Tips to take better pictures with your phone
New year, new goals
If you sell your cakes for a side hustle or even as a full time job, it has probably crossed your mind that you will need to take higher quality pictures of your cakes to attract higher end clients. Unfortunatly, you don’t have the money to keep a professional photographer in your back pocket to build up your portfolio and a DSLR is currently outside of your budget.
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In the meantime while you are saving for a DSLR, shooting with your phone is your next best thing. Developing new habits for how you shoot as well as learning how to style or prop your photos will be very helpful when you finally make the transition to DSLR.
Cameras on phones have come a long way and can produce some great pictures but that doesn’t mean that we can’t figure out a way to mess it up.
Things to start doing now to achieve better phone pictures
Chances are, you’ve found yourself in this situation. If selling cakes, cookies or sweet treats is your business, so is taking pictures of your creations.
It is 8pm, the evening before you are to deliver a delicious and beautiful creation to your client. You’ve been studying the color selection for days, did a little troubleshooting in your favorite facebook groups and even went out of your way to purchase specialty items to get your clients request just right. You are on top of the world and then your client contacts you anxiously wanting a progress picture to calm her fears . Quickly you make space in your cluttered kitchen and snap a picture and confidently send it to your client. Feverishly, she replies back that the colors are off and you’ve ruined her entire event! Oh the dread! You are looking at your creation and double checking it with the color selection provided as all of your confidence slips away. You know you have your colors right but your client remains steadfast in her claim. Bewildered, you haven’t a clue how to fix what obviously isn’t wrong. The truth of the matter is, the product isn’t wrong but the image the picture is conveying is and here is how to fix it.
If you’ve already sent pictures then this is best put into practice for all orders in the furure — if at all possible, refrain from sending progress pictures to a client before delivery. If a client is asking for such, they are letting you know that there is a low level of trust as far as your work is carried out. Take time to express to your client, without emotion and unapologetically, that they are in good hands.
Pay close attention to your white balance
White balance is the color balance on a camera, liken it to the way the camera understands reflected light. If you are taking a picture of a pink cookie in a baige room with yellow tinted light bulbs, your picture may display an orange hue . What you see as pink may come off as coral in a picture to your client because of it. Here are a few things you can do to fix it.
Make sure the light bulbs in the area where you take pictures are not colored. When chicking the specs on your bulb you may see a reference number that says 4100k, anything less than 4100k will produce a yellow hue and 5000-6000k will produce a bluish hue. These are the bulbs I use in both my shooting area and soft boxes
Paint your walls white and ceiling ( if possible) and no it doesn’t make your house boring! If you don’t have the time or resources to paint the room you are shooting in white, make sure you have lots of white foam boards to reflect white in your picture
Find the best lighting. Natural light is best but not everyone has a good source in their house. If you happen to have an east facing window, set up your shooting area there
Take advantage of the golden hour and the the blue hour. This will involve some planning on your part. The best light will be early in the morning, right before and after sunrise or likewise with sunset. Shooting at high noon is not only hard but also can cast unwanted shadows in your images
Get a camera light ring. While they don’t give off lots of light, they do help just a bit and also with your white balance as well as they cancel out competing light sources.
Get yourself a tripod with a timer. This way you can adjust your cake and composition without losing your positioning. Having a tripod will also reduce any shake in your picture
Give your cake some space
If you are styling your photo, start with less props and than add more, if it makes sense. I have found it harder to remove items from my stage when I start with them because I’d fallen in love with a vision. If I start with less, I have a clearer understaning of what I may need to make the picture look complete.
Don’t cram your cake stand or sweet treats to the back of your staging area. It is much easier to see creases and lines of the background and become a distraction. You want your piece to be the focal point so pull it closer to your phone instead of letting it fade into the background.
5. Think outside of the box
For the love of all things sweet, when taking your pictures, take your cakes/ sweet treats out of the delilvery boxes and cupcake holders. If you are aiming to attract higher end clients to your cake biz, your pictures will mean more than you know. Just weeks after I started to focus on the quality of my cake pictures I was putting out I was completely booked. Not just for weeks but for years! I say all of that to let you know, nothing will drive away high end clients like cake boxes and cupcake holders in your picture
Next time you get ready to snap a picture of your latests creation, consider these easy tips for a better image outcome.