I Am Baker

three quick photography tips


Food Photography Tips

I just have to preface this with, I think you already know these tips.  I think everyone already knows these tips.

There tips are along the lines of “DA” and “common sense” but when I started using using a DSLR everything about it was terrifying, and the photography was so overwhelming that these little details were completely lost on me.

The only reason I am sharing them here is because I did not know these tips until someone mentioned them in casual conversation.  But when they did, it changed my life!


Most DSLR camera’s come with a handy dandy little red dot on the body.  There is also a little red dot on the lens.  When you are putting a lens onto your camera body, if you line up the red dots they will fit perfectly into place.

How to insert a lens for a DSLR camera

As you can see my camera is a Canon, I have heard that on Nikon it is a white dot.

I did not know this for the first year of using my DSLR.  I would struggle with it every time! Seriously embarrassing.


I remember the first time a saw a professional change their lens out.  They put the lens cap on the lens first, removed the lens, then put the back lens cap on.  They looked at me and said, “It’s that back elements that matter, right?”  Yes, yup sure right.  I totally knew that!

How to insert a lens for a DSLR camera

I totally did not know that.  Here I was babying the front lens, not even realizing I was damaging the back with improper handling.

So now I make sure that when a lens is not on a camera there is a lens protector (cap) on both ends.  I also do not ever touch the back elements.  If there is dust or dirt, I very gently use a Q-tip or simply blow on it.


Ok, so this last one is more about shooting pictures than the mechanics of your camera, but it was one of those things that you hear and it changes everything about how you shoot.

I was watching a CreativeLive series and heard the photograph say, “Set up your shot, get your “hero” shot.  Now the fun begins.”  After he had gotten the picture he needed for the client, then he went in and changed angles, lighting, props.

When I did this for the first time, it totally opened up a whole new world of creativity and inspiration.  It’s like taking pictures suddenly got really interesting again.  I have found that some of the ‘after’ shots is what I use in my Instagram feed, as they tend to be my favorites.  I just like the fact that it’s a bit different, a bit more personal, and a lot more fun.


"marry me" cookies! So good, they will propose!

I recently posted these “marry me” cookies.  After I got the shot I wanted (a tall stack) I tried playing with it a bit.

Marry Me Cookies

This specific shot never made it to the blog post (although a brighter and sharper version did) , but as a photographer I got a sense of satisfaction in trying something new to me.

So there are my totally obvious tips.  If you are looking for some real photography tips check out these guys:

Food Photography Tips for Bloggers from Cookie + Kate

10 Items That Can Improve Your Food Photography from Pinch of Yum

Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography from Serious Eats

Tips for Food Photography from Pinch of Yum

10 Things I’ve Learned About Food Photography from The Pioneer Woman

Our Approach to Food Photos from smitten kitchen

I Am Baker

Food Styling Challenge: Pineapple and Coconut

Food Styling Challenge


The Food Styling Challenge is all about showcasing talent for styling food. I have asked 12 amazing bloggers to pick any chocolate cake recipe they want and style it anyway they want. The catch? They only have $25 to do it! Join us on the journey to see how they can transform a cake stand into a work of art!

Shanna, the awesomely talented creator of Pineapple and Coconut is the creative force behind Septembers Food Styling Challenge. Have you been to her beautiful blog? Its full of delicious and healthy recipes. She also includes a page dedicated to Food Photography… and man is it gorgeous!

Today Shanna is sharing with us a beautiful Chocolate Vanilla Tuxedo Cake with White Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream. Visit her site for the FULL recipe and extra tips and tricks from Shanna!  I hope she spills on where to get that cake stand.. its a must have!

Chocolate Vanilla Tuxedo Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Buttercream #foodstylingchallenge

Did you find the Food Styling Challenge to be easy or difficult?

Both. I love baking and decorating layer cakes, especially HUGE cakes, but it seems I never take many pictures of them. They are always for an occasion such as a birthday or anniversary so I make it and we dig in. Well only after I snap a few pics for Instagram that is. So this really challenged me to think about styling and photographing it they want I wanted to best represent the cake and my photo style. I am still trying to figure out what that is exactly. I am drawn to more artistic food photos, light and darker moody ones, I love backlit photos and food styled in not a typical manner. This challenge really pushed me to think past just having a piece of cake on a plate but to be more artistic.

Chocolate Vanilla Tuxedo Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Buttercream #foodstylingchallenge

Was the spending limit a challenge?

