Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cupcakes and Cameras


It’s kinda funny to me that I started this baking blog last year to document my baking, and my most frequently asked question is, “What kind of camera do you use?” It’s especially amusing since I don’t really know what all the buttons are for. Actually, I keep the camera on automatic most of the time.

But, if you like my pictures and you’re interested in my camera, here’s what I use:

Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10MP
This is a great camera that comes with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. (Sounds impressive – if I only knew what it meant. Maybe I should read the manual.) It took me a while to give in to buying a real camera. I had been using one that fit in my pocket and I didn’t want one that I couldn’t carry in my purse. But, I finally gave in last year with only one regret… that I didn’t buy it sooner.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens
I use this lens 99% of the time. It gives my pictures what I call “the magic.” Actually, it’s some technical stuff about depth of field. But basically, it means things that are not in focus get really fuzzy. It’s a fixed lens, which means you can’t zoom, but it’s worth it for the effect.

Canon EF 12 II Extension Tube
Sometimes I’ll use this to get in really close on a subject. A friend gave it to me and it’s been great. Maybe one day I’ll step up to a real macro lens, but until then, this one is fine.

Lowel Ego Light
Since I like to take all my pics without a flash, that means I need good natural light to shoot by. And when that’s not available, I use this tabletop Lowel Ego Light. It’s really helpful for taking pictures at night. And it’s super portable so I can tuck it away when I’m not using it. One problem … I think I need two.

Camera Remote
This way I can actually be in some of my pictures.

Any basic one should be fine.

Camera Bag
This one is big enough for all my stuff and enough room if I buy another lens.

Other Camera choices:
Nikon D80 10.2 MP For the Nikon fans
Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12MP Upgraded version of my camera

Confetti Cupcakes

I originally bought the camera because I wanted to take better quality family photos. But lately, pictures of my friends and family have been replaced with of pictures of cupcakes. Character cupcakes, seasonal cupcakes, plain jane cupcakes, kids with cupcakes. I can’t stop. Sorry, guys. You know I still love you.

Here’s a few faves – and all with the 50 mm lens, of course.


Note: The first photo was taken with my Canon Powershot SD500.

emmasgemsvintage said...

Because of your post I just bought the 50mm lens for my Canon too! I don’t know much about my camera at all. Thanks for helping me choose a lens that will make my photos even better!Thanks!

February 26, 2009 08:35 AM
ivgotahalo said...

Ok.. i have a different kind of questions. What kind of progam did you use to make the collage in the middle of this post? I love it! And…do you know how much it was?

February 26, 2009 12:20 PM
courtney said...

Bakerella – LOVE the blog!!! I stumbled across it on a message board when I was searching for “baby shower treats.” I have made cake balls before and always screw them up when I dip them in the chocolate. Seeing your beautiful creations is an inspiration to perfect my skill :) You’ve definitely gained another follower!

February 27, 2009 04:23 PM
Bakerella said...

emmasgemsvintage – congrats. you’ll love it

ivgotahalo – Adobe photoshop. It’s pretty pricey.

courtney – welcome and glad you like it.

March 1, 2009 10:45 PM
Pink Martini said...

Wow! Not too many sites make me say this but “wow”. You have an artistic talent for hands on work and seeing things from that perspective. I have never heard of cake pops either and I have been around the baking block a few times. Always fun to learn something new! And you are so helpful and open to people. That is very nice of you. Really. :)

March 7, 2009 08:56 AM
Bakerella said...

Thanks for saying so.

March 8, 2009 02:54 AM
Lara said...

Love the site and the gorgeous photos – who knew cupcakes could be so astoundingly pretty?!

I was interested in your backgrounds/set-up for the cupcake photos. Neat to hear you use scrapbooking paper….now a request. Maybe sometime you could take a few steps back and take a picture of the setup of your photo shoots? Then I could get a better idea of how you accomplish these great pictures. I would really love to see it!

March 13, 2009 03:30 PM
Bakerella said...

Lara – maybe, but I’m ususally holding a light in one hand and the camera in the other.

March 13, 2009 08:48 PM
Kelly said...

Bakerella, your amazing!!!! Your work is divine! Your photography is inspiring, I adore your blog, I can’t get enough of your trip to PW’s and….you have time to reply to posted comments! You are a woman I look up to and can really learn from, thank you for all you offer freely on this blog, it truly is AWESOME!

