Chocolate Raspberry Cake - Instagram

I baked this delectable chocolate cake with raspberries, whipped cream and chocolate buttercream. (You can watch the video of me making this cake at the end of this post – below)

As I was planning for the final pictures, I thought of taking pictures of the same chocolate cake in different settings. And hence, this post…

This post is a bit long for educational purposes. I wanted to show, in detail, how each shot was composed and how the same cake could look so different just by changing a few small things around.

All of these pictures were taken in front of the same large window, facing west. The pictures were taken in the day time – between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The window let’s in a nice diffused light in the daytime, which gets harsher in the afternoon.

The camera I use is Nikon D800; the lens is a Nikon 50mm 1.4 G prime lens. All my post processing was done in Adobe Lightroom.

 

Before we start, I want to show you a few of my prep-work images.

At first, I thought of using a diffuser, however, it flattened out the way the pictures looked so I decided against it (plus the sunlight was not direct so I didn’t have harsh shadows to worry about).

Diffuser

 

I used a white foam board for the white (light) images to reflect light back into dark areas.

Foam Board

 

Before I brought the cake to start taking the shots, I ironed and prepared the different cloths I might want to use and I tested them. In addition, I tried to see if different cake stands and plates would work.

I mounted the camera on to the tripod and tethered the camera to my laptop so that I can see the shots as I take them. I use a 3-meter tethering cable…just in case I need space. In addition, I setup my remote trigger.
Remote Trigger
Tethering

Test Shot

 

After a few test shots, I started!

 

1. White on white

ChocolateRaspberryCake-004

  • White cake stand
  • White background
  • White cloth draping from the backdrop covering the base of the cake stand

Details of shot

  • Time: 10.00 a.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/80th of a second
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • ISO 250
  • Light Direction: Sidelight from the left.
  • Angle of shot: Eye-level
  • There’s a white foam board on the right side of the cake (opposite the window) to lighten the dark shadows on the right side of image.
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a remote trigger to take this shot.
  • The camera was tethered to my laptop so I can instantly see the image.

 

2. White and Pink

ChocolateRaspberryCake-010

  • Pink Cake stand
  • White background
  • Pink cloth draping from the backdrop up to the base of the cake stand

Details of shot:

  • Time: 10:17 a.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/80th of a second
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • ISO 250
  • Light Direction: Sidelight from the left.
  • Angle of shot: ¾
  • There’s a white foam board on the right side of the cake (opposite the window) to lighten the dark shadows on the right side of image.
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a remote trigger to take this shot.
  • The camera was tethered to my laptop so I can instantly see the image.

 

3. White and Pink (2)

ChocolateRaspberryCake-016

  • Pink cake stand
  • White background
  • Cake stand on the center of pink tulle crimped on both ends with crystal napkin rings

Details of Shot:

  • Time: 10:30 a.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/60th of a second
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • ISO 250
  • Light Direction: Sidelight from the left.
  • Angle of Shot: ¾
  • There’s a white foam board on the right side of the cake (opposite the window) to lighten the dark shadows on the right side of image.
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a remote trigger to take this shot.
  • The camera was tethered to my laptop so I can instantly see the image.

 

4. Pink Overhead View

ChocolateRaspberryCake-019

  • Pink cake stand
  • Pink silk cloth under the cake stand

Details of Shot:

  • Time: 10:34 a.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/80th of a second
  • Aperture: f/5.0
  • ISO 800
  • Light Direction: Side light from the left
  • Angle of Shot: Overhead
  • There’s a white foam board on the right side of the cake (opposite the window) to lighten the dark shadows on the right side of image.
  • The camera was handheld.
  • I did not use a tripod or remote trigger for this image.
  • Because I wanted the cake to be in full focus, I decreased the aperture (increased the f-stop number) to 5.0. In addition, I had to keep the shutter speed at a number that was ‘safe’ for taking handheld pictures without the risk of a blurry image caused by camera shake. Therefore I kept it at 1/80th of a second. Most photographers say that you can go as low as 1/60th of a second without risking camera shake but I wanted to be on the safe side. Had I taken this shot without making any other changes, the image would have been underexposed in an unrecoverable way. Therefore, I had to raise the ISO to a comfortable level – in this case, 800.

(Keep in mind, even if it is daytime and you are directly in front of the window, the light from the window will only help you if you know how to work the settings. )

NOTE: This image shows a clear example of how Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO complement each other. When taking shots in Manual mode, make sure you understand how these 3 work together.

