Food {Faux}tography

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I gotta keep it real here.  Food photography is tough.  I struggle with it every single time I do it.  I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I am totally faking it.

This is my favorite shot of a slice of cake.  When one person (whose opinion I trust implicitly) saw it they said, “Can I just tell you everything that is wrong with that shot?”

Yes!!  Please do!!  (Seriously, I appreciate all feedback!)  Because when I took it I didnt realize the back was blown out and that the fork placement draws your eye away from the cake or that my depth of field is way to shallow.  I just thought it was pretty.

So this is not a series on how to be a better food photographer.  Because clearly I know very little on that topic.  And there are amazingly talented people out there who DO know how to do food photography and styling.

Dine and Dish

What Katie Ate




Donna Hay

These guys are the real deal.  One reason that these folks speak to me is that when I see their pictures I dont think, “That is beautiful styling.”  I think,

I want to eat that food.”

They are so masterful with telling my eye where to go, where to linger, and what exactly it should be focusing on.

They just get it.

(I highly encourage you to check out those blogs… if you love their talent as much as I do, be sure to tell them!)

I am quite secure in the fact that food styling & photography is NOT my gift.  I DON’T get it.  I have taken classes, I have watched video’s, I have tried to flat out copy people. (always giving credit of course) Its just not. my. thing.

So I fake it.

One way I fake it is with props.  I tend to make lots of cakes so side plates are a big prop in my life.  I have many, many, way-to-many side plates.

And way to many cake stands.  But thats another post!

For this {faux}tography post I want to show you the power of a side plate.  I am not kidding you when I say that they can transform a piece of cake.

Things to look for:  In which picture do you think, “Oh, thats a pretty plate,” and in which (if any, remember I am not a pro) do you think,

“I must eat that cake!”











So does one stand out?

Look at how much a difference a red plate vs. a white plate can make.  Can you imagine if we added a glass?  Or a pretty napkin, or even the whole cake behind?  I have a hard time seeing that so I have to try and build as I go, a piece at a time.

So.  While I fully suggest if you want to be a great food stylist and food photographer, learn from the best.

But if you need to fake it like I do, try focusing on one prop.  Like plates.  Or silverware.  Or napkins.  And then build up your supply so that you can experiment and see what you prefer!

(Most of these plates were purchased at Thrift Stores and yard/salvage/garage sales.  One of these days I will take you shopping with me!)

Wanna know which one I like the best?

Plain ole white.

Did you have a favorite?







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  1. says

    you crack me up! i love everything about this post and to me it really doesn’t matter – I am always drawn to your cakes, your artistry, and your humor!

  2. says

    Hey, I think your pics look great! Great post though and love seeing all the photos with different plates. For me, personally, I like the rectangular white plate with the little flowers on the side. When I see that one, since the color of the flowers kind of “match” the color of the inside of the cake, it all looks cohesive to me so I barely noticed the plate at all, just the yummy cake! Great post!!

  3. Skye Malcom says

    I liked the plain ol’ white one, too!
    And by the way, the picture that you said was your favorite, but the “placement of the forks draws the eye away” – I didn’t even notice the forks at first!! In fact, most of the pictures you post have me wishing I had a piece of whatever it is (piece, ha! The whole darn cake!), then wishing I had a camera like yours.
    Either way, you are doing a great job! I look forward to your posts 😀

  4. says

    I think that you take such beautiful pictures, Amanda. Thank you for being so humble and real, though. I love writing, cooking, and taking pictures. But, I must admit, the photography part stumps me every single time. I have just decided that I do it all because I enjoy it…and there is beauty in that, too. That is what shines through in everything that you do – you are beautiful both inside and out.

  5. Jovet says

    I just ran across your blogs in a hunt for a lemon frosting recipe. I am very impressed both with your talent in the kitchen and behind the camera. I’m trying to not drool. Your photographs of your wonderful creations look very professional to me, and you showcase your subject very well.

    I know there are lots of “rules” and “techniques” for “proper” photography, but those are invented by people with too much time on their hands. Your favorite cake slice picture features the symmetry of the cake slice. Symmetry is an important aesthetic aspect, too. The two forks throw me off, but a fork to the side is a subtle break in symmetry to me since it’s not the focus of the picture. Never forget your own element, your own personality. Take pictures that you like and are happy with–let yourself shine through–and don’t worry too much what others think. You are way more talented and capable than you appear to give yourself credit.

    My favorite plate for the cake is #6, the translucent light tan one. I think its color gives a perfect contrast to the cake. But, that’s just my opinion. :) Keep up the great work!

  6. says

    I like the white too – it keeps your eye on the cake. But I have to say I also like the Red plate – it just made the cake look yummy!