March 14, 2009 04:36 PM
Layla said...

I <3 your blog, you inspire me ALL the time. Each time you make something, I want to try it too! You have great unique and creative ideas, <3 it.

I tried to play with the 2D but it didn't have the ruffle effect :( Do you have any additional how-to tips?

March 19, 2009 04:14 AM
Bakerella said...

Kelly – thanks Kelly. That’s sweet of you to say.

Layla – Next time I use it I will try and give better details.

March 20, 2009 02:18 AM
hélène said...

Your cupcakes are really amazing!! I love your blog!
I have a french blog and actually I organize a food envent about decorated cakes and cupcakes. I would be a pleasure for me I you want to participate!
Excuse my bad english.

April 7, 2009 10:12 AM
Richards Family said...

*Drool* Oh well, a girl can dream. Maybe if I try really hard to visualize the camera in my hand, the universe will align and zap me one! Until then, I’ll keep a napkin handy while I gawk at your site. Actually, its not so much gawking as smiling– happy rainbows and fond memories smiling– and then a little drool.

April 16, 2009 04:11 AM
rima said...

hello! i stumbled upon your site and i was glad i did. i love your baked goodies. by the way, i’m from the Philippines. a long way…i make chocolate lollipops as a small home business. i love your cake pop ideas. hopefully i can re-create what you do…wish me luck…keep up the good work and God Bless… Rima, Manila

April 22, 2009 04:33 AM
Shauna said...

I think cupcakes are my one of my favorite things to bake and frost. Do you have any tips for the perfect cupcake? I’m making jungle themed cupcakes for my son’s 1st birthday and I want the guests to be wowed!

April 28, 2009 12:56 AM
Grace said...

Hi Bakerella! :) I don't know how but I randomly came across your blog and I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for posting this info re: cameras. I've been debating for a while about whether to upgrade from my "small & fits-in-my-pocket" cam to a big "professional" cam. I'm leaning more towards Nikon, and maybe use the 50mm f/1.8 lens that you recommended… It's available for Nikon, right? I know very little about these big & intimidating cameras. LOL.

Oh and because of your blog… I created my own blog account and will hopefully get it up and running once I finalize my camera choice. (So I can take beautiful pics of my sweets just like you.) BTW Great Photos! I heart ur blog/site. :)

May 2, 2009 09:19 PM
chefmom09 said...

i also ran across your blog when i was done posting mine…. i love the pops.. i saw you on martha on my way out the door to work one day and did not write it down… you are awesome and i am doing some cupcake pops for mothers day at the bistro i work at… doing blue velvet with lemon cream cheese. white chocolate bottoms and bright bold colored tops… will post photos for you on sunday… you r awesome and inspiring to me

May 4, 2009 01:05 AM
Merissa said...

Thank you so much for sharing your camera and accessories with all of your fans! I am really in love with your creations and photography! Keep up the AWESOME work!

May 22, 2009 02:47 AM
cakedecorator said...

Wow, I love the Mom tattoo style cupcake, really impressed with the quality of the photos. I have a nikon, but desparatley want to upgrade to the Nikon D90, the close up quality is amazing- however seeing your results with the canon for cake deocrating needs, might make me change my mind!
cake decorator

June 8, 2009 07:31 PM
Shannon said...

Hi Bakerella, does that light you mentioned, is it a good substitute for natural light? See, my kitchen is smack dab in the middle of my house no windows anywhere close so I don't get any natural light in there so my pictures are always either yellow from light bulbs, overly light with the flash, or too dark… :/ So I am trying to find a good natural light substitute,

June 10, 2009 09:07 PM
Bakerella said...

It-s pretty good. Especially for the price and ease of use. I wish I had two.

June 14, 2009 03:46 PM
Anonymous said...

Aloha Bakerella! I just made a batch of cake bites and I have a new favorite treat! I used less frosting as it is so humid here in Hawaii, but other than that your step by step directions are fabulous!
Love the site and all the gorgeous pictures. I was wondering if you ever thought about using a close up lens? (sorry if someone already suggested this, not sure I read all the comments) They are a super cheap alternative to buying a macro lens, costing about $30 for a kit with three different strength lenses, +1, +2, and +4. I don't even know what the numbers means, I just know they work really well for taking pics of food. They are about the same size as filters and screw on to your existing lens. You can even use 1,2 or all 3 lenses at the same time. Check out B&H Photo on line. Hopefully they can do your sweets justice!
And I just have to say, mahalo for sharing all your talents! Just think, you are making people smile (and gain weight) all over the world!

