The baking portfolio, a photographic and textual representation of your work, is an all-important career tool for baking professionals including bakery owners, pastry chefs and cake decorators. It showcases your talents and makes prospective employers and customers crave more. A baking portfolio does not have to be elaborate, but each photo should observe basic photographic principles for maximum impact.
The Professional and Practical Portfolio
Baking portfolios can be as simple as a series of photos of your best cakes and pastries or a more extensive curriculum vitae of your entire culinary career. Le Cordon Bleu sees a cooking portfolio as your calling card to future career opportunities, with the photos presented being only one component of an overall portfolio. Other components of a professional baker's portfolio include award-winning recipes, references, certificates, training information and evidence of media appearances.
From a marketing standpoint, a baking portfolio can serve as a vital way to help potential clients find you. Posting photos of your best cakes and pastries on your website can act as an online portfolio. As Oregon home bakery Artisan Cake Company notes, photos posted on Pinterest, Facebook fan pages, Flickr and your own website can lead to valuable contacts.
Presentation and Photography Tips
You may not have the luxury of hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your cakes, pies and cookies, so you may have to take the pictures yourself. If you wield the camera, stick to some general rules for featuring baked goods at their toothsome best:
- Lighting: Go with natural lighting for your baked goods, notes photography website Smart Shoot, to avoid the overexposure of a direct flash. Use back lighting to bring out the texture and crumb of your pastries and cakes, while creating a sense of warmth.
- Composition: According to the Rule of Thirds of photography, an image is divided into nine equal sections by four lines. People's eyes tend to gravitate to where the lines intersect, rather than the center of the image. Working with this rule, avoid placing your bakery item directly in the center, but rather, along the intersection points.
- Camera Position: Cake education website Pretty Witty Cakes suggests capturing your creations from all angles, rather than one default position. For cupcakes, line them up in a row, and instead of shooting from above, take pictures from a side view to create a sense of an endless array. In general for baked good photos, take close-ups, where the food fills up most of the frame. Avoid close-ups that are so close you cannot identify what the item is.
- Background and Details: Experiment with your backgrounds by swapping out plywood covered with different wallpapers. Do not underestimate a tastefully chosen prop or serving dish to enhance the appeal of a dessert.
- Just-Out-of-the-Oven Feel: However you choose to present your images, you want to transport your viewer right inside your bakery or baking universe. Along with pictures of products or specialties, take some action shots of the baking process, so that the viewer can see the production side of the final creation.
- Make it easy for people to find specific products they may be interested in. For a custom cake website, for example, organize your portfolio photos according to theme, under headings such as "Anniversaries," "Baby Showers," "Birthdays" and "Sports." A lot of verbiage is not necessary for a photo gallery. The photos should speak for themselves. However, you may want to clearly state that the baked goods presented are examples of your company's own artistry, as opposed to stock photos.