I know from what my students and customers tell me that many of you don’t actually READ my books per se, you tend to look at the step by step pictures and revert to the text only when you want clarification!! This means that when I plan the step by step photography for my books I have to make sure that as much as possible is covered in a visual form. For the creative colour cake book, I am currently writing I have been allocated 15 steps per project, which for most projects is fine, although I must admit for some ideally I’d like a few more!!
Step by step photography
Step photographs take a lot of preparation as the cakes are wholly or partially remade. Cakes have to be baked, colours have to be mixed and matched, lists have to be written and then everything has to be packed and labelled before it is transported to the shoot. In the past, I have always shot step photos in a studio on a large sheet of glass, but my publishers this time want to give my book a more lifestyle feel so we are shooting on location in a real kitchen.
Photography on location
In many ways being on location throws up more challenges than being in a studio with controlled lighting. As you can see above we had to rig up a light diffuser to prevent deep shadows from direct sunlight.
The beauty of location photography, however, is that photos can be taken from absolutely any angle, from above, below, one side or the other side, so artistically the shots can be much more interesting – how liberating!
Lifestyle photography adds interest
Lifestyle photography also means that backgrounds can be more interesting, hence the vase of garden flowers you can see in the background.
Wider angles are also possible, meaning the steps can show more information. In the example above you can see the buttercreamed cake as well as me rolling out the paste. This helps with the continuity of the steps.
Close-ups help to show critical details.
Photography takes time to get right
At the end of a long day it time to double check a few images before packing up. I do enjoy step photoshoots. Everything I’ve spent time planning starts to come together, it feels that the book is at long last real!
There is still a lot more work to do – three more cakes to create and more photoshoot days. I’ll keep you posted on my progress