We have been having a lot of fun with The Big Night In Banana Bread Challenge for BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief. As you may know, my wife is a keen cook and decided to take part in order to raise money for this great cause (and because it doesn’t involve any running !) She baked a banana bread, donated £5 via https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/BananaBreadChallenge and challenged five others to do the same.
So if you are currently baking for the challenge, here are my top five tips to help you take a great photo.
Tip number 1 – Finding the right location
Photography is all about light, so finding the right location is key to taking a great photo on whatever camera or phone you are using. We’re having some great weather at the moment, so you may find that the light might be a little harsh particularly around midday and therefore create some dark shadow around your cake. Food looks great in diffused light and this can be achieved in a number of ways.
The simplest is either to find a location with good diffused lighting or diffuse the window light with a white bedsheet, voile curtain, greaseproof paper or even a shower curtain. All these will work, however I’m going to tell you a guaranteed place in your house which will work beautifully and that is the hallway! Open the front door and if you’re lucky enough to have a wooden or natural tiled floor you can set your cake up on a board and use the floor as your tabletop. Make sure you move far enough inside and the light should be beautifully diffused. This will also work well with a garage door or anywhere that gives you top shade from the sun.
Tip Number 2 – Composition and Angle
Before snapping away take a moment to think about camera angle and format of the image. For example, if you’re posting to Instagram Stories you will need a portrait image, and for your feed, you may want a square version.
The popular angles for food include:
Head on – This will work well for your banana cake but wouldn’t work so well for something flat like a pizza.
3/4 – the 3/4 angle will allow you to see the top and front of your cake and is one of my preferred shooting angles.
Overhead – Will only show the top of your cake and tend to work well with flat food such as soup and pizza.
Tip Number 3 – Telling the story with props
Now that you have found the right location for your shot you may want to think about adding some props to help tell the story. This is very subjective and my advice is to keep it simple. I think for the banana bread adding a few bananas in the background, maybe a tea towel or a knife will all add to the story.
Tip number 4 – adding some fill Light
Now everything is set check to see if you have any dark shadows that need filling in. The simplest way to do this is with a piece of white card or paper to reflect the light back into any dark areas of your cake.
Tip 5 – Focus on the detail
Finally make sure the camera is focused on the important detail, such as the delicious moist slices or the texture on the top of your cake.
Remember the goal of a good food photograph is to make you feel hungry and want to eat the cake. Lastly, ditch the filter, the best filter in my opinion is none.
Now it’s time to make a cup of tea and enjoy a slice of cake!