How do you photograph products to appeal to potential customers on e-commerce sites and social media? In this article, we take you through two ways you can photograph flowers and confectionery, each resulting in a different look and feel. (Photos by: Takeshi Akaogi, Edited by: Etica)
Cake and flower photography 101
When photographing subjects such as cakes and flowers, the key is to observe the item closely to determine the angle that presents the subject in its best light. The direction and intensity of the lighting is also very important.
Here are two looks you can use to photograph your confectionery/mini flower arrangement, each broken down into 4 simple aspects:
1. Intended look
3. Camera and lenses required
4. Shooting location & settings
Look #1: Bright and natural
EOS M10/ EF-M22mm f/2 STM/ FL: 22mm (35.2mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f2.8, 1/80sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
EOS M10/ EF-M22mm f/2 STM/ FL: 22mm (35.2mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f2.8, 1/60sec)/ ISO 125/ WB: Auto
1. Intended look: Bright and natural
2. Styling: Choose light, neutral colour tones for the plate and background cloth
3. Camera & lens: EOS M10 + EF-M22mm f/2 STM
4. Shooting location & settings: Keep the background simple. Use soft light from the window.
To ensure a clean, seamless look, iron the cloth that forms the background of your photo so that there are no visible creases. Pull all four sides taut and fasten them down, using tape if necessary.
Lighting: If you use side lighting, such as from a window, it will cause the subject to cast a shadow, which is great for making it look three-dimensional and natural. Not only so, the use of gentle, natural lighting also brings out the colours of your subject in a lovely manner. If the natural light from your window is too strong, you can diffuse it with lace curtains or blinds.
A:Diffused, soft-looking natural light from the window.
Shooting angle: From a slight angle above the subject, ensuring a good view of the entire subject.
Focal length: 22mm (35mm-film equivalent: approx. 35.2mm)
Aperture setting: f/2.8 (Captures the details of the subject that you want to showcase, but also creates a creamy background bokeh for a soft feel)
Look #2: Toned-down elegance
EOS M10/ EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f8.0, 1/60 sec)/ ISO 640/ WB: Auto
EOS M10/ EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f5.6, 1/60 sec)/ ISO 160/ WB: Auto
1. Intended look: Muted and elegant
2. Styling: Choose earthy, muted colours for the plate and background cloth
3. Camera & lens: EOS M10 + EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM
4. Shooting location & settings:
Shooting with a white reflector board
Lighting: Arrange the shooting layout so that you will be shooting in backlighting. This will make the outlines of the subject “pop”. The backlighting will cause the subject to cast a shadow towards you, so to ensure that details are not lost in shadow, use a white reflector board to reflect the light back. You may also use a lace curtain or blinds to diffuse sunlight from the windows and create a softer-looking effect.
A: Soft sunlight from the windows (backlight)
B: Use a white reflector board to reflect light onto the subject from an oblique angle, so that more details can be captured.
Angle: From a slight angle above the subject, ensuring a good view of the entire subject.
Focal length: 35mm (35mm-film equivalent: approx. 56mm)
Aperture setting: f/5.6 (Keeps the entire subject in focus and captures details well)
Tip: Use 1:1 aspect ratio for more impact
1:1 is the default aspect ratio used on Instagram, and is also frequently used on many social media platforms. It’s great for taking product photos since it does not include too much unnecessary background.
Here’s more about aspect ratios:
Camera FAQ #8: How Can I Compose Images to Make Full Use of Aspect Ratio?
Press the [SET], select [3:2] from the menu that appears, and then select [1:1].
For more ideas on product photography, check out:
Take Mouth-watering, Juicy-looking Pastry Pictures With These Light Control Techniques
How to Create a Sparkly Background with Bokeh Circles for Pretty Trinket Pictures
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Etica Co., Ltd. not only run photography classes under the name “Tanoshii Camera School", but also edit publications and plan media and events related to cameras and photography, with a focus on themes related to child care, animals and food. Their motto is "Photos make people happy!" and they are engaged in communicating the charm of cameras and photography.
As a photographer, Akaogi works mainly for magazines and writes books introducing photography and practical tips. He also teaches at photography workshops.