Only when I realized an antique mall wasn’t the place for me to find something for the challenge. I couldn’t find what I really wanted and one cake plate I found was $40 and cracked! So I headed to Homegoods and Cost Plus World Market and I found exactly what I wanted and spent $24.98! NO clue how I made it 2 cents under budget. But a cake stand for $12 at Homegoods was a major score. So were plates on sale and 10% off coupons.

Chocolate Vanilla Tuxedo Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Buttercream #foodstylingchallenge

What are your favorite props to style with?

I love all kinds of props from vintage items to newer modern pieces. I love a mix of both in the same pic. Sometimes pictures call for more props, some I love just letting the food shine and not cluttering up with too many props. I love different surfaces/backgrounds and have been experimenting with making some new ones at home with different media and textures. Such as faux painting, decoupage with wax paper, using plaster of Paris/joint compound to make a textured surface or even painting fabrics such as burlap and linen. I love the aged/chippy paint wood boards too, but I love having a variety. Plus if I don’t like them I can always paint over them.

Chocolate Vanilla Tuxedo Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Buttercream #foodstylingchallenge


What is your favorite part of the challenge?

Being asked to be a part of it. And having a huge cake in my fridge, who doesn’t like a lifetime supply of cake?? Actually I froze most of it, I really don’t need to eat cake daily. Maybe every other day. Also getting to be a part of an amazing group of bloggers in this challenge. I wasn’t sure how I was going to follow everyone that has done such an amazing job with it, but I think I held my own and did an awesome job with it.

Chocolate Vanilla Tuxedo Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Buttercream #foodstylingchallenge

Thanks so much Shanna! I adore this cake!

Feel free to join in on the fun and follow here:

Shanna Schad

Pineapple and Coconut

Blog – http://www.pineappleandcoconut.com/

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/PineappleAndCoconut

Twitter – https://twitter.com/PinaCocoblog

Google + – https://plus.google.com/118091720212863642160/posts

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/pineapplencoco/

Instagram – http://followgram.me/pineapplencoconut/

Bloglovin’ – http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/4443393/?claim=4mphybnsw9m

Stumble Upon – http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/PineapleCoconut

January-Dine & Dish
White Chocolate Cake
February-Verses From My Kitchen
Chocolate Cake
March-Inspired by Charm
Oreo Cake
Chocolate Cake from Tidymom
May-Family Fresh Cooking
ChocolatePancake Cake
June- Picky Palate
Double Chocolate Butterfinger Layered Cake
July-Raspberri Cupcakes
Food Styling Challenge: Raspberri Cupcakes
August- Savory Simple
Chocolate Espresso Cake from Savory Simple
I Am Baker

Food {Faux}tography

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?




I Am Baker

Food Blogging Etiquette



Something that amazes me is the number of new food blogs.  Every single day 100’s of people join the food blogging community and begin this fantastic journey of documenting the one thing that we all share… a love for food.

I thought maybe I could share a few tips for creating a successful, but more importantly, friendly food blog. 

Why is “friendly” more important then successful?  It is my opinion that you cannot attain great success unless you first choose to do it the right way.

1. Do not post someone else’s recipe verbatim.  Do post the directions in your voice.

You can certainly post ingredients exactly, but the directions should always be in your own words.  How did you prepare the food?  That is how your directions should read.  Even if you followed another recipes directions precisely, you should still share your experience in your words.  

2. Do not use someone else’s pictures without permission. Do take your own pictures.

In some instances you really just want to showcase someone else’s work. (if you are using their pictures, try to limit it to one) This is a wonderful aspect of the food blogging community and one that is encouraged!  However, always always always provide proper links back to the original blog.  If you really want to use someone else’s pictures, simply ask them for permission.  Most bloggers have a disclosure preference on their blog if you are unsure.  When in doubt, ask!
Even if you are not an expert photographer, people still want to see how you prepared the food.  It is your blog!

There is always opportunity to learn more about taking better picture of food. (Here is a quick tutorial)

3. Do not take credit for someone else’s work.  Do provide proper links and accreditation.
If you chose to make someone else’s recipe (which is not only common but expected) you make sure you are very clear with your readers about who provided your inspiration.  This involves clearly explaining where the recipe source originated.  If possible, try to include a link back to the creators website.  

If ever in doubt, just ask yourself the food bloggers Golden Rule, “How would I want to be credited if someone was using my recipe?”

I hope that these little tips can help you to not enjoy enjoy the food blogging experience, but help you to develop strong and long lasting relationships with other food bloggers!