Scroll through social media and you’re likely to come across a barrage of enticing-looking baked goodies from housebound folks turned talented, prolific bakers. Here are tips for making your treats look super tempting in Instagram snaps. We bet your friends and family will be double-tapping on them and placing orders in no time!
Experiment with Props and Lighting
Keep the composition of your picture curated and clutter-free. Use stylish plates and trays, and even your well-cared-for hands. Wooden trays and boards are great for conveying a rustic, home-made vibe, while vintage silverware or porcelain with fine details complement elegant confections.
Lighting-wise, unless you’re a photo whizz, natural light casts a soft, photogenic glow. If it is too bright, a sheer muslin curtain or a parchment sheet over the window can diffuse the light and make your cake appear heavenly.
“Natural lighting is always the best! Angles and backgrounds depend on the baker’s preferences. I tend to go for more minimalist presentations and warm tones. With cakes and other bakes, I prefer to keep it simple and focus on them,” says Levine Thio, founder of vegan-based home bakery Gratus, who works with a professional camera as well as her phone’s camera.
Add Some Style
While we aren’t sidelining professional expertise, you can elevate the look of your bakes with a few simple tricks. Toppings and garnishes, like a sprinkling of oats, seeds or herbs such as rosemary or thyme can turn savoury mounds of bread into a mouth-watering Instagram feed.
Alternatively, create edible art by topping the dough with tomatoes, other veggies or mushrooms before popping it in the oven. These can punch up the flavour, too.
For cakes and cupcakes, if fondant flowers are out of your league, think bite-size fruit, berries, edible fresh flowers, sprinkles and glitter for pizzazz. You could also introduce some non-cake decorations that add the happy to a birthday cake.
Also, drizzling caramel or white chocolate sauce over iced brownies and cookies will make them all the more drool-worthy.
Get Snap Happy
“We use a DSLR camera and our favourite props are natural things like fresh foliage and cut fruits,” says Elle Heng of Zee & Elle Cakes.
Of course, a professional camera does produce quality shots, but you’ll still need to learn skills to maximise its use. Thankfully, Instagram’s square frames are a little more forgiving when it comes to picture quality, and a smartphone with a good camera can deliver great shots as its settings let you play with focus, brightness, crops and more. You can experiment with different angles, from close-ups to overhead shots or ones at eye level, to find the right position and lighting. And try out photo editing apps to correct images.
But remember: with cake and other food photography, you’ll want it to look natural.
Must-haves for the budding baker
For novices who have yet to dive into the world of cake batter and sourdough starters, you’ll need quality bakeware and the right tools to get started on producing mouth-watering, Insta-worthy bakes.
“My go-tos are a mixer, a spatula, a weighing scale, a whisk and, of course, an oven. These are essentials for every baker. With these, you can make everything and anything!” shares Levine. Other handy tools include mixing bowls, measuring cups or spoons and cookie cutters.