For some couples, traditions are an essential part of the wedding day. And one such tradition that many couples simply need to have at their wedding is the cake cutting. But even though it’s one of the key moments of the reception and the wedding day, it comes with its own set of challenges. Whether it’s getting a good shot of your couple or getting the right lighting or the perfect backdrop - taking wedding cake photos does require some technical knowledge to take photos that will wow your couple. And that’s exactly what we are here for.
The Cake-Cutting Tradition In Weddings
Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @erinm_photography
The wedding cake is a tradition that has spanned centuries and is a significant moment between the bride and groom. According to Maisie Fantasie, creator of award-winning wedding cakes in the UK:
“Around 1900 years ago, the Romans began baking wheat and salt into small cakes to be eaten. During the ceremony, the groom would eat part of a loaf of this barley bread, and then he would break the rest over his bride’s head. This was taken as a sign of good fortune and a blessing for long life and many children. The guests would try and obtain a crumb for themselves as they too believed they would then share in the good fortune and future prosperity of the couple.”
Though time has passed and there have been changes to this tradition, most couples still take part in cutting the wedding cake, which makes the wedding cake photos a memorable part of their big day.
Wedding Cake Photography Tips
Lots of small details come together to make a wedding and reception party. Just as the bride and groom spend time picking their first dance song or the type of food they wish to have at the reception, they also spend considerable time deciding the type of cake and design they want. Therefore, while wedding cake photography may be challenging, the following shot list for wedding cake photos could make things easier for you.
1. Solo Shots Of The Cake
One of the most important wedding cake photos you will take is a solo shot of the cake before it’s cut. This photo helps tell the wedding day story. It also showcases your couple’s unique style and how they implemented it into their wedding day. Additionally, it’s also a great way to compliment the person who made the cake. In case you are looking to build a vendor relationship with the cake artist, this is a good way to do it.
Start by shooting from the front, so the photos show the layers in the cake and all of the details the couple chose for it. And then take some photos from far away. This will provide an overview of the cake and its location. Also, if there are any other dessert items around the cake, include those in a few shots too.
Think about when you capture the first dance. You mix up the angles to ensure you capture the bride and groom’s separate emotions. Apply the same to your wedding cake photography. Another wedding photography idea for beautiful wedding cakes is when you switch up your angle and capture the sides and the back of it. This will provide you with a variety of images, which helps to tell a complete wedding story for your couple.
Our tip: Use a long focal lens, such as a 200mm to capture the cake and its details. This will help you to make the cake the prominent subject and will showcase the accurate proportions of it. You can also blur the background if needed and still make the wedding cake the main focus.
2. Capturing Details
After you take a few photos from far away, take some up close. This will showcase the layers, as mentioned above, and the intricate details of the cake. There could be different cake toppers on the wedding cake; perhaps they have a traditional cake topper of a bride and groom holding hands, or maybe it’s a nod to the groom’s favorite video game or is the couple’s initials. Also, are there any unique wedding cake designs, such as flowers, bows, or symbols? These cake photography tips ensure you capture close-up wedding cake photos, so your couple can remember the choices they made for this moment.
Our tip: If needed, use a macro lens to capture the intricate details of the wedding cake. To get the perfect wedding cake photos, try to be mindful of your position. The cake should be the most important part of the image, so the angle and position are important aspects of this. Position yourself, so you are at eye level with the cake. You can still incorporate other details into the shot and keep the rule of thirds intact, while in this position. The key here is you make the cake the focus in the images you take.
Suggested Read: 10 Must-have Detail Photos For Every Wedding
3. Including Other Details
Since you already took a solo shot of the cake and captured its details, take photos of the details that assist with the cake cutting. These wedding cake photos include the knife, plates, and napkins. Similar to their choice in cake flavor and design, the couple may purchase (or borrow) these items to match their overall wedding theme and personal style. If the couple had anything engraved, make sure you capture this close-up so it showcases their (and your) attention to detail.
