The Editing Tool that Turned this "Cookies and Cream Cheesecake" Snapshot into a Stunning Close-Up Image

**Published: July 25, 2016**     **Updated: November 27, 2016**

"Behind-the-Scenes" Interview By: Daisey, the "Paws-itive" Beagle


What’s your favourite dessert?

Most likely it is something you’d enthusiastically label as “Best Dessert Ever!”

When you enjoy this delicious treat, the next step is to take a photo of it… which is exactly what Catherine did!

Catherine and Matt shared a Cookies and Cream Cake at their New Year’s Eve dinner (December 31, 2015). Catherine awarded it her Best Dessert Ever and thankfully, she took a photo before it disappeared.

It was only intended as a memory but through photo editing, Catherine created a unique close-up angle. She uploaded it to stock photo agencies in April 2016 and it has already sold on Shutterstock!

In today's interview, we'll explore how the cake looked before and after creating a unique angle. Plus, you'll see the Green Icing Cupcakes image that inspired the unique angle through photo editing.

To get started, let's look at the cake photo that Catherine initially intended as a memory:

Daisey: Why did you decide to turn this memory of your New Year's Eve cake into a stock image?

Catherine: I have a stock image of Green Icing Cupcakes. This image sells well. I had noticed it selling again, in February 2016, as though people were preparing for St. Patrick’s Day or perhaps for upcoming summer themes.

I say "summer themes" because I've learned that designers can purchase stock images three to six months in advance of a season, such as summer.

So, I started re-thinking about the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake image that I took on New Year's Eve. "Could it be converted into a stock photo?" I wondered.

You see, I remembered that I experimented with "angles" on my Green Icing Cupcakes photo through photo editing. I had found a neat angle that worked extremely well for that image.

Here is the "Green Icing Cupcakes" photo that inspired Catherine to turn her "Cookies and Cream Cheesecake" photo into something more...

Catherine Continued: Inspired by the success of my Green Icing Cupcakes photo, I decided to experiment with editing and angles again. This time I wanted to see what I could create with my Cookies and Cream Cheesecake photo.

Here is what I achieved:

Daisey: What photo editing tool did you use to create this unique angle?

Catherine: I used the Arc Soft PhotoImpression 6 “straighten” tool. This tool is designed to “straighten” a photo – such as a horizon on an image that needs straightening. But I learned that it can also create interesting angles when you experiment with it.

The Arc Soft PhotoImpression 6 “straighten” tool helped me create unique angles with my Green Icing Cupcakes photo and this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake photo.

Here's a closer look at the
"Straighten" tool that can help you create unique angles:

Catherine Continued: If you use the Straighten tool in ArcSoft PhotoImpression, you'll need to experiment with it. The slider bar will only go a limited distance so it won't immediately create a dramatic angle. That said, when you are satisfied with your result, you need to hit "Apply."

It’s important that you keep repeating the process of moving the slider bar as far left or right that you want it to go and press "Apply." Then again: move the slider bar left or right; press "Apply;" move the slider bar left or right; press "Apply," and so on.

For example, here's how the photo looks when I move the Straighten slider bar as far left as it will go. You'll see it's not quite a distinct angle (yet).

Catherine Continued: Once the slider bar won't go any further, press “Apply.” Then, when the image is ready, the slider bar will reset in the center again. From here, you can move the sliding bar in the direction you want to continue to make an angle.

Here’s how the photo continues to evolve when I use the Straighten tool a second time:

Catherine Continued: Notice how the angle is starting to take shape. But to get the extreme angle, you'll need to continue that process - moving the sliding bar and clicking "apply" - then repeating those steps until you achieve the result you'd like. 

It took me numerous attempts to get the "angled" result I wanted on my Green Icing Cupcakes photo and the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake photo. 

I also finally cropped the image for the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake. This helped me to obtain the cleaner edges that you see in the final stock image.

Please understand that although I share these editing ideas with you, I need to point this out: Ultimately, getting the extreme angle while taking the photo is the best way to ensure super-top quality.

But it is amazing what photo editing can do! I still managed to keep the quality that numerous stock photo agencies were pleased with – even with the extra editing.

Please also note that the ArcSoft PhotoImpression 6 is an older program. Mine is dated 2006 and was included with my Epson printer years ago; however, this program, ArcSoft PhotoImpression 6, still works great. It's the program that got me started in photo editing and I still return to it for creative effects, such as this "angled" look.

Also, sometimes I return to this program when I can't figure out how to do something on Photoshop Elements. I continue persisting and learning with Photoshop Elements because the tools are more advanced.

But as I've said, ArcSoft PhotoImpression 6, is still great if you're just getting started in photo editing or if you want to do creative effects more easily than other programs I’ve experienced in the market.

If you're interested, here's how to find it: Search Google for "ArcSoft PhotoImpression" and you will find the latest program to download. 

