Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday: Analysis Of A Wedding Shoot - Part 9; Cake Cutting

Cutting the cake by the bride and groom is one of the reception high points and should have thorough photographic coverage. There is usually a lot of paramount opportunities to capture some great action and reaction shots during the cake cutting festivities. Let me walk you through the steps that we take to be sure that we have a total coverage of the cake cutting event at the wedding reception. 1 -- We take several photographs of the cake by itself. This includes close-ups and detail photographs of the entire wedding cake. Many times the cake is illuminated with the spotlight or additional lighting at the wedding reception and we can make most of these images with our camera set on the tungsten mode and not use any additional lighting.

2 -- It's important how we position the bride and groom around the wedding cake for two reasons. First of all - to have a balance of the tonalities in the scene and secondly to get the best lighting on the couple as well as the cake. If I'm looking at the cake and I want my bride and groom on the right-hand side of the cake I would ask the groom to step in the first behind the cake table and then I ask the bride after in after the groom. As in the photo below I have a pleasant trio of balance between the white, in this case cream, wedding cake, the dark tuxedo of the groom and then the beautiful white wedding gown.

3 -- I always coax one image of the bride and groom, asking them to look back into the camera and smiling as I take two or three images. Once I know I've got the image I asked them just to go ahead and cut the cake.

4 -- As they're cutting the cake I am making several more images. I’m photographing close-ups of their hands on the knife as they make their first cut from the bottom layer of the cake. I may also capture some of their expressions that they make with each other as they are cutting the cake as well. What is equally important is to momentarily turn away from the couple and explore the guests watching them cut the cake and capturing some reactions from them as well.

5 -- After they cut a small slice of cake and place it on the plate, I may have to help by becoming a director at this point. I may ask them to step in front of their cake so all their guests can easily witness the feeding of each other or to jest help coax them along as to how to proceed. It's now time for them to feed each other the cake. Yes, I know, things can get a bit messy at this point but I don't see the messy cake feeding much anymore. The bride and groom each take a piece of cake and offer each other a bite. We are taking several photographs at this point. Once again we are surveying the attendees and capturing any other special reactions, giggles, smiles, ahhhh expressions..... that the guests may be offering during this special moment of the reception.

6 -- After they fed each other the cake, they may give each other kiss and toast with champagne. Keep the cameras rolling – it’s digital, every shot is free.
That pretty much wraps this part of the wedding reception. There are times as I said, that things have gotten quite messy. If they do you got another opportunity to get some great candids. But remember, that you are capturing the moment and the moment is a combination of the action of the bride and groom feeding each other the cake and the reaction of the guests should anything really funny happen.

I encourage you to develop a sixth sense about you. Know who is standing around – left, right, and behind you - watching the bride and groom during the cake cutting. Anticipate any reactions from those people as the bride and groom go through the motions. That way you're assured of a great series of images of the bride and groom at this wedding reception high point.

Hey everybody, that's it for me today. I'm going to see if I can flag down a snow plow truck to help dig us out ;~) See everybody tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday. See ya' then. -David


  1. Dave, once again, you floor me! I would have loved to see the bride and grrom in the first shot with the ceiling, but they probably would have been distorted....I am thinking to the right of the image....but oh heck, YOU ARE THE MAN!

  2. This is an area I struggle with a bit... not in the actual photos, but in the space I have to shoot these pictures from! At many weddings I do the cake is in a small corner, and I am quickly enclosed by guests taking photos with little room for myself to move around.

    Do you discuss this with the couple beforehand? Do you politely tell the spectators to step back?

  3. what a great result

  4. what a great result