2017-10-31

6 Tips: How to Take Better Baking Photos

For the past 12 weeks, the country has been gripped by baking drama of epic proportions courtesy of The Great British Bake Off.

It's the final week this week, where we'll find out who will be crowned the winner of the 2017 GBBO, or whether they've bitten off more than they can Choux.


Taken on an iPhone 6s - Copyright Francesca Turner

All this talk of Dampfnudels, Savarins, pastries, puddings and tarts has got us kneading to show off our greatest baking creations to the world, whether you're making a Schichttorte, or a good one.

We just loaf great photography and it's even better when it's got food in it, so don't be in a pitta despair, because we've teamed up with freelance food photographer Francesca Turner for her 6 tips to taking batter baking photos; follow these tips and your food and baking photos will be the Creme de La Creme whether you're using a professional camera or a smartphone camera.


1. Move Around


Shot on a Canon 5D Mark II + 100mm Lens - Copyright Francesca Turner

Just because it’s food, doesn’t mean it needs to be photographed in the kitchen. Always move around and focus on finding the best source of light. Find the biggest window you can with the most amount of light, ideally in a nice big, bright room, and pick your time of day carefully. Mid-afternoon or mid-morning tend to be the best times of day for quality of light.



2. Turn off your flash

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark II + 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens - Copyright Francesca Turner

If you’ve managed to find some good light then there’s no reason to be using the horrible smartphone LED flash. Flash doesn’t just make your photos look bad, it’s a clear signal to everyone in that nice restaurant you’ve just had dinner in that you’re trying to get a shot of your dark chocolate torte even in these dim lighting conditions. 

When shooting at home, a big window and some white card to fill in the shadows should be all you need. The hours of 10am - 4pm tend to be the best for light, but this does change seasonally. When the light is really harsh, for example at midday in the Summer, using a diffuser (a thin white sheet makes a great make-shift diffuser) can improve the quality of the light dramatically. 


3. Don’t over edit

Shot on an iPhone 6s - Copyright Francesca Turner

Instagram have stepped up their game when it comes to editing imagery since I’ve had it but I still stick to using other apps that are all free from the app store to edit my pictures before uploading them to Instagram. 

Apps like Snapseed allow for a lot of selective editing, which means my images don’t end up completely cross processed like some of the more harsh Instagram filters. Saying that, Instagram 9.6 now allows for specific highlight and shadow editing as well as sharpening and the ability to fade filters so they aren’t to over powering. There’s nothing worse than seeing a piece of food that should be white smothered in a blue cast.


4. Shooting from above 

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark II + 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens - Copyright Francesca Turner

It works, but make sure you’re getting the most from the food you’re shooting. It’s great for getting rid of distracting backgrounds, and if the rest of your house is messy no one needs to know from an overhead shot of your neatly arranged porridge, placed on the last piece of clear kitchen surface.

Do remember that shooting from above will also get rid of depth though. An over head shot isn’t great for giving an idea of scale. If you’ve just baked Schichttorte you’re going to want to shoot into the food from a 45 degree angle to show off those layers.


5. Don’t just shoot the final product

Copyright Francesca Turner

During the process of baking or cooking so many utensils are used that are picture perfect. That old hand whisk you’ve had for 10 years will look great snapped covered in whipped cream before you use it to sandwich your Victoria sponge. 

It’ll also make a great accompanying image to help tell a story about you’re bake and the process of making it.




6. You don't need to fill the frame

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark II + 100mm Lens - Copyright Francesca Turner

The food and the background are both vital elements to the image and both should compliment each other, so make sure you can actually see your background. Other elements such as cutlery, dry ingredients, cloth, human interaction with an element can all help to make for an interesting image but don’t over crowd the shot, make sure your food is still the centre of attention.

Francesca primarily shoots with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, all her overhead shots are taken using a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens as this gives you the flexibility to change the composition of the shot with ease and to work around your tripod. They were all taken mounted on a tripod at around 1/15th sec at f/8 or 1/30th sec at f/5.6 using daylight only.

View more of Francesca's work over at www.francesca-turner.co.uk


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