This last summer I was thrilled to be a part of a book project demonstrating cake decorating techniques. My job was to provide food photography for the book. There was no art director on site and no prop stylist so I was also doing art direction and prop styling for the photos. Over the course of a few weeks I got to photograph 40 some odd cakes and thousands of step-by-step images. I gathered surfaces, tabletops, backdrops and all sorts of props, and lined the walls of our shared studio/kitchen space. When I got the job the pressure of making sure that so many cakes look interesting and unique came down on me. I have tons of props, plates, silverware and the like. But for this I was going to need cake stands and lots of them, I was also going to need a metric ton of servers. I had a few weeks to prepare so I started to spend all of my free time online looking for deals. Amazon and eBay got a lot of use as did my prime membership. Every day several new cake stands and servers arrived, but I knew I needed more. It was all like a sick game of Brewsters Millions. A film from the eighties where the hero had to spend so much money as to hate the sight of money in order to get his inheritance. Before this, most shopping online was somewhat pleasurable for me, After, I was glad to be finished. Once everything was gathered together at the ready, the author, her assistant Leigh and my assistant Don and I worked feverishly in Philadelphia for several weeks. With so many cakes we really had to be creative to keep things looking fresh. We would gather cake stands, plates, silverware, knives, plates and backgrounds and props and try and figure out which combinations of colors and textures worked together. We tried to make every shot interesting and appealing. Everyone on set had ideas and were encouraged to chime in when something wasn't quite working or could be improved. Once everything was set up just right I would photograph from every conceivable angle, move things, take things in and out of the shot, fiddle with shadows all as quickly as possible so we could move on to the next cake. In the end I am quite proud of the results and can't wait to see the book in print.
As the author and designer finalized the book and I processed the files I was sad to find that a few of our favorite images didn't make it in. It was slightly depressing because they are some of the most ambitious cakes we did. I am glad that they will get seen here, by you, and in the end it will make a better book. All of the food styling was done by the Author Carey and her super talented assistant Leigh. I am fairly perfectionistic so watching the two of them work was a treat, they were like machines, fast, efficient, precise and most importantly creative. During the course of a food shoot of this size there are a million little issues that have to be worked out and they were unshakable. I had so much fun working on this and I can't wait to share more photos. For now this is a bit of a teaser.
If you are interested in finding out more about the book it is called Buttercream Basics by Carey Madden published by Robert Rose and it will be released March 22nd of this year. If you are in the culinary business and need food photography and would like a free quote or just to discuss options for promoting your product or business I would love to hear about it. To see more of my food photography portfolio visit www.danieljacksonphoto.com or contact me here.