Last week, I was contacted by a leading cake decorating magazine and asked to submit a tutorial for their Christmas issue. This isn’t something that I’ve done before and I was definitely nervous, but I do try to keep a ‘never say no’ mentality when it comes to cakey opportunities. As I’m not a business and don’t make cakes for clients, I have to embrace these chances to share my work or I will always just be the random dude that turns up to family occasions with ridiculously elaborate cakes!
It seems the turnaround for Magazine work is always very quick though, so it didn’t leave me with a lot of time to come up with my idea. Fortunately, I had been playing around with a particular Christmas cake design for a while already, so I decided to roll with that as my tutorial submission. Luckily the team loved my sketch, so we were a go!
Photographing food is always best in natural light and, as I work from 7am-6pm Monday to Friday, this meant I was restricted to shooting the tutorial over a weekend and really, to ensure I got my completed cake shots on the Sunday too, the majority of the work had to be done on the Saturday. I’m a fairly slow caker, so this would be a challenge in itself – I usually work on a cake for 2-3 days!
Roll on to the weekend and it has been one mad rollercoaster from start (waking up at 5am each day ready to get started as soon as it was bright enough) to finish. One of the other things I didn’t realise would happen when working on a cake AND shooting progress photographs was how much longer everything takes, so in addition to the fact I only had a day to pull this off, this was another time challenge. As it happens, I did have to carry on into the evening and so the lighting does change dramatically across my various progress shots – we’ll have to see if that is ok with the ‘boss’.
Now it’s done, if I’m honest with myself, the aforementioned challenges combined resulted in some elements that I wouldn’t normally be happy with, but without the option to redo, I had to simply make do. Would I put myself through it again? Possibly, but definitely not with quite such an elaborate design – my cake is three tiers, mixing both traditional and sculpted elements, it involves modelling, airbrushing, structuring and more. A total of around 100 photographs and almost 70 steps to follow! But I’m pleased that I did it. It would have been very easy to say no.
If the magazine is happy with my tutorial, then it is scheduled to be released in the November issue. So now begins an anxious 6 week wait, but luckily I have plenty of other projects on hand to keep me busy!