A Day in the Life of a Cookbook Shoot – “Little Everyday Cakes”

A day in the life of this particular cookbook photo shoot started out with many layers of cakes of all sizes and shapes baked and cooled and ready for their moment in front of the camera.

Before: Early morning Spice Cake getting “dressed”……
After: Spice Cake all  “dressed up and ready” for the camera.   Photo by Danielle Atkins Photography

Have you ever been on a food photo shoot? It’s probably not exactly what you might expect. Here are some images of behind-the-scenes from the shoot earlier this year for Candace Floyd’s “little everyday cakes” with photographer Danielle Atkins shot at Food Sheriff Studio here in Nashville.

Cookbook food shoots involve lots of schleping….not my favorite thing to do…but it’s a must. Props, props and more props. There are never, ever enough and it is a flow of “more” into the studio or location every day. I started with around 15 boxes and ended on wrap day with more than 20!  Not to mention my food styling kits armed with special items for making these cakes look casually pretty and delicious.

For this “one subject” cake cookbook we needed lots of cake stands of all sizes, scads of small plates and saucers,  tons of little bowls……..

…dessert forks, regular forks, cake servers…knives…..

…..spreaders,  spoons of all types, did I say hundreds of napkins of all colors?….blues, greys, whites and chalky colors, soft reds and pinks…vintage prints….all laid out on many fold up tables to choose from with all of us contributing.

A typical day for us started at sunrise with many cake layers, tubs of frosting, fresh fruits and sauces. A good strong cup of coffee or two as well.

There is nothing quite like “following the light” as you work during a day on set where all the images are to be shot with natural light.  You actually learn a lot about the sun and clouds, soft and hard light, which cake works best in a kitchen window or on a table a few feet away. It is a study in working with nature, not against.  It is capturing what is there at any given moment and using it to enhance. It is a lovely thing when done well.

Scenes from behind the finished photos….beautiful light through old studio kitchen window…


…setting up for future images……

….photographer, Danielle Atkins and author, Candace Floyd.

Images from Dani’s screen as we adjust, shoot, adjust and shoot until it’s just the way we want it. Many days, lots of laughs and collaboration, lots of hard work, cakes to bake and every now and then a bite or two!


To see the finished images and get the recipes to make these little everyday cakes pick up a copy of “little everyday cakes” from your local bookstore, Amazon or Spring House Press.

For more information and a recipe from the book, “Mexican Chocolate Cake” see my last post here, “Look Honey I Shrank the Mexican Chocolate Cake”.



19 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Cookbook Shoot – “Little Everyday Cakes”

    1. It is a lot of work but so much fun. This year I styled 6 cookbooks…most will come out a year from now so no sharing yet, but this little beauty is finally here so it’s been fun to share. Hope you are well. Love your paintings by the way…encaustic has always fascinated me.

      1. 6 cookbooks sound like a busy year to me! Congratulations Teresa! Thank you for your kind comments on my paintings. I too was always fascinated by encaustic. I went to study cold wax technique 2 1/2 years ago in MN and fell in love with it. If you ever find yourself in Santa Fe, check out the museum devoted to wax art.

      2. Well I am in Santa Fe every summer visiting Wouter. He is the production manager for the the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival…he is in his 22 year doing this. He used to live there and still goes out every summer and I visit. I will definitely check out that museum…I have never heard of it before. Thanks and Happy November.

      3. How wonderful you can visit Santa Fe every summer Teresa! It is such a special place. We brought back some of the cult favorite hatch chiles this year and I have a recipe to post using them with octopus in a Spanish style. So good but I love them best as a side over anything and everything! Interesting job Wouter has!!

  1. Wow, what a great collection of behind-the-scenes photos. And what fun we had at the shoot. I can’t believe it has been 10 months since our photo week and that Little Everyday Cakes is finally here! You’re the best.

  2. For some reason my comments don’t seem to be going through…hopefully this one will. It is always fun to see behind the scenes. Way more complicated than what it seems. I’d love to have a few of those cake stands. 🙂

Leave a Reply