4. Couple Standing With The Cake
Before the couple follows the tradition of cutting the cake, have them pose next to it. Position them on the left or the right side of the cake (depending on lighting + space), and have them try out different poses. You could have them give each other a hug or a kiss or look into the camera and show off their big smiles, or if you have time, you could just try all of these poses and more! For a fun twist on a wedding cake photo, take a shot of the couple and their cake in the background as you pose them. If their cake topper is of a bride and groom, have them pose in the same position for a shot.
Our tip: Talk with your clients beforehand about this part of the reception. As you plan out the rest of the day with them and discuss their wedding timeline, let them know that you would like to have a few minutes with them in front of the cake before the festivities begin. The more prepared you are for the wedding cake photography part of the day, the easier it will be for you to capture the images your couple will love. Also, it will not come as a surprise to them when you pull them away from their guests to snap these wedding cake photos.
Suggested Read: A Wedding Photographer’s Checklist For Reception Photos
5. Cutting The Cake
While their family and friends watch, the bride and groom stand together to cut one piece of cake. Similar to the first dance, this symbolizes a significant moment for them as husband and wife. Document this as the couple grabs the knife to slice the first piece of cake. They will likely hold the knife and cut together, so you (or your second shooter) can get a few close-up shots to showcase this. Oftentimes, couples may not know the best way to cut the cake, so this can result in a few funny and candid moments between them, which is always a great addition to the wedding day photos. If time permits, set up a shot of the cake with the missing slice next to it. This will show a close-up of the outside of the cake and what it looks like as a slice.
Our tip: Be mindful of the uplighting in the room, especially if you plan to use flash to capture these images. The cake cutting images from the wedding cake gallery, as well as from the entire reception, should be consistent with your unique photography style. If you do decide to use flash, light from the side to ensure the light and dark areas highlight the cake in the best way possible. You can also use a gel or grid that helps you spice up the background and assist with the flash if needed.
6. Feeding Cake To Each Other
Once the piece of cake is cut, the couple will take turns to feed each other the cake. If you have a second shooter, be sure to have them focus on the groom while you focus on the bride. Shots of both of them during this moment are great, but there will also be looks of anticipation and excitement, as they don’t know if the other person is going to nicely feed the cake or smear it onto their face. No matter what your couple chooses, try to make sure you capture it so the couple can look back at these images and have fond memories of the moment.
7. Serving Cake To Guests
After the cake cutting is over, the guests get to try the cake. As the cake reaches the tables, before people sit down to eat, capture a few photos of the slices on the table. You have already shot the cake as a whole, so you can now get some detailed photos of how delicious it looks from the inside too. If you have the time, take a few shots of the cake pieces with the table decor.
Our tip: Whenever possible, throughout the reception, capture the wedding cakes pictures. If you have time, experiment with lighting too. You can capture candid shots of the couple or guests with the cake in the background. Once the cake is cut, you can also take candid shots of the guests eating and interacting with the cake on their tables or in their hands. This adds some non-posed shots of the cake into the images, which enhances the overall story of the wedding day.
Related Read: The Art Of Candid Wedding Photography: Tips & Inspiration
Just as you prepare for other parts of the wedding day with your couple, try to prepare as much as possible for the wedding cake pictures. From where the cake will be placed in the room to how the couple should pose with the cake - try to go through all the details with them, so there are no surprises or rushed shots on the wedding day. This may not be possible for every wedding you shoot, but for some, it can help you seamlessly shoot and capture the wedding cake pictures your couple will love. When you take the time to share the details of the wedding day through your photos, you provide your couple with memories for years to come.
Further Read: Wedding Photo Ideas: Inspiration From ShootDotEdit CustomersAt ShootDotEdit, we aim to take your wedding photography business to the next level! As we lessen your post-production workload by taking editing off your plate with our professional photo editing services, you can dedicate more time to other, more crucial aspects of your business. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.
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