We believe manipulating lighting is the most important part of taking a successful cookie photo. Here are some easy ways to master this essential skill!
1. Use natural lighting at the right time of day. Take a look at what windows in your space give you the best light. This may not be in the kitchen - be prepared to move your cookie setup elsewhere. You may also want to check what direction your windows face. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer, your east and west-facing windows will get more light than your north and south-facing windows.
Indirect light is best, so a window with good, but not direct, sunlight is ideal. However, the shining sun can easily be softened by draping translucent paper or fabric over the window.
The time of day also affects light quality. Morning light will give your photos a fresh look. Shoot later in the day, and your lighting will be warmer and more golden.
2. Make the most of artificial lighting. Since it isn't always possible to get natural light indoors, moveable lamps are a huge help too! Using daylight bulbs in your lamps is a great way to achieve a very natural glow.
Soften and diffuse the light by covering your lamps in some tissue paper or thin white fabric. Use at least 2 lamps, placed relatively high to your subject, to reduce the shadows casted.
3. Use a reflector to enhance lighting. To enhance the lighting, position and angle a reflector opposite your light source to bounce light back at your cookie subjects. You can create your own reflector by using a large, moveable white surface (like foam board) or by attaching aluminum foil to a piece of cardboard.
4. Know your subject. Be sure to tap your subject when photographing with your phone camera. This adjusts exposure based on the subject and keeps the image crisp so that it'll stay clear and well-lit.
Also consider whether you're photographing a cookie spread or a cookie close-up. A spread should have even lighting all around, while a closeup can have more dramatic lighting to let that cookie's details shine.
5. Set up for a high contrast shot. Make your cookies POP by using a light-colored plate or background. This also helps your photo stand out wherever you post it, be it Instagram or your own site! Check out our post on photo backgrounds for more tips.
6. Give yourself opportunity to adjust and process. Don't hesitate to take a couple photos with slight variations and review them later. You can try different angles, set-ups of props, and even lighting angles. Then, you review them later to choose your favorites and adjust them in your post-processing application of choice (we like Snapseed, Pixlr, and Photoshop).
With A+ lighting, you'll be snapping show-stopping photos in no time. We'd love to see what you come up with - tag your photos with #cookiecutterkingdom to be featured!