June 23, 2009 11:32 AM
Lucy said...

LOVE this post! Thanks for all the great tips on photography!! I'm an amateur photographer and love to take shots of my food and others' as well! If you have time, check out – he has some great photography tips there and I've learned a lot from him.
I love your site -THANK YOU!!! xo

June 27, 2009 12:08 PM
Hair said...

Bakerella can you adopt me? I love your blog!!! Perhaps you have answered this already. I tried to read through most of the comments: So no photo editing software program? All your pictures are camera/lens magic?

July 7, 2009 09:33 PM
Bead Up said...

I actually am among those who e-mailed you with the same question, and really appreciated your reply! I MUST get me one of those lights you speak of – looks like that's the tool I need!
Thanks for sharing this :)

July 8, 2009 06:42 PM
Bakerella said...

Hair – Adobe Photoshop for cropping/downsizing/color correcting.

It's great!

July 8, 2009 11:06 PM
Gabriela said...


OMG!!! I love the "Coke Drinder Cupcake! It's totally awesome!

~ Gabriela ~

July 18, 2009 03:42 PM
Cakewalk said...

I apologize if I missed this part, but now that we know your camera secrets, what about your sets? I'd love to see photos of your cupcake "studio" and how you create your eye-popping backdrops.

August 10, 2009 05:11 AM
Bakerella said...

it's just my kitchen table and some scrapbook paper. Not too exciting.

August 12, 2009 04:04 AM
Jannell Leal Garcia said...

I love your blog and all your baking creations. I love how your posts are so colorful…what do you use for backdrops? THANKS!

August 23, 2009 04:56 AM
Bakerella said...

colored papers

August 25, 2009 01:00 AM
(defiant)conviction said...

first of all, love your blog :) everything is amazing

but do you use a special program to upload various sizes of your pictures and align them all creatively? maybe its a trick i never noticed with blogger.. but i keep trying to make mine look more like one of those picture frames with multiple size slots… and i fail :( lol

anyway if you have time to reply please let me know.. thanks so much!!

again.. your blog is such an inspiration :)

September 7, 2009 05:15 AM
Mary said...

I’ve visited your site quite a bit, finally today, I was going to email you and ask if you are a professional photographer or where in the world do you get your pictures. Then, I stumbled across this post of yours. Pictures are amazing, as well as your ideas! Thanks for sharing!

October 3, 2009 12:22 PM
Nikki Stoyko said...

You’ve done it. I am officially in the market for a 50 mm lens. After months of deliberating and trial runs, you have sealed the deal for me… a trip to the camera shop is in order I think!

October 5, 2009 04:13 PM
Kimbel said...

Ditto what everyone else has said. LOVE your photos. I’ll just toss out that if you end up with a macro that those lenses can be heavy and you might want to consider a heftier tripod…check how many pounds it’ll hold. I wore out two tripods before investing in a Bogan.

And B&H is a great place to order equipment from:

Thanks so much for your blog. I thoroughly enjoy it and am always happy to see an e-mail from you in my inbox. I always look forward to see what you’ve created now!

October 14, 2009 09:14 PM
Heather said...

I just discovered your blog and my FIRST thought was “wow! she has really great images! I wonder hoe she takes them” I worked as a designer at a grocery store, and was exposed to lots of food photography, hehe I don’t know much about the technical stuff either but I LOVE LOVE LOVE your images!

October 20, 2009 10:01 PM
areej said...

what i can say…
i love u..
really i liked u..
i wanna learn from u..

November 16, 2009 07:32 PM
lastcoursebykate said...

so helpful – thank you!

January 1, 2010 06:23 PM
lina said...

hi bakerella!
I LOVE you blog!! I’m a complete fan of yours. I was wondering if you could do a post about the “behind the scenes” of your photos. I mean ,showing how you take those pictures with the background, the settings etc… I’m completly amazed by them.

January 4, 2010 08:34 AM
Jennifer said...

Thank you SO MUCH for all that detail! I’m always wondering about “the magic” and you really lifted the veil on it! I can’t wait to get a “real” camera and get some pics like that. I ALSO want it for family pics so that additional tidbit was helpful too.

