week 12

Week (12) of cakes, cups and food photography made simple!

Cake news and fun, food photography

Last week saw a lot of tres leches (three milks) cakes and I’m just finishing off the last Strawberry tres leches cake … yum!  I’m delighted I’ll soon be joined by some lovely friends enthusiastically taking up the Tres leches cake challenge so we can have fun making this cake together!  Woohoo!

Come and bake tres leches cake with us! :)

Come and bake tres leches cake with us! 🙂

But man cannot live on tres leches cake alone so my stomach eventually requested ‘something different please’ and I gave it a trial lemon mousse raspberry charlotte royale which turned out to be delicious (must make another one to tweak!) and some fluffy savoury spelt scones, or biscuits in the US. Recipes coming soon.  Wait… biscuits?!

Biscuits and cups

Yes, biscuits.  Blogging is an education in US terminology.  When I discovered our British scones are sometimes called biscuits over there I was shocked.  I’ve recovered now but still not sure about ‘cup’ measurements as whenever I sense lack of precision I start twitching (joke)! 🙂  Though I don’t know what I’d do without my beloved weighing scales.I love my weighing scales!Admittedly I used cup measurements for the tres leches cake’s soaking milk as exactitude wasn’t required.  I might become a partial cup convert and have already chosen two cups to help me out – we’ll see where this goes!  Any advice from ‘cup’ people is welcomed!

Food photography made what?

I’m sorry I promised to make food photography simple.  I’ve only been trying to take proper food photos four months so offering ‘tips’ seems silly – I mean, what do I know?  Still, here’s a ‘simple’ list of advice I was given or picked up from some great blogging photographers.

  1. Always photograph your food in natural light. It could be near a window, on a window ledge or the balcony/garden.  You can use a white umbrella to diffuse direct sunlight.  Great advice given by professional photographer Sarah at Chilly Bella Photo Art.
  2. Make time for your food photography – an inspiring article at Cooking without Limits.  Expect to take a while setting things up and trying stuff out. Do research, play with your camera and check out other bloggers’ food photos to emulate.
  3. Take loads of photos.  Different angles, places, parts of food.  You can cut things or not.  Try zooming in on your food and leaving the background blurry.  Or take an aerial shot standing on a chair.  Play around.

    Zooming in and getting a blurry background on my black t-shirt!

  4. Vary your backgrounds to encourage diversity on your blog and make each subject distinctive.  One of many tips at a workshop by Carolina who hosted a photoblog event at la cocina de Carolina.  Also essential if you’re doing photocollages.
  5. Collect props like cheap antique teacups, wooden boards, lovely cake stands, and real or plastic flowers and plants.  Read Props for food photography at Cooking Melangery.

    Raspberry charlotte

    Plastic flowers and the glass of champagne tell the story of a celebration, maybe romantic!

  6. If you lack tables or backgrounds dig up clothes or other stuff.  I’ve used the usual tea towels but also a Desigual flowery raincoat, dress, tee-shirts, crochet blankets, a velvet fleece and my lace IKEA curtains.  No piece of material is too humble or colourful for me.  And something metal like a fork or cake server adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

    Using fresh fruit and a striking Desigual raincoat backdrop!  Aerial view.

  7. Tell a story:  with a background cactus for a Mexican dessert or lace for a traditional cake.  A table set for tea or breakfast.  Show the baking process.  Brilliant advice and examples are given by The creative mama and Sawsan at Chef in Disguise.

    This photo says have brioche for tea but also shouts Lili, you need to do a food styling course! 🙂  An ‘earlier’ photo.

    A British fruitcake on a homely crochet background, reminding you of a nice warm and cosy loving home. Hopefully! 🙂

    Trying to make ingredients attractive!

  8. Use apps on your mobile phone like photostatic collage and Instagram.
  9. Try picMonkey free version to avoid paying for Photoshop.
  10. Use retouch in your editing tools to ‘eliminate’ unwanted crumbs or holes.
  11. Large size photos look more stunning.
  12. Finally, if your food doesn’t look yummy in the photo take another shot.  Or leave it for another day and eat the food!  It’s a win-win situation. 🙂  Or take a bite out of your food – a popular technique used on foodstagrams.

Someone took a bite out of my macaron!

Hope some of that is useful for you and I’ll just ask you a question:  can food photography be fun?

Who’ll take first bite?

Fun but messy ‘food styling’!

A reader made this…

And here’s the latest contribution to the ‘lovely stuff you guys made from the blog’ sidebar gallery.  It’s from Claudette, aka my mum. 🙂  She made a really beautiful apple tarte tatin with Chinese five spices and tamarind juice instead of paste, and recommends Pink Lady apples, cooked a little longer.  The slices and cream look so pretty and delicious.  Now there’s a stunning photo and plate too!  Actually, can I have the plate please Mum?  Hee hee…  She also says she loves the maple syrup caramel.

A stunning Apple tarte tatin with Chinese five spices and Tamarind by Claudette

And on that five spicy note I’ll be off sweet reader.  It’s been nice seeing you again and I wish you a capital Magnificent Monday, Wonderful Week and Happy Baking, Cooking, Snapping and Eating!!!  🙂

P.S.  If you send me photos of stuff you’ve made they really don’t need to be arty or perfect, though so far they’ve been wonderful.  Anyway, I’m just happy to see what you’ve made! 🙂

P.P.S.  Do you have any more ideas about how to work on food photography and styling?

Posted by

Baking on Sundays with my French mum was a lovely part of my childhood. Later I experimented with baking books or internet recipes and did the pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Still trying out new recipes and inventing cakes with influences from all around the world, including some healthier ones. Yes, love cakes!!! Hope you'll love them too and have fun baking. :)

36 thoughts on “Week (12) of cakes, cups and food photography made simple!”

  1. I think you do just fine with your food photography Lili 🙂
    And I will make something you’ve blogged….. eventually. But when I do I’ll most def. send you a link to the pic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alba! Very nice of you to say my food photos are fine – will keep working on it but I think it helps that I love the subject (cakes!). And look forward to seeing what you make, whenever you have time.. am drooling in anticipation! 🙂


  2. A very funny and practical post, Ms. Lili. I guess I add to the confusion by often referring to dog biscuits as “cookies.” The Lady says she thinks of scones and biscuits as slightly different, but we’re not sure exactly how.
    She also says that a “cup” is 8 liquid ounces. American measuring cups usually have both the “cup” measurements (1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 3/4, 1) as well as the equivalent ounces and milliliters. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Albert!! I’m happy you like the post and yes, I am very confused by something called dog cookies!! (you really you don’t call them dog biscuits, huh?) Thank you also for the cup information – looks like I would need one of those special measuring cups. I don’t suppose you know whether 1 cup of plain flour is 125g or 136/140g? I’ve seen both answers on conversion tables. I hadn’t thought of liquid ounces before and I’m just hoping I can ignore those! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I call them both! Dog biscuits or just cookies. I don’t really care as long as I get to eat them. 🙂

        I am not sure about the flour, but I can ask the lady to weigh a cup and get back to you (we are out of regular flour at the moment).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree with you Albert! I would eat either a scone or a biscuit! Maybe not a dog one though… 🙂 Yes thank you, I would like to know about the flour. No rush. Whenever you have the flour and time… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ms. Lili, we are sorry for the delay, but I finally have the results of the Lady’s cup-measuring experiment. Here is what She says:
        I measured one cup of what is called “all-purpose flour” here (regular wheat flour, the one most commonly used in recipes). I measured in using what I was taught was the “correct” method: spooning the flour into a measuring cup and then leveling it off with a knife. That came out to only 120g–flour only, not of course counting the cup itself (we used our trusty electronic kitchen scale to weigh the results).
        I then measured a cup again, but this time just scooped the the flour directly from the canister using the measuring cup, and again leveling off with a knife. That came out to 129g.
        So depending on how the cup is filled, the actual amount of flour can vary. But I have a hard time seeing how one would get to 136g unless it was a “heaping (i.e., not leveled-off) cup, which is rarely called for.
        I don’t know if this helps, but I would think 125g would be safe estimate.
        Cups are so inaccurate!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Albert so much, to you and your Lady for taking the trouble to give me such detailed information. And with a nice scientific approach! It is very helpful actually as I didn’t know about the levelling out system with a knife and it explains the smaller discrepancies. The 136g is also a mystery to me now.

        I’ll take one cup to be 125g then. Sorted. Hurrah! Though I’m happy to know you have a trusty electronic kitchen scale too! 🙂

        Thank you again! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome and no worries Sarah! As you rightly said before, the important thing is that it’s a delicious cake and your family loved it. In fact, I forgot to put that tip in: Number 1. Make delicious cake! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the tips! I’ve recently discovered the importance of props and have just started looking out for odd pieces of this and that. Since I live in a small apartment, I foresee having big problems with storage very soon! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome and good luck with storing your new props!! 🙂 You have an amazing blog by the way and I have my eye on your rainbow cake – I’ve always wanted to make one! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You should give the rainbow cake a try. Initially I was worried that the cake will turn out dry and tasteless, but the recipe I used actually churned out pretty yummy cake layers. I have made quite a few using that recipe since. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great tips Lili and beautiful pictures
    I love reading your posts, you have a unique voice 🙂
    I loved the tip about using different types of fabric as backgrounds.. that’s part of the fun of food photography, you start looking at everything with new eyes! people see curtains, you see background 🙂

    Thank you so much for the shout out
    I deeply appreciate it

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments Sawsan! I’m happy you enjoy my posts! 🙂 And you’re welcome! Everyone will find your post and blog really useful for the photography and recipes. And yes, I think background fabrics (often my clothes!) are my favourite thing when doing food photography! 🙂


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