Wedding cake pictures are an essential part of the venue, decor and details photos that every wedding photographer needs to deliver to the client.  But with the time pressures of a wedding, it’s tempting to settle for standard, boring wedding cake photos without taking the time to consider the creative opportunities.  To help, here are some essential tips to help you take beautiful wedding cake pictures that your clients will cherish forever.

Note that this article will focus on capturing the wedding cake itself and not the cake cutting event during the reception.  That information is housed in a separate article on cake cutting photography tips.

All images are provided by the photographers at Wedding Maps and used with their permission.

Camera Setting Tips For Your Wedding Cake Pictures

Try a Low Aperture to Get Beautiful Background Blur

Using a low aperture (wide aperture) creates a beautiful background blur, known as bokeh, which helps to isolate the cake from its surroundings. This technique draws the viewer’s eye directly to the cake, emphasizing its details and making it the focal point of the image.

low aperture Christora Osters Photo by Green Apple Weddings at 3rd Turn Oldham Gardens in Oldham County, Kentucky

Don’t Blow Out the Details!

When using flash or shooting in bright conditions, ensure you don’t blow out the details of the cake. Wedding cakes are traditionally white, which makes them easy to blow out, i.e. overexpose to the point of no recovery for the texture and details.  Be sure to use your highlight alert and/or histogram to make sure you’re not making this mistake.

foregorunds Stefani Ciotti Photo by Stefani Ciotti at San Dimas Canyon Golf Course in San Dimas, CA

Check your exposure settings carefully, and use the histogram on your camera to avoid overexposure. Retaining the cake’s intricate details is crucial for a high-quality photo.

Photograph as Part of the Scene in Couples Photos

Including the wedding cake in couples photos adds a unique narrative to the images. Position the couple near the cake, and utilize the cake as a central element in the scene. This not only showcases the cake but also highlights the couple’s emotions and the ambiance of the special wedding day.  See the example below.

as part of the scene, couples photo Andy Sidders Photo by Andy Sidders Photography at Addington Palace in London UK

Mind Your Backgrounds

The background in any photograph, including the backgrounds in wedding cake pictures, is important to pay attention to.  Let’s discuss a few things to keep mind.

flash Gretchen Troop Photo by Gretchen Troop at Spruce Mountain Ranch in Larkspur, Colorado

Photograph Against a Dark Background

Using a dark background in your wedding cake pictures can make the wedding cake pop off the background, drawing attention to its details and colors. This technique works especially well with cakes that have light or vibrant decorations, creating contrast that enhances the cake’s visual appeal.  See the example below:

dark background Michele Huntington Photo by 1836 Photographie at The Skyline in San Antonio, Texas

Photograph Against a Light or Neutral Background

A light background gives wedding cake photos a clean, editorial feel, like you might see in a magazine or product catalog. Ensure the background is uncluttered to maintain focus on the cake.  The baker of the wedding cake will thank you for the incredible pictures for their social media and marketing!

neutral background Danieka Photo by Picturist Photography at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sa lito, California

clean background light Andreas Pollok Photo by Andreas Pollok at Hambacher Schloss in Rheinland Pfalz Germany

Photograph with a View

If you’re photographing an elopement or at a venue with a breathtaking view, incorporate the scenery into your wedding cake pictures. Position the cake with the stunning surroundings in the background, creating a picturesque frame that tells a story.  Make sure you balance out your exposure so that you can see both the cake and the background.

view, elopement Vows and Peaks Photo by Vows and Peaks at Silverthorne, Colorado

cake at sunset with flash Adrian Ong Photo by Lets Make a Memory at Serendipity Garden Weddings in Oak Glen, CA

Find Frames for the Composition

Look for natural elements or architectural features to frame the cake within your composition. Arches, doorways, windows, mirrors, fireplaces, or floral arrangements can serve as beautiful frames, adding depth and interest to your wedding cake pictures. See a few examples below:

in a frame composition Belinda Philleo Photo by Belinda Philleo at Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier, CA
framed composition Leif Nielsen Photo by Roc Focus at The Strathallan in Rochester
perfect composition, frames James Nix Photo by Nix Weddings at Southern Charm Events in South Carolina

Foreground Elements – Shoot Through Objects for Interesting Compositions

Incorporate objects in the foreground to shoot through, creating layered compositions. Use elements like glassware, floral arrangements, string lights, candles, or even fabric to add texture and interest. This approach can lead to creative and captivating wedding cake pictures that stand out from traditional photos.

foreground bokeh Kelsey Sheehan Photo by Kelsey Sheehan at Grand View in Mendon, MA

Adding foreground bokeh lights can create a magical and dreamy effect in your cake photos. Use fairy lights or other light sources to create soft, out-of-focus light spots in the foreground.

foreground Kristin Cheatwood Photo by Kristin Cheatwood at The Laurel in Grapevine, Texas

framed, foreground Mauricio Urena Photo by Mauricio Urena at Amor Arenal Resort in La Fortuna, San Carlos Costa Rica
shoot through John Zhang Photo by Ether Photography

Get a variety of Angles of the Wedding Cake

Get in Close

Don’t forget to capture close-up shots of the cake, especially if it features intricate or unique designs. Focus on the details, such as sugar flowers, decorative patterns, or personalized wedding cake toppers. These close-up shots highlight the craftsmanship and artistry of the cake, providing a different perspective for the wedding album.  Remember the story telling formula of wide, medium, tight in all of your wedding photos, including wedding cake photos.

close up details Zack Bradley Photo by Zack Bradley at Edinburgh West in Taylors, South Carolina
close up details Cindy Brown Photo by Cindy Brown at Aska Farms in Blue Ridge, GA

Try a Top-Down View of the Cake

A top-down view can showcase the cake’s design in a way that traditional angles might not. This perspective is particularly effective for multi-tiered cakes or those with elaborate decorations or personalized messages on the top layer.

top down view Nina Larsen Reed Photo by Larsen Photo Co at Arapaho National Forest in Boulder, CO

Wedding Cake Lighting Options

Try Using Ambient Light

Ambient light can create a soft and natural look for your cake photos. This type of lighting is perfect for capturing the true colors and textures of the cake. Position the cake near large windows or in well-lit areas to take advantage of natural light sources.

ambient light Laurentiu Nica Photo by Laurentiu Nica at Hanul Andritei in Craiova, Dolj Romanuia

Try Using Natural Light for Outdoor Weddings

For outdoor weddings, natural light can be your best friend. The soft, diffused light during golden hour (just after sunrise or before sunset) can enhance the cake’s details and create a warm, inviting glow. Be mindful of harsh midday sun, which can create unflattering shadows and highlights.

natural light, bokeh, greenery background Shukhrat Kamalov Photo by Shukhrat Kamalov at Private Estate in Massachusetts

Try Using Flash Photography

In low-light conditions or during evening receptions, flash photography can help illuminate the cake. Use a diffuser, such as a softbox or umbella, to soften the light and avoid harsh shadows. Ideally, use off-camera flash (or a bounced on camera flash if OCF an option for you) to create a more natural and flattering light source.

with view, flash Paul Cooper Photo by PMC Photography at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego, CA

Conclusion

after the cutting Michelle Arlotta Photo by Michelle Arlotta at Treno Pizza Bar in Haddon Township, NJ

Capturing beautiful wedding cake photos requires a blend of creativity, technical skills, and an eye for storytelling. Experiment with different backgrounds, lighting techniques, compositional frameworks, and creative concepts to create stunning images that highlight the cake’s beauty. Remember to always keep the couple’s vision in mind and aim to tell their unique story through your photos.  For more information, you might also be interested in our article on Wedding Details and Decor.