flash to highlight the cake and throw the background into the shadows.
They also suggest moving things out of the background if possible, then replacing them after you're done photographing the cake. And the last suggestion, if all else fails, is to use photoshop to make background items disappear! Just don't go too far and start working on the cake itself, it should be so great-looking you don't need to do that! ;)
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA