Thursday, 7 March 2013

DIY cake smash! part 2 - the shoot

All the equipment that i bought for the photo shoot arrived in time, except that the transmitter/receiver combo didn't have a connector that fitted my light. Not to worry as hubby had brought one home for us to borrow as backup, so we used those instead.


In this photo which i took after we'd finished (you can see the blue icing on the backdrop!), you can see my 150cm octabox, which is attached to the Alienbees light and that is on a heavy duty stand. The light doesn't weigh much, but the octabox is quite heavy so needs a strong stand. I've also got my white backdrop up on hubby's backdrop stands. We only just fitted it in the room, it's 3m wide.

Not in the shot is my camera, a Canon 500d, which i used with hubby's f1.4 50mm lens. I had it set to manual mode, ISO 100, f4.0, 1/60. I'm slowly learning what these settings mean.

I took some photos of the cake itself while bub was napping, then took it away again. We waited a few minutes after he had woken from his nap for him to fully wake, then changed his nappy (we used a blue BumGenius for the shoot) and sat him on the backdrop, first with a few toys and then by himself. Hubby and i swapped places as photographer and assistant to try to keep Ethan interested, he was pretty good but did want to crawl very quickly towards the photographer!

When we put the cake in front of him, he was fascinated and it kept his interest for a little while as he gingerly touched the icing then looked at his fingers. He didn't really do much more than get icing on himself, which i thought would happen, and i was planning to help him grab a bit of cake for some more photos, but he started getting very upset and scratching madly. Poor boy was reacting to something, we're not sure what, but he had welts coming up so we finished the shoot then and took him straight in for a bath. The bath calmed his skin down and we decided we'd got some good shots from the day anyway, so we packed everything up. The good thing about him only touching the icing was the cake was still good to eat afterwards!

I really needed two more lights to light up the backdrop. It came out grey in the photos as we had the light set to expose bub perfectly, which meant the background was a little dark. It looks good still, but something to keep in mind.

The backdrop was easily washable, although i think there might be some oil marks from the butter in the icing. Not sure as we have it rolled back up and stored away again. I hope that once our house is built, i can have a studio semi set up in the garage. There's not enough room here to do that.

Once i'd downloaded the photos to my computer, i picked out the ones that had good focus (i'm still learning and bub moves so quickly!) and chose my 12 images from there. I then created an action to colour correct them (we had a slight magenta tint from the blind behind the backdrop) and increase the contrast slightly for more punch, photoshopped out the edges of the baking paper i had the cake sitting on (lots of people use plexiglass, i forgot to buy some) and cropped into a square. 

Then i wanted to create a template in Photoshop for the cake smash storyboard, so that if i do another of these shoots i have a template ready to go and it will save me a lot of time. I found a very helpful blog which started me off, and i pulled a few more ideas off the internet and ended up with a template i'm really happy with.


My first attempt had square edges, but i decided i liked the rounded look better so did another template. The grey squares then get overlaid with the photos, and the bottom rectangle was a longer shot of bub crawling away from the cake with icing all over his legs.