Carrot Cake & Food Photography

I enjoy all kinds of photography. It’s a hobby that I’m passionate about and continues to challenge me in more ways than I ever imagined. I think my passion for photography stems from my father. He was an avid photographer during his younger years and was even a professional photographer for a short time after WWII.

chipmunk eating

Time to eat!

Although my dad doesn’t understand the technical side of digital photography, he certainly understands the concepts and workings of a camera. Even at 91 years of age, he and I are able to talk about things like aperture, shutter speed and depth of field. Yes, I’m very fortunate that dad still has a brain as sharp as a tack. And sharp enough to criticize my photographs 😏

From time to time, I’ll print out some of my blog posts as well as individual photos, and send hard copies to my dad. He loves these snail mail packages. After he’s had a couple of days to review the photos, he and I will talk about them via a lengthy phone conversation. Although his vision isn’t as sharp as his brain, he’s made his opinions very clear …. he does not like my food photographs.

Best carrot cake ever

Best carrot cake ever!

Well dad, neither do I 😆 Never in a million years did I think food photography would be so difficult and frustrate the heck out of me. Challenging is an understatement! Some people have a knack for cooking, food staging and making their images look appetizing and some folks don’t. We’ve all seen those less than stellar food photographs posted on social media 🤢

And then there are those who can compose in minutes and share a lovely shot … like my daughter, who manages to take awesome images with her phone and share on social media – Tea Party anyone!

Tea Party at the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree Arizona

My daughter shares great pics of food on social media. Here she is at the English Rose Tea Room in Carefree, AZ. We had a fun ‘Tea Party‘.

Yeah, food photography is much more difficult for me than I ever imagined. And to think, I thought bird photography would be more challenging … not! With birding and landscape photography it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Nature does the staging and lighting for you.

With food photography, I first have to make the food which in itself can be a challenging task in a RV. Then I have to find the location with the right lighting and stage the scene. Then it’s time to find the right angle. Geez, by this time, I’m ready to snarf down the food and screw the photographs. And when we go to a restaurant, I rarely think about taking a pic of my food. When I do? 🤮 Let’s just say, not worth sharing. Once again, I’m usually too eager to eat the food than I am on making a photograph of what was just served. I’ll leave restaurant photography to the millennial’s.

Eggs Benedict Bloody Mary

Eggs Benedict and a Bloody Mary

Oh well … I’ve never shied away from a challenge. So I’ll keep plugging away at the genre of still life – food photography … and Al will continue to suffer through the eating and drinking!

Wandering Wednesday Photo Theme – Food

For this weeks photo prompt … theme … inspiration, let’s share images of Food. Perhaps you have a favorite restaurant or recipe you’d like to share. I know I can always use a little food inspiration. So share and connect – leave a comment down below with a link to your blog or link back on your post. And if you have any secrets when it comes to taking great photographs of food … I am all ears!

Carrot Cake Recipe

If I’m going to call something “the best ever”, I think it only fair to share the recipe of this indulgent carrot cake that I make only once a year. Carrots may be healthy and low in calories, but cake isn’t 🤣 You’ve been warned … enjoy!

Indulgent Carrot Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Easy carrot cakeFor the cake
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
3 1/3 ounces unsweetened coconut (1 1/6 cup)
1 small can crushed pineapple (don’t drain)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula mix in carrots, coconut, pineapple with juice, and walnuts. Add remaining ingredients, mixing with spatula until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

With a hand mixer, beat together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Add half the sugar and continue creaming. Add a quarter of the remaining sugar and continue mixing. Once thoroughly combined, add remaining sugar a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Spread frosting on COOLED cake.

Recipe by Ingrid @LiveLaughRV.com

Wandering Wednesday – Ingrid’s Photo Inspirations

Each Wednesday I post a different photo prompt as a way for bloggers to share their love of photography and engage with other like minded bloggers. Perhaps this prompt will serve as a little inspiration for you to pick up the camera in search of a composition or a reason to go through your photo archives. Whether you shoot with your phone, a DSLR or something in-between, don’t be shy 🤗 share and connect! Post your photo anytime between now and next Wednesday when a new theme will be shared.

Upcoming prompts – Landscapes, Garden, Birds …. get out and shoot or peruse those archives!

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Items in my kitchen used to make the carrot cake (affiliate links)
 Rectangular Pan
6-Speed Hand Mixer
Silicone Spatulas

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101 thoughts on “Carrot Cake & Food Photography

  1. These photos are amazing. I totally understand about food photography being so hard. I use my phone and the lighting can be so hard to get right? I am dreading the winter when there will hardly be any day light for photos – it is hard to edit as well I find

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    • I found a great recipe made with almond flour and honey when I was following a Paleo diet. If I can find it, perhaps I’ll post that one. It was the closest carrot cake recipe to the real deal that I’ve tried.

