Have you ever seen wedding cake photos on blogs and in magazines?
The wedding cake photos you see online and in magazines will almost certainly have been taken at a wedding photo shoot. But there are things you can take from them for your own wedding.
A couple of weeks ago I came blinking out of the house and into the daylight. We in the UK have been told we can go back to work as long as we still follow all the rules, which meant I could go back to the studio. Although I could have gone before, as I work alone there, I had been extra careful. But last week I had good reason for going back, and it was to meet with the lovely Helen Chapmen for a ‘lock-down photo-shoot’ to get some wedding cake photos for her blog. Helen is a wedding photographer based in Devon. We have worked together before on a wedding photo shoot you may remember me blogging about at Bicton Park Botanical Gardens (beautiful and worth a visit when they are back open)
Helen had asked if she could come to Clovelly to take photos of some of my display cakes I keep down there. Although Clovelly is still very much closed, my studio is up top in the main car park. So we didn’t need to go into the village or near anyone. There was just the two of us, and I doubled as assistant (those big reflectors have a mind of their own!)
It was great to be back in my happy place/work space. But it did feel strange with no visitors. No bad thing at the moment though, and it meant we could get outside to make the best use of the area immediately around the studio. And of the beautiful weather. We were able to find the perfect backgrounds for each cake.
The backdrops to your wedding cake photos is very important.
Sadly this is something that is often overlooked. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve set a cake up at a wedding venue and there’s a radiator, light switches, fire exit, plug sockets, fire extinguisher in the background. And I just know they will be visible in the cake cutting photos. Or the cake table is in front of a window, which will mean the bright light can wash out the photos. Not to mention that this is a pet hate of mine, sunlight through windows, you might as well put your wedding cake in a greenhouse!
When you visit your venue have a think about where to set up the cake table.
Too often they seem to have just been plonked down as an afterthought. So take a few minutes to look at where would be a good spot, with a good backdrop, to set up the cake. And have the photos in mind when you do. Discuss this with the venues wedding coordinator, wedding planner or stylist.
If you’re having a very elaborately decorated cake, then a plain background might be best. You want the cake to stand out and not disappear into a busy backdrop. If the cake it a plainer white or ivory, then a darker background would help it stand out.
Doing wedding photo shoots a lot has given me the chance to see how photographers work, and how they place and arrange my cakes to get the best shots. I’m also lucky enough to have a few photographer friends too, who I can ask for advice on staging.
And this is something I would recommend.
Have a good chat with your photographer about all your ideas. There’s a high chance your photographer will know your venue and have shot weddings there before. So they will already know all the best places for photos, and where the best light comes from.
Even better would be to meet with your photographer at your venue and do a walk around with them (there may be a charge for doing this)
Also talk to your cake designer.
We stage wedding cakes week in and week out, so we know a few tricks. I’ve already mentioned my pet hate of cakes in windows, especially semi naked and buttercream cakes in high summer! (can we say hot mess??)
Another thing I often see is the cake table in an alcove or a corner of the room. While this is good for the safety of the cake, it won’t get knocked into for example. It also means you can’t properly get alongside the cake for the cutting photos. You end up crammed against a wall trying to cut the cake.
But back to the wedding cake photo shoot.
Something that I found very interesting was the time Helen took to make sure the light was just right. And the big difference the light reflector made, even though it was a sunny day. Now I know you can’t have someone wielding one of those at your wedding. But it is worth making sure there’s a good natural light source into the area you want the cake setting up, not bright sunlight though (see above.)
You’ll also notice that most of these photos have been taken outside. Wedding cakes outside is a whole subject by itself (I wrote about it here) Because these are all display cakes, they are much lighter weight and less fragile than a real wedding cake will be. But you can move a wedding cake outside for photos as long as you know what you’re doing. If this is something you think you’d want to do then chat to your cake maker. We will make sure we add extra internal supports, and give detailed instructions on how to move it. We might be able to stay and move the cake for you if that can be arranged (again there will be an hourly charge for this).
Photo shoot V reality
It’s important to keep in mind that the photos you see in any shoot are there to give you inspiration and ideas. They are not supposed to represent a real wedding necessarily.
For example it’s very unlikely that you would have a flataly of your stationary as part of your wedding photos. Those are there to showcase the stationers work, and the work of the other suppliers involved in the shoot.
What a photo shoot will give you is a really good idea of the quality of work of the suppliers, if they are your style or not, and help you decide who you want to work with for your wedding. They are also a great way to get a good feel for the style you can expect from the photographers involved. Do you like the way they have used light, or the way they have posed their models for example.
Top tips for getting good photos of your wedding cake
1/ Talk to you photographer about where in the room is best for the cake to be for them to be able to get the best photos.
2/ Chat to your wedding planner or stylist about setting up the cake table. Being creative with the table set up can be very effective.
3/ Make sure the backdrop compliments the cake, and doesn’t fight it for attention.
4/ Avoid harsh and direct sunlight. It’s bad for photos and very bad for the cake!
5/ Avoid dark corners too. Too much shadow will hinder the photographer, and you won’t see the cake at its best either.
6/ Make sure there will be enough room for you both to be able to stand comfortably beside your cake for the cutting photos.
Read more about Helen and our photo shoot, click HERE
To enquire about your luxury wedding cake, click HERE
Find out more about Clovelly, click HERE