A couple of years ago I had the incredible opportunity to work with professional food photography studio Welsh Studios out of Boise Idaho. The client was Idahoan Foods and we were filming a series of behind the scenes videos of the 4 day photo shoot in Teton Springs. I had never shot food before and it was fascinating watching the food stylist prepare, prod, sculpt, scrape, trim, shave, and sprits the various dishes into photogenic masterpieces. Food styling is an art and a science and it was clear we were working with a seasoned professional.
This experience gave me a new appreciation for food photography and the work that goes into making food look appetizing for advertising. Ever since, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at the craft.
Last weekend I decided to give it a go and I settled on trying something easy for my first crack at food photography. I searched the pantry and found a devil foods cake mix. I had seen a great image of thick chocolate being drizzled over chocolate cake so I thought I’d try and emulate that look.
After a little research online, I found a popular (and simple) recipe for chocolate ganache cake. So basically after you bake the cake, you let it cool while you mix up the chocolate & cream. Just heat the heavy whipping cream in a pot until it’s almost boiling and then pour it over a cup of chocolate chips. I added a chunk of butter and then stirred it up.
The viscosity quickly changes as the mixture cools, so it’s a good idea to have the cake and lights setup before hand. I put the cake on one of our nicer plates and placed that on a table in my studio. I placed a stained board behind the cake to act as background. I decided the most interesting composition was to shoot in portrait. From there it was just a matter of positing a strobe to give the most flattering light. I used my largest softbox and positioned it to the side of the cake. This light source is large enough and close enough to the subject to produce a very nice soft light while really helping the textures on the cake pop.
Once I was happy with the lighting and composition, I had my wife start slowly poring the chocolate mixture onto the cake while I shot a series of frames. I’m quite pleased with the result and excited to try something a little more complicated. Here are the final images:
Don’t miss a post! Please consider subscribing for more photography tips!