      Liked by 1 person

      • YAY! thanks so much for looking Ingrid! If you find it send me the link for sure! How did you like the Paleo diet? Did you have positive results? I am really curious. I am half-way through a 10 day detox, but I want implement a life time of change so that my injured knee will be under less stress.
        Thanks for sharing your recipes. They look so delicious!

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  2. Wow! Your making me hungry! Would you like to join my blog party this weekend? It’s a great way to share who you are and get to know readers around the world! Follow my blog and I’ll see you Friday August 3! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hear you on staging food for photography and wanting to eat it more than take pictures of it. When I went to France I wanted to take lots of food pictures, mostly to record what I ate, and there were so many times I had the beautiful meals artfully paced in front of me and would only remember that I wanted to take the picture after I’d eaten two or three bite…ruining the presentation!

    I am very much looking forward to the day when I am done with the house so I can pick up my camera and start taking pictures again…pictures that are more carefully planned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do the very same thing – take a bite or two and then remember to snap a photo 🤦‍♀️ I bet the food in France was amazing.

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      • It was to die for but the thing I was most impressed with was their farmer’s markets. They would have a small square in the center of the village and there were huge glass refrigerator cases each filled with whatever they were selling. There were several with cheese, another with poultry, a couple with fish, another with sausages. Another vendor had cases of wines and another oils and olives. But most impressive were these huge four foot flat wok like pans that were filled with freshly prepared dishes. There were over a dozen of these and they were almost completely empty by the time I arrived.

        The major cities are surrounded by smaller villages. Each village has a butcher, a cheese maker and a baker as well as a produce and dry goods (food only) store. You walk to town daily for fresh supplies. All the restaurants only use local food and wines for their dishes. So each village may have slightly different dishes to offer, depending on what is growing near them.

        Their large grocery store akin to a Walmart was actually part of a shopping mall so you could do all your shopping in a central location. But packaging food is not done. Imagine walking into a Walmart and the whole back wall from sporting goods to baby clothes is bin after bin of fresh baked breads. All unwrapped. I’m guessing they have bags to put them in. We didn’t buy any when we went there.

        And if you are craving a good old fashioned American hamburger just stop over at McDonald’s for a burger and beer. Yep, they sell beer at McDonald’s.

        I could easily move there. Sigh!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Ingrid,
    I have this video on taking food photos
    32 Tips To Instantly Up Your Food Photography Game

    Would you mind sharing this with your readers if you find it informative?
    Have a wonderful day!
    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very creative and nicely done video. Unfortunately, videos without people don’t seem to hold my attention. Just saying and it’s probably an age thing.

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  5. Ingrid your food photos look fabulous to me! I will agree that food is very hard to photograph even when it is served in a restaurant. I think it’s wonderful that you and your Dad can chat about your photos. A special connection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least my cyber slice of carrot cake has zero calories. It’s when you make the carrot cake and eat it that the calories add up 🤣

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  6. Ingrid, I would be proud to call any of those food pics my own – I think you’re underestimating your talent, no matter what your Dad says! And I have to say, both the carrot cake and the blueberry oatmeal squares look irresistible! In fact, I think I gained a pound just looking at them . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awe, thank you Mary. Those Oatmeal Squares are always a hit when I take them to a gathering. So yummy and one of my faves!

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  7. Oh gosh, I have no idea how to take food photos, but your look good (and tasty!). Also, I definitely don’t have the patience to wait nor the props and staging requirements!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a whole upper cabinet in the RV dedicated to props (which I use), but I seem to lack the patience for the whole endeavor. So funny that I can sit for hours watching birds for the right capture, but ‘still’ photography won’t hold my attention. Oh well, it’s still fun but frustrating 😊

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  8. Since my food shots generally suck, it makes me feel better to know it is somewhat challenging. One of my biggest issues is that I’m never making the food to get a good shot but rather am taking a shot so I can eat the good food while it’s still hot, which often leads to using the flash.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As I’ve been devouring ‘how to’ books and videos on food staging and photography, it has been confirmed that there’s a lot more to it than a simple snap then eat. As a matter of fact, once the professionals are done staging, the food is usually inedible, which goes against my goals 🤣 Your food always sounds delish, so keep posting!

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  9. I agree, Food photography definitely isn’t easy. I’ve tried staging photos and snapping from all sorts of angles, but never with any success. I admire people who regularly manage well photographed food blogs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m with you, and have a great deal of admiration for those that can make the food look mouth-watering. When I’m in the mood, I do have fun with the challenge.

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  10. I have to leave the food photography to you, for I believe you have crafted it well now, especially that Egg benedict photo. I do take lots of food pics but its only FB worthy, like this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I think your food pictures are fantastic! I do understand how challenging it would be because you do have to do the staging yourself. I’m not a fan of the growing trend of posting pictures of everything you eat … but I like your food pictures more for the overall beauty of the picture rather than the food item that is in the picture.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks S. Sometimes I’m not totally disappointed in my food images, but I’m rarely 100% happy. I’ll keep plugging away! Yeah, I think the whole ‘take pics of food’ thing is most popular with millennials.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. To heck with the photos I just want to eat the cake, where’s the cupcakes? The tea party picture brought back great memories of that day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This carrot cake is amazing and the cheesecake cupcakes will eventually be shared. But the 90 that I made for the wedding went immediately into Logan’s deep freezer without the top decoration. Will need to beautify them the day of … so hopefully will snap some pics then. Right now, I’m working on redecorating our bedroom!