Daisey: What camera settings did you use to take a photo of this dessert? 

Catherine: Please keep in mind that I’m always learning and improving. But here’s a look at my camera settings when I took the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake photo:

Daisey: How can this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake photo inspire ideas for photographers?

Catherine: When your dessert or meal looks so delicious that you want to take a photo of it, it’s important that you do so immediately.

Snap a photo before you take that first bite!

Also, experiment with angles while taking your photo. It's always best to get the correct image in camera; however, as I said earlier, it's amazing what photo editing can do to help you achieve a certain style or look afterwards.

Daisey: How does this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake fill a customer need?

Catherine: Anyone that needs a close-up of a dessert, or a specific type of dessert such as this one, will find it helpful. It's not just any Cookies and Cream cake. It's a Chocolate Marble Cookies and Cream Cheesecake. Yummy!

I can see a food blogger using this image. Or possibly businesses that sell desserts or magazine food publishers. They could use this image on their brochure, website, or other promotional tools.

The texture on this image looks good as well, so there's a chance that designers may also find it suitable for their projects.

Daisey: Has this cake image inspired other ideas?

Catherine: Yes. I notice many dessert images have a “slice of the cake” removed from the main cake so it looks like it’s ready to be served. That would be an innovative photo to re-create with a Cookies and Cream Cheesecake. Currently, I have acted on this "slice of cake" idea with my "slice of Maple Mousse cake” for a Canada Day theme shown here.

Daisey: Are there any other tips or ideas that you can share with photographers?

Catherine: Yes. The cookie crumbles on this cake were Oreo cookies. In stock photography, you need to carefully ensure that no logos or identifiable brands are shown when you sell your images commercially.

In my Cookies and Cream Cheesecake photo, the cookies were crumbled enough that it doesn’t reveal the branding of Oreo cookies. 

Another tip I can share is to keep the ingredient list that comes with a store-bought cake -- and pay attention to how it's labelled in the store presentation (meaning, how the store present their desserts behind a glass window; sometimes there are descriptions there too that are helpful for keywording). 

This was a lesson I learned while working on the keywords for this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake image.

I didn't know what the "drizzle" was on this cake; however, I felt it was an important detail because this image is a "close-up" and you can clearly see the drizzle. 

Was it caramel cream cheese drizzle? Vanilla caramel glaze? Lemon cream cheese? Cream cheese frosting drizzled on top? Maple cream cheese frosting? Goat cheese lemon frosting? Lemon caramel? Butter caramel sauce? Brown sugar drizzle? Butterscotch maple drizzle?

I searched on Google Images and Google for the particular type of drizzle. Nothing seemed to fit. 

Thankfully, my husband, Matt, stepped in to offer help. He suggested we just “ask” the person who works at the bakery department in the grocery store where we originally found this cake. 

Daisey: That's a good point to "Paw-Forward." When you're not sure what something is (such as the type of drizzle on the cake), ask someone who does know.

Catherine: Exactly. So simple, but so true! One grocery shopping day, we noticed that the bakery in this store had another Cookies and Cream cake – very similar to our New Year’s Eve cake. Matt asked the person working in the bakery department about the name of the delicious drizzle.

“White chocolate drizzle,” was the baker’s reply.

Hurrah! That's the answer!

I double-checked online to see what “white chocolate drizzle” looked like because the drizzle on my cake photo looked a little yellow. I learned that white chocolate can have a yellow tone. All in all, I was reassured … thanks to my husband's help and the baker's answer, I finally found the right keyword: white chocolate drizzle!

What’s more, and on a little side note...

During my thorough search, I found an intriguing recipe explaining how to make “cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes.” They’re a mini version of the delicious cake. Yummy! Here’s the link to learn how to make cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes if you're interested in this delicious treat.

Daisey: What title, description, and keywords did you use for this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake stock image?

Catherine: Here they are:

Title: Close-Up of Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

Description: Close-up of a cookies and cream chocolate marble cheesecake. This gourmet dessert has abundant cookie crumbles, whipped cream frosting, and melted white chocolate drizzled on top.

Keywords: Baked; Baking; Cake; Cheesecake; Chocolate Marble Cheesecake; Close-Up; Cookies; Cookies and Cream; Cookie Crumbles; Delicacy; Delicious; Dessert; Food; Gourmet Cake; Sweet; Tasty; Treat; White Chocolate; Melted White Chocolate Drizzle; Whipped Cream Frosting

Daisey: Which stock photo agencies accepted this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake image?

Catherine: Here are the stock photo agencies that now offer a commercial license to use this "Close-Up of Cookies and Cream Cheesecake" image:


Thanks Catherine! I hope you are “paws-itively” inspired too!

Woof,

Daisey, the “Paws-itive” Beagle

PS: If you liked this interview, please return to our Food Stock Image page for more “paws-itively” creative ideas.