January 4, 2010 10:22 PM
Bethany said...

Thanks for all this helpful tips! Just got the rebel for christmas and I love practicing with it, but I too want the magic feel so i may just go buy the fixed lens! Thanks so much! I love your website (actually my co-worker and I love it and practice on our colleagues!)..thanks again!

January 11, 2010 05:49 PM
Patt said...

I visit your blog because of very cute pictures and I think you are very talented food photographer and very creative blogger. I love photograph too and have both Nikon and Canon.

It would be nice if you could write a few part of food photograph ,techniques,behind the scene shot sometime to inspire many people out here.

January 20, 2010 09:47 PM
Ruby said...

Hello Bakerella – I just came across your website and love it. I wanted to say how thoughtful it is that you post replies to “all” that post here, that’s very nice and not always the norm in the Internet world.

I just started on a cupcake craze about two months ago, I still can’t perfect my swirls though. I have the 1M, 2D, and 1G tips. I guess practice makes perfect.

I have bookmarked your site and look forward ot my daily fix of your gorgeous cupcakes!

My husband bought me a professional Sony DSLR camera with all the bells and whistles, but it was too overwhelming for me. I’m a point and shoot girl …LOL. But my cupcake photos certaintlyl don’t look anywhere as wonderful as yours!

I will try the scrap paper tip.

Question. How do you get the seamless effect if using scrap paper for the bottom and sides of the photo? It seems to be never ending (the paper)?

Sorry for the long post, I’m cupcake (and photo) crazed!

Off to make coconut cupcakes!

February 28, 2010 11:20 AM
Maggie said...

You are really a great photogrpaher. I think your a very artistic person.

April 5, 2010 02:11 PM
Heatherlyn said...

I have that camera only it has 15 megapixals. It’s fantasitc. Your lighting is great.

April 5, 2010 10:33 PM
Sabrina said...

Had to come see the lady I’ve heard so much about lately. You are AMAZING! I’m the daughter of a cake baker and I’m so looking forward to sharing your site with her. So creative! And I’m also really into photography. You do a wonderful job of capturing your food. The scrapbook paper idea! Stealin’ that one.

April 17, 2010 10:32 AM
Rosebud said...


April 18, 2010 09:50 AM

I have a shop of candy(candy store) in France in Lourdes and I would like to market your products. Can give me myself information?
Miss Robert
Phone: + 0033562941998

June 11, 2010 05:30 AM
Rita said...

Your pictures really are amazing. We just bought a Nikon for my cupcake blog, and we are happy with it. I believe if we had a different lense our pictures would come out even better. Maybe that will be our next splurge!

June 16, 2010 09:21 AM
Danie said...

The 50mm f/1.8 is pure awesomeness for under $100. IMO, one of the best investments anyone getting started doing this type of photography can make.

June 22, 2010 02:11 AM
Michelle said...

I love your blog I just found it! I am in the market to buy “grown up” camera :) so I can get the great photos of my 2 boys and the fun things we make.. seeing what you use is now what I want to buy!! the Canon Xsi the same as the Xti? And then if I buy the 50mm lens is that what I should use most of the time to get those great photos? thanks so much!! :)

October 17, 2010 08:00 AM
Michelle said...

one more thing now I am looking at the Canon that close to what you have?? and if I get it I should buy the 50mm lens and that is all I need to take fab pics?? lol I have no idea about cameras I know I just like great photos and I am so tired of my el cheapo camera that once i click it the “moment ” is gone, plus I want some great close ups like you get where it’s ‘fuzzy” in the background..what setting is that?? :)

October 17, 2010 01:30 PM
Colleen Steffen said...

I Love Everything You Do!! I Love Your Photography..I Want to hang your photos in my kitchen….question for you: how do you get the background of your photo to be a certain colour…do you set up backdrops?

October 21, 2010 11:44 PM
Colleen Steffen said...

i just read a little further up and see that someone already asked you the same question i no worries on responding to mine :)

October 22, 2010 12:11 AM
Izzi said...

You just made my day. You just combined my 2 fave things. photographing and baking. You also gave me a great idea. thanks!!!

January 1, 2011 09:19 PM
janell said...

what i would really like to know is HOW DO YOU MAKE THOSE CUPCAKES!? THEY LOOK SO GOOD!