  7. says

    So who says there is something wrong with the picture with the fork. Not in my opinion. I think everybody has their own opinion. Do you really like all pros pictures or are there certain styles you enjoy.

    I love the muted color ones and I must say I do prefer white plates. But sometimes other plates look great too. Have fun (which you are and you are very successful). I have fun taking pictures of my food, and I am not a professional nor do I have a blog (i don’t know how to set one up) but I have fun.

    Keep up the good work. BTY I made you rose cake and I had fun doing it. I did put a picture on your FB it is the pink rose cake shaped like a heart.

    Thanks for giving me ideas. I especially love your blog because I read the I A Servant part and I too am a follower of JESUS. Have a wonderful Resurrection Sunday. HE LIVES!

  8. says

    Oh wow- I love that first photo! My eyes went directly to the colored polka dots..maybe because I am a polka dot kind of girl? And is there any such thing as too many cake stands?? Umm…not in my world:) My favorite plate is the green one, but my favorite thing about the photos is that yummy looking piece of cake:)

    Jessie Lynn

  9. Platinum Rose says

    That’s really cool/interesting/intimidating how much a plate can change the look of the same slice of cake! I’m in your same boat…no food photography talent whatsoever.

    I liked the green plate the best (the very first one).

  10. says

    well I’ll say you are faking it super darn well – love your photos – and writing. Happy you are all doing well. Loved the cute picnic pics on your other blog..

  11. says

    Yes, agree with Carma, if only I can fake like you. =) I’ve still got miles and miles to go, so much to learn. What a huge difference a plate makes, noted. Thks!!

  12. says

    Hi! I don’t even know if you will get through your many messages to mine, but I wanted to say thanks for this post. I’m just starting out and trying to share ideas etc, but it is so important how images of whatever you share look. The internet is great but crazy at the same time. Thanks for the tips and sharing blogs that you admire too. I’m really enjoying your blog, it’s lovely and the concept is really sweet.

  13. Darcy says

    The blue one, 2nd one shown. The white comes in next for me. I’m ‘visually’ challenged in regards to artistic …. stuff.


  14. says

    Amanda, I just was looking around your website because I think you do a really good job of the photography of your cakes. I am not a food stylist, but I am a photographer and I came here because your Napolitan Rose Cake looked so delicious. The photo made me want to put my hand through the monitor and just grab it and smooch it into my mouth! 😀

    As for the photos on this page and my favorite plate? I think the round floral one would have been my choice. The white suits it fine, but feels very generic to me and the floral one brings a homey feeling of someone serving love on a plate; my grandmother would have used a plate like that. I also think the fork you used works with that plate in particular and has an old-fashioned feel to it. Sure you can’t go wrong with plain white but don’t be afraid to put your own personality out there. You are definitely not a generic person, let us see who you are.

  15. says

    Your photos are amazing!! To see that you doubt yourself made me feel so much better about my photography. I keep wanting to just give up. It is very hard. People keeping saying , ” your pictures are really pretty!” But, I can’t help but notice every thing wrong with the photos. I want the best professional quality. I keep reminding myself , ” …. just take it one [picture] day at a time.”

  16. terry says

    funny, i like the red. it brings out the depth of the chocolate, and the contrast with the frosting… ( don’t listen to me, i know nothing! :))
    thanks for your cheats/tips. i swear one day, i will start my own blog! you inspire me so often!

  17. says

    I just thought what a great looking piece of cake. I would like to have this for a party for my family. Isn’t that the idea of art – to inspire others. Your photo inspired me to click on it to look closer and to hopefully get the recipe…. I am inspired, as an artist – isn’t that goal accomplished and done!

    Your photo gave me a happy face today. Thank you.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing that! I think the greatest gift we can give is inspiration! I feel pretty humbled thinking that you found something that inspired you. :)

  18. Julie says

    I have to say that every picture I have seen of yours I say to myself, ” She even knows how to take great pictures – what CAN’T she do?”

  19. David says


    thanks for all of the wonderful ideas! My partner and I are planning our wedding and he is so excited to try some of your recipes.

    David and Paul

  20. says

    I like the white plate, too. I also like the second to last cake because the clear glass lets the cake stand out but the design also adds a little more interest to the shot. Of course, I’m the farthest thing from an expert, but that’s just what I like :)

  21. Linda says

    I gotta say that I actually preferred your original photo… yes I see what is “wrong” with it… but at the same time it is the straight on focus on the cake with the background bit blown out etc that makes me stop and look again… the focus for me was on the slice, not the fork or the plate…. just that slice of cake :) and I’m not hungry at the moment… or i wasn’t until I started looking at your blog and pictures of cake!!!!