 

5. Pink and Black

ChocolateRaspberryCake-040

  • Pink Cake stand
  • Black backdrop
  • Black background
  • Black tulle draping from the backdrop around the cake stand, crimped with a crystal napkin ring

Details of the Shot:

  • Time: 11:17 a.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/8th of a second
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • ISO 200
  • Light Direction: Backlight
  • Angle of Shot: ¾
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a remote trigger to take this shot. As you may have noticed, the shutter speed is slowed down, so taking a picture without the tripod and remote trigger would have been impossible without camera shake thus resulting in a blurry image.
  • I brought down the blinds behind the backdrop to give a moodier look to the picture. The blind on the left was halfway down so light could seep in through the left side of the image.
  • There’s a black foam board on the right side of the cake to prevent any extra light from the right side from seeping through

 

6. Inside of Cake

ChocolateRaspberryCake-042

  • Pink Cake stand
  • Black backdrop
  • Black background
  • Black tulle draping from the backdrop around the cake stand, crimped with a crystal napkin ring
  • 2 slices of cake have been removed to show the inside of the cake

Details of Shot:

  • Time: 11:24 a.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/8th of a second
  • Aperture: f/3.2
  • ISO 200
  • Light Direction: Backlight
  • Angle of Shot: ¾
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a remote trigger to take this shot. As you may have noticed, the shutter speed is slowed down, so taking a picture without the tripod and remote trigger would have been impossible without camera shake thus resulting in a blurry image.
  • I brought down the blinds behind the backdrop to give a moodier look to the picture. The blind on the left was halfway down so light could seep in through the left side of the image.
  • There’s a black foam board on the right side of the cake to prevent any extra light from the right side from seeping through

 

7. A Slice of Cake (Light)

ChocolateRaspberryCake-047

  • Pink Cake stand
  • White background
  • Pink cloth draping from the back
  • Shot is of a slice of cake on a white plate with a silver fork

Props used are:

  • Coffee in a white coffee cup
  • Another slice of cake on a white plate with a silver fork
  • Napkins under the coffee saucer
  • The remaining cake on the cake stand (the slices have been removed and the inside of the cake is visible)

Details of Shot:

  • Time: 12:40 p.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/100th of a second
  • Aperture: f/3.2
  • Light Direction: Sidelight from the left
  • Angle of Shot: ¾
  • ISO 200
  • There’s a white foam board on the right side of the cake (opposite the window) to lighten the dark shadows on the right side of image
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a remote trigger to take this shot.

 

8. Slice of Cake (Dark)

ChocolateRaspberryCake-066

 

  • Pink Cake stand
  • Black backdrop
  • Black background
  • Black tulle draping from the backdrop around the cake stand
  • Shot is of a slice of cake on a silver plate with a silver fork. The remaining cake and the cake slice are all in the frame giving a more zoomed-out look

Props used are:

  • Another slice of cake on a silver plate
  • Raspberries scattered around
  • The remaining cake on the cake stand (the slices have been removed and the inside of the cake is visible)

Details of Shot:

  • Time: 1:11 p.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/125th of a second
  • Aperture: f/2.0
  • Light Direction: Backlight
  • Angle of Shot: ¾
  • ISO 200
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a remote trigger to take this shot.
  • I brought down the blinds behind the backdrop to give a moodier look to the picture. The blind on the left was halfway down so light could seep in through the left side of the image.
  • There’s a black foam board on the right side of the cake to prevent any extra light from the right side from seeping through

 

9. Slice of Cake (Dark) – Close-up

ChocolateRaspberryCake-080

 

  • Pink Cake stand
  • Black backdrop
  • Black background
  • Black tulle draping from the backdrop around the cake stand
  • Shot is of a slice of cake on a silver plate with a silver fork. It is a close-up shot of the slice bringing the focus on that one slice of cake (a more zoomed-in look)

Props used are:

  • Another slice of cake on a silver plate
  • Raspberries scattered around
  • The remaining cake on the cake stand (the slices have been removed and the inside of the cake is visible)

Details of Shot:

  • Time: 1:15 p.m.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/125th of a second
  • Aperture: f/2.2
  • Light Direction: Backlight
  • Angle of Shot: Eye-level
  • ISO 200
  • The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a remote trigger to take this shot.
  • I brought down the blinds behind the backdrop to give a moodier look to the picture. The blind on the left was halfway down so light could seep in through the left side of the image.
  • There’s a black foam board on the right side of the cake to prevent any extra light from the right side from seeping through

 

Hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at tuba@jarofvanilla.com

 

Chocolate Raspberry Cake – The video

 

 

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