Even in documentary photography, capturing moments as they unfold, it's wise to set up the cake cutting. Ensuring the actual moment is a photo worthy of sitting on the mantel piece rather than a messy snapshot. So what is the best way of posing this iconic event?
When the venue co-ordinator informs me that the couple are going to cut the cake, I take the opportunity to tidy the area. Guaranteeing there are no half drank champagne glasses on the table that will distract from the moment. Next I pose the couple.
With the top tier traditionally kept for the christening of the first child, I recommend that the couple cut the bottom tier. Standing to the right side of the cake, I ask the groom to hold the knife. His wife can then rest her hands on his. The hands looks neat and this has the advantage of showing off the brides rings.
I quickly take a few test shots to check my exposure. If the lighting is low or harsh I'll add a bit of fill flash bounced off the ceiling. Then I'll photograph a series of moments as they cut the cake. I prefer to capture the expressions as the couple actually cut the cake rather the staged shot. I'm happy for guests to shoot away and get their own photos at the same time.
While I'll tidy away any glasses, if guests are in the background, I'll include them as part of the story. Distracting background objects are a different matter. One venue I'm recommended at has an unsightly sign for the toilets above the cake table. Luckily with Photoshop it can easily be removed.
With cup cakes ask your cake maker to bake a larger one to cut