April 1, 2011 12:08 AM
randi said...

I feel the same way about cupcakes and cameras! I have a long way to go to catch up with you. Take a look!

April 1, 2011 10:36 AM
Carsedra said...

I’m so glad I found this post, even though it was originally posted years ago, I really needed this. I’ve been trying to figure out how to take better pictures of my desserts especially since my decorating is improving and I’m getting more orders.

I don’t have the best camera, it’s not a bad digital camera (Samsung), it works. I can take pretty good clear pictures with the it but sometimes the lighting isn’t good and making the adjustments on my camera don’t always help. Then setting up the shoots are something I’m not good at (yet).

But I’m going to keep trying and see if these tips work for my little camera. Thanks for sharing!!

May 19, 2011 01:38 PM
Mashael said...

Wow it’s amazing ,I want to know how do u make the butter cream, I tried to make it ,but it doesn’t wort I want to make flower by it,but it doesn’t fixed??

June 17, 2011 06:42 PM
Rachel said...

I LOVE the cat two and dog, I also like the diet cola one.
You a really inspiration!!!!!!!!!

June 24, 2011 10:03 PM
Faith said...

Hi Bakerella,
I have a question, whenever i baked my cupcakes, the papercup then to become oily after baking. Do you have the same issue as well or is it just me?

June 25, 2011 07:51 PM
Rebekah said...

My two loves, cake and photography! :)

July 1, 2011 02:14 PM
nina said...

you should all try out
theyre a great company. i just bought my new camera from them. they have almost anything you would ever need. from cameras, ipads, they even have kitchen things!
and they have free delivery! i always use them!

July 18, 2011 03:46 PM
Ashley said...

Long time reader thouh I think this is only my second post, thout I can’t say for sure.
I’ve always loved your photos ae wondered what camera you used. They always come out perfectly lit and clear.
I’ve been waiting yearsto get my DSLR. Tuesday is my birthday and my boyfried is planning to get me my dream camera. A Nikon D3100 with a 18-55mm Zoom Nikkor VR Stabilization Lens.
Noidea how to us it yet but I’m goig to enjoy learning and I also hav advantage of being friends with a local photographer who agreed to teach me.

July 31, 2011 07:47 PM
Heather said...

I use a Canon EOS 400D camera with a 18-55MM lens and find that can give some great pictures – especially the ‘depth of field’ shots which Bakerella does so well – this is where you need the objects in the background to be blured. To do this put the ‘F Stop’ as low as you can – around F4.0 and you should get some great shots – make sure you use a stand or tripod though!! You can also use patterened backgrounds, like this one, if you don’t have multiple objects to shoot, as you can still achieve a nice effect:

Happy shooting!

September 2, 2011 08:55 AM
whoopie pie said...


November 8, 2011 03:38 PM
Maddy said...

I love all your cake pop book and all the ideas in it!! I made the turkey pops and DELISH!! Thank you :)

November 13, 2011 09:36 PM
Maddy said...

I use a digital but the pictures come out fantastic! I don’t know what it is but taking pictures of my creations is addicting! Thanks for your awesome ideas :D

November 13, 2011 09:41 PM
Grace Vaught (I'm 9!) said...

On Amazon your camera was 759.99$!

November 27, 2011 12:29 AM
Loveforfood said...

thanks for sharing your camera.

December 7, 2011 08:31 AM
una chica said...

no me salen -.-

December 10, 2011 08:01 PM
fa6o0ma said...

i loved the cute cupcake with the camera $.$

December 13, 2011 11:51 AM
fa6o0ma said...

hi , i am from united arab emirates

December 13, 2011 12:00 PM
Javad Amini said...

Looks awsome!!

December 26, 2011 12:09 PM
Megan S. said...

If you ever need a photographer I’m always here and ready. You can also easily bribe me with cupcakes.

April 17, 2012 07:46 PM
bea said...

hello! You’re such an inspiration xo | One quick question: does your camera has a built in anti-shake thingymajiggy (:

April 19, 2012 01:18 AM
Sabrina said...

Ciao sono uno più bello dell’altro complimenti

April 28, 2012 12:23 PM
ginger said...

Now I wont something sweet

July 7, 2012 03:51 PM
iHeartRuthie said...

Thank you, Bakerella. I love this post. It is and easy to follow!
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