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  13. I used to be the VP of Marketing for a restaurant chain and, in that role, worked with a lot of food stylists and food photographers. I was amazed at how much time and effort went into one picture. I think the first personality quirk of a food stylist must be “anal.” They would spend hours getting the food to look just right (using a lot of tricks, techniques, and inedible additives) before the photographer took the picture. This was before digital but I imagine the process hasn’t changed much.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I too have watched commercial photographers at work and I think you summed it up perfectly using the word “anal”. And the thought of playing with the food to the point of making it inedible goes against my goal. Since I’m not vying for work in the industry, I’ll stick to sharing my simple shots and hope they look appetizing. Once the shutter has been released a few times, I’ll devour 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Beth. I love your peach images. Some of the best peaches we’ve ever had are from Palisade, Colorado … go figure! Glad the marinade worked out for you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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  15. I don’t make carrot cake anymore because I would just eat the whole thing in a few sittings. We have discovered, though, that the Safeway Store in Fountain Hills sells the best carrot cake (in the baking section.) It comes by the piece, and one piece is good for two evenings dessert. For some reason, I have much more self control when I pay for a piece of cake than when I have a whole home-made cake…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am very familiar with the carrot cake at Safeway. Yum! We walk quickly past that case whenever shopping as we don’t have the same self-control that you do. And yes, I only make this carrot cake once a year, or like you, hubby and I might devour the whole thing in a day and waddle around for weeks.

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  16. I still remember the one camping trip where we were making pancakes and this bird swooped down and stole one and went off to share it with the squirrel sitting about 50 ft from the picnic table. Ha! – bold and brazen. Great Photos! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Depending on how serious you are about food photography, Denise at 2 Lil owls has a food photography course. Her courses aren’t very expensive, and I have no idea what the food one costs, but you could check it out if your interested.
    Cooking food is about all I can do, and try to avoid that as much as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Probably not too serious. I find I don’t enjoy the whole process of food photography as much as other genres. I will stand or sit patiently for hours (bladder always dictates time frame 🤣) in an attempt to capture the perfect image of a bird or wait for the light to change. So I may exude a great deal of patience for wildlife and landscapes while I have little patience for food photography. I’m not “into” cooking which is probably part of the problem, but I always like a challenge! I’ll check out Denise’s site again.

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  18. Good morning, Ingrid,
    my food pictures are purely documentary: to be able to later remember what I had when eating out, and for possible reviews of the restaurants. I (only) use my smartphone for those and I’ve found out that many of the pictures come out blurred. I have no idea why the camera doesn’t focus properly then.
    I like your picture of the best carrot cake ever: good composition. But most of all I like that little guy nibbling his food! 😉
    Have a wonderful day,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

    • Taking photograph’s, photos of any kind, is a great way to document and trigger one’s memory. I’m with you, my favorite photo in this post is of the chipmunk. Just confirming, I’m much better at making images of wildlife than food 🤣 But, I’ll keep practicing and glad the carrot cake image is a winner!

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      • There will be some more images of food coming up in my blog soon, in my reviews of thetwo restaurants we went to in Helen/GA, The first, the Hofbraeuhaus, was a wash-out. That cook should have been hanged, drawn, and quatered. 😀
        We had a perfect dinner, though, at Linde Marie’s in Cave Creek/GA [https://wp.me/p4uPk8-1nN].
        Have a wonderful day,
        Pit

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  19. This recipe looks fabulous! You know I will be trying it!

    I agree food photography is tough. Once I scroll through Instagram and see the fabulous photography I wonder why I even try?!?

    Happy Wandering Wednesday!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is one of the best carrot cake recipes I’ve come across. A fellow RVer from North Dakota shared it with me after she gave us a slice to eat… swoon, and we know, woman from ND know how to bake!

      Well, if we keep plugging away and practicing with the food photography, we’re bound to improve. Theoretically anyway 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

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  21. That is so wonderful to have a father who can critique anything you do. I like carrot cake but can’t eat it unless it’s made nut free… and after all this celebrating I need to abstain from any sweet for awhile 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Well I don’t know about food photography, I believe I’d rather eat it than take pictures of it. On the other hand, in many cases it was a photo that prompted me to try a recipe. Hmm. And since we’re on the topic of food, I made your Citrus Rum Chicken for us this past week & it was a big hit. Even my father liked it, & he doesn’t much care for chicken. (Ate too much of it as a boy. You know, those Southeners do like their fried chicken.) We are both blessed to still have our fathers with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m with you … more into eating the food than photographing it. Glad to hear the chicken was a hit, and definitely blessed to have our dad’s still around.

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