“Fake Bake” why I don’t do it all

I admire the makers and bakers, the ones who do the recipe development, test it, bake it until it is just right and then take amazing photos of their creations. I admire those that do the baking and shoot the food, I however find myself struggling lately. My energy is almost all used up just in setting up my gear and making my plans. The creative spark I have at the beginning of a project fades away by the time I’m done preparing the subject. It is for this reason that I fake it. For me it’s about improving my photography. I’m not a recipe developer or a food blogger, I take photos and give them away on Unsplash so I don’t need to show you my baking skills —I’m here to improve my photography skills.

For some of my shoots I purchase pre-made items. I keep American style pancakes in the freezer (Picard Pancakes), and purchase Bonne Maman Lemon Madeleines from the local grocery store. Are they as good? The pancakes, no way, the Madeleines aren’t bad, but home baked are way better. That said, I don’t think you see that in the photos.

These were made using pre-made American style pancakes.

These were made using pre-made meringue nests.

Many of my shoots with pies or pastry are made using pre-made dough.

Why then do I often make it look as though I made the crust myself? Easy answer is I wanted to tell a food story, one that people can use (my free stock photos). I also simply like the aesthetic for my portfolio.

For me photography is an important part of my healing process. I feel really good when I have completed a project, not directly afterwards —then I often feel completely exhausted. After the project is finished though I feel fantastic. Being on disability and not being able to work as a professional is something I often struggle with. So when I do these shoots, and upload them to Unsplash and Pexels I feel like I’ve contributed something that people will enjoy, and find useful.

Self worth is something that I don’t have a lot of. When I get an email from a community organizer thanking me for providing free photos that they were able to use in their newsletter, I feel that what I do is useful and am grateful that I can help. When my photographs get a lot of views, and are frequently downloaded on Unsplash, this reaffirms that my work is wanted.

"... if you are sharing the recipes and claiming to have baked it all, that's misleading. However, if you are just shooting for your portfolio, then store bought is not something to be ashamed of."

If cutting corners is helping me with my end results than I can live with that. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve styled a party, after doing it all; the baking, the invites, the flowers —all of it, and then have been too tired to get it all on photo. If you find yourself looking for subjects to shoot in food photography and don’t have the time or energy to prepare it all, it is okay to take shortcuts. I don’t think so if you are sharing the recipes and claiming to have baked it all, that’s misleading. However, if you are just shooting for your portfolio, then store bought is not something to be ashamed of.

Yes, I cook and bake!

Not everything we consume of course is store bought. I love cooking, and baking! It’s just very hard for me to plan shoots around some of the things we love so much. I am hoping to improve my skills, and be able to speed up my workflow. Maybe then I can fit the shoots in. I was even considering shooting just one good photo of our meals. Sometimes they are so colorful, and esthetically pleasing, it’s a shame I don’t share those with you!

What about you? Do you take shortcuts?

I’m curious as to your methods. Do you also take shortcuts, and would you be willing to share them with me and the other readers? If so, please leave a comment.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *