Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Picture Perfect

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Good: You hired a fabulous wedding photographer.

The Bad: Not so much with the baker.

The Ugly:

This has to be the most beautiful photo of a Wreck I've ever seen. The fact that the photographer submitted it - along with tales of watching the baker catch the toppling cake with her bare, unwashed hands before serving it - only adds to the beauty.

And really, what's a photographer tasked with making a wedding Wreck look good supposed to do? Well, after careful study, I've come up with a few options.


Option 1: Try an action shot in the background.


"Ok, bride, groom? You two stand behind the cake here. Now...reach for that wineglass!"

"Hmm, not quite enough action. Bride's dad? How about a running tackle?"


Option 2: Flowers

"We're gonna need another bunch for the middle tier, stat."


Option 3: Blend it with a busy background.

"Cake? What cake?"


Option 4: More flowers.


No, seriously. MORE FLOWERS.


Perfect.


You: But, Jen, those cakes look great!

Me:
Exactly.


Option 5: PhotoShop

Take that Wreck from this...


...to this!

The irony, of course, is they'll pay more for the retouched photo than they did for the cake.

Oh, and to whoever starts a cake photo retouching service after reading this post: I want my cut.


Option 6: When all else fails, at least get the money shot.


"Lady, I'm here to document this moment for posterity, not catch cake."


Thanks to Wreckporters D Tyler Photography., Tiffany A., Jen A., Wendy T., Andrew Jordan Photography, Jennifer J., Jacq, Random, Rebecca Z, & Coffee Table Photo Book.
Trevor said...

YOu know, some of the calla lillies on option 3 aren't all that bad. Maybe the wreckerator bought them. Some, however, have some really weird and unnatural angles to them.

Muria said...

That last one's absolutely classic!

Anonymous said...

O. M. G. !!!

LOVE the last 'photo, not catch'!

I feel so sorry for the brides.

Cake retouch photography... you may be onto something there, Jen! I'm sure the 'net will be flooded with ads on FB for just that - I give it two days.

*giggle*
~~Di

wv - ennosece -- I getta that cake ennosece... oops, too alate.

Peg said...

The polka dot ones look like they let their kids make their cakes. How hard is it to make round circles?

LillyW said...

I love the action shot of the cake falling. At my wedding, I had a shot like that, but it was of my Mother-in-Law tackling the girl catching my bouquet.

My WV is dooho... too easy!

Jan Andrea said...

We need a link to the story of the first cake :D

Fluffy Cow said...

I want to hug that last photographer.

Gina said...

The falling one is the best. And honestly, if I was the bride, I would probably have been in tears on the day it happened, but in retrospect I would be so glad that I had the pictures! I would refer everybody to that photographer, because that's called foresight.

<a href="http://fantasycasting.blogspot.com>Fantasy Casting</a>

Marnie said...

It looks like the bride in the topper of the first cake has a cape. Maybe she's preparing to fly away from the wreck.

Amanda Mac said...

As a sometimes-wedding photographer, I can truly appreciate these. The last one, though... sheer genius.

A said...

2 and 4b actually look like pretty good photos. :) Love the 'capture the moment' idea.

Sherri said...

The last cake -- aside from structural instability -- didn't really look all that bad. It looked rather nice, really, except for the whole gravity take over and such.

However, photographers have a long history of seeing everything through the lens, watching and not acting. If they have trouble taking action during natural disasters and in war zones, I certainly understand not diving in to save a doomed cake. Also, that much sugar could ruin a lens. MUCH better to just document.

Jessica said...

wv: wregic = wreck + tragic

Amy's Cooking Adventures said...

Great post. That last one is AWESOME

Aliza said...

I think the first and last cakes prove a good point-- at a wedding, a good photographer is more important than a good cake. The photos will last forever, the misery will only last until enough time has passed that one can laugh about how awful the cake was. Seriously, how can one not appreciate that last photo???

The sad thing was, the first and last look like expensive cakes-- I'll cut the middle ones some slack (puns intended) given they look reasonably priced. Although the photoshopped cake-- that baker should be ashamed. I can do better, and I'm an amateur who fusses over the flavours of the multiple layers (mousse, ganache, meringue, cake etc) not the aesthetics.

Anne-with-an-e said...

Thank you for an awesome post on my birthday!
My condolences to the bride, but my heartiest congratulations to the photographers (especially the last one).

Mindy said...

Y'know, if everything goes exactly right, you don't have any great stories to tell later on. I can hear the bride now..."and the cakefall is even on CakeWrecks!!!"

"I'm a photographer, Jim, not a cake-catcher!" *snork*

Sandy also in SoFla said...

Those are absolutely sad excuses for wedding cakes.

Aliza is right, the photog IS more important than the cake.. These have got to be examples of when Aunti Margaret offers to do the cake as a gift... then runs out of her arthritis pills.

My office is having a bake off today and I know i could have done better with my cake (I got interupted last nite and ran short on time). But these are just bad. I certainly needed this today. Now I'm not feeling so bad. Thanks Jen.

Anonymous said...

Option 5 works best if you have a good story ready to explain why the cake seems to speeding by at 60 mph.


And up until now, I never thought there could be such a thing as too many flowers at a wedding.

Caroline B said...

Hmmm, kamikaze cake, that's a new innovation. I'm surprised some of the previous cakes didn't follow the last one's example and throw themselves off the table in despair.....

Sammie said...

I LOVED this post!!

I also wanted to let you know how much I have been appreciating my move to the west coast, now that I'm 3 hours behind you, you almost always post before I go to work!

joyce said...

at least the last one had enough left on the table to give everyone a taste??

wv: emudou: the emu do-ed it

Mary Connealy said...

He should've caught the cake.

No basic decency at all.

Of course he DID get his photo on Cake Wrecks, so it's probably okay. The photograph had his priorities in order.

Rachel said...

Ohmygosh!! lol I really want to know how that last one played out. How perfect!

john said...

Option 2:
Orange & blue wedding colors? Even if the groom plays for the Broncos, no. Tiger lilies and hydrangeas just look wrong together.

Amazing that the wrecker can make such perfect circles in contrast to lumpy icing and irregular borders. The dots just like the foam sheet cutouts you can buy. Not that a wrecker would ever stoop to that.

Rachael said...

Wow! I love it. Especially the Photoshop option.

On a side note. I wonder what the statistics are on cakes that bite the dust at weddings. I'm not talking so much dropped cakes (although that would be interesting to know too) as multi tiered cakes that collapse.

lisadh said...

Oh, those are just hilarious! The photographer for the last one...brilliant, indeed!

Ha!

Nick said...

Okay, I've just given up cake after seeing these photos. Well, I needed to anyway.

Kelly Pratt Photography said...

As a wedding photographer, is it bad that I would LOVE to capture the moment in the last picture? hehe Those are the things that make you laugh later on (for some brides it might be MUCH later, but still). We've actually never had a cake fall down mid-reception, but there have been a few "Hurry and cut the cake now, before it falls over, so we can rush it to the kitchen" kind of moments. And God knows we have seen some AWEFUL wedding cakes.

Anonymous said...

I am so disturbed that the photographer took pictures of the cake falling down and didn't try to help! lol

Suzanne said...

Timberrrrrrrrrrrr!

Anne-Marie said...

Oh my gosh! I just went back and reviewed this post, and noticed that, on Cake #5 (the white and lavender beauty) the carboard round is still on the second tier!!!! Snap - and Fail!

Poor, poor brides. I do concur with a previous poster who said that having catastrophes like these make for much better wedding stories. My sister's reception venue had a kitchen fire the night before her wedding, so we had to scramble to find a place at 10 o'clock on Friday night for her Saturday afternoon wedding. It turned out beautiful, and we have a great story to tell.

WV colst - None of these cakes were colst to being beauties...

Lizzy Leigh said...

That last picture is fantastic. Not to mention it's going to be great proof at the lawsuit the bride brings against the baker!

nona_bear said...

I am still giggling quietly behind my computer screen at the photoshop cake. Who would choose a polka dot cake anyway?

Anonymous said...

That action photo is awesome. What timing!

-Holly

~Alissa said...

Why would a photographer want to catch a falling cake? To get frosting all over her expensive equipment? What could she do with one hand anyway? Punch a hole in it as it fell? I like that she got the shot - What a pro!

nona_bear said...

I am silently giggling behind my computer screen. The photoshop cake is something I almost want to share with coworkers. Who picks polka dots anyway?

JoyfulBee said...

I can't believe that photographer managed to catch the moment as the cake was collapsing. It makes me wonder if someone called him over because the cake looked ready to fall.

I hope that if the photographer saw it looking ready to fall, he'd at least call "hey, someone should take care of this cake!" while standing ready to take the pictures in case it fell.

The Lady's Lounge said...

The sad part as that most of the "professional" $3,000.00 cakes on Cake Wars, Cake Boss, Cake whatever it's called, actually look like those ones.

Mmmm... play dough *gag* *cough* *choke*

http://www.theladyslounge.com

Jennifer said...

I wouldn't be surprised that the photographer was standing 10 or 15 feet away from the cake when it fell. There are some really incredible lenses out there that don't require you to be right on top of the subject in order to take a really close-in shot. So it very well may have been more a case of the photographer not close enough to do anything as much as it might have been lack of desire to get his/herself full of frosting on trying to rescue a doomed cake.

wendalls said...

To be honest - if a cake is falling over you hardly have time to wash your hands before catching it do you?
I'm new to cake decorating but not even my first cake looks like these ones.
Hopefully these brides didnt pay much for these cakes!!

Love the site thanks for the laughs xx

Maddie said...

Run cake, run! Be free cake!

jengersnap said...

Shouldn't that read "When all else *falls*, at least get the money shot"? Heh heh.

ALKD said...

when your cake starts out looking like it was modeled after the leaning tower of pisa, really, are you allowed to be surprised when it falls over?

FPGSPC Secretary said...

"More Flowers" looks a LOT like a cake funeral. Which one died? And how thoughtful that people sent so many wreaths...

Laurie said...

The longer I looked at the last photo, the more I laughed at it. The caption was PERFECT!

Melissa said...

I don't know if this is funny or sad... but in my mind I can almost picture what these cakes are ACTUALLY supposed to look like!

Love the action shot :-)

y said...

It's official, I LOVE you two! And what the heck is up with shoving ANY flower into a cake?? I believe I saw ranunculus and they are slightly toxic. Hmmm.... uh, no, and NO! What's next? oleander cake toppers?!
Jeez people, organic, EDIBLE flowers only, or put um in a container set into the cake! unless you want to send your guests to the hospital, or the cemetery.

Anonymous said...

Gawrsh. I can make a better-looking cake in my kitchen - now that I think of it, I have made better looking cakes. Many times. And I even know enough to put in some support structure so the cakes don't succumb to gravity!

Merry at Annie's Book Stop

WV: "blembash" - see photo of falling cake for illustration of "blembash"... a combination of a faulty cake construction (blem) and the result thereof (bash).

Anonymous said...

Aw, c'mon... I don't usually post twice, but the new WV is so perfect!

Merry at Annie's Book Stop

"tolomp" - the noise the cake makes as it hits the floor.

Kim said...

Posting horrible wedding cakes on Cake Wrecks is probably the best consolation gift ever for the brides! ;-D

Annie said...

Today is mine and my husband's 9th anniversary, these cakes make me so happy we ran away and ELOPED!!!

Mary said...

That one pic of all those cakes on that table with all those purple flowers is actually really pretty, I like that.

That last photo is priceless.

Anonymous said...

I was cracking up at the last one. My mum (who was being nosy) didn't see what was so funny.... She made the mumbled comment "wait til u get married". I said that any cake there would be used in the food fight, not eaten.

Red said...

Cake #1

There you go, let's start a business. I'm going to call it "Cakes un-wrecked!"

Susan said...

That falling one reminds me of the Great Wreck of 1988 (my parent's 25th Wedding Anniversary party). My sis, an excellent baker, had made and frosted the layers to re-create Mom and Dad's wedding cake, found their old cake topper (mercifully well-preserved from dust) Aaaand then....succumbed to, I'm NOT kidding, what we later found out to be Scarlet Fever just before the cake was assembled and the guests arrived!
Sis went to bed nearly incoherent, and I was left to hostess the surprise party and ASSEMBLE THE CAKE! We're descended from a loong line of dauntless Southern hostesses, so being a 16 year old left to host a party of some 25 grown ups didn't phase me a bit..but Sis was unable to TELL me how to assemble those column and tier...err...thingies. I did the best I could, but somehow I got the darn thing wrong, and thus the LEANING TOWER OF LOVE was born!
I swear though, I couldn't have created a better party game if I tried. All my parents' family/friends are other amateur bakers and engineers, handymen, etc., and EACH guest was convinced that THEY ALONE knew HOW TO FIX THIS! So I just stood back and watched, giggling madly, as each guest waited for his/her turn to have a go at keeping the gradually drooping layers from certain tragedy (I DID insist on hand washing first, of course!).
Happily, this distraction turned out to be a FINE way to keep everyone quiet and at the back of the house until Mom and Dad arrived- actually, a few guests got so absorbed in the task that it was hard to pull them away to yell "Surprise!" at the right time!
Needless to say, we cut the cake right away, but since we took the pictures with Mom and Dad at a careful angle, you can't really tell. And the guests certainly had a great story to tell their buddies at work the next Monday!
Who knew a Cake Wreck could make a party a smash (in a non-frosting on the floor kinda way)?

Anonymous said...

Please post the story to the first cake! Enquiring minds want to know!

Rebekah said...

Typo report: "Options 2:"

That's not what sent me into fits of giggles, though. Fabulous post!

wv - disfacal -- How they refer to poo-colored icing in Jersey, as in "What's with disfacal material on my cake? Aw, just pass me da spoon..."

Cyndi said...

Wedding Wrecks always make me so sad. Those poor brides!

JKS said...

Lovin' all the daisies!!

wv: warrecks - y'mean like this? http://www.moddb.com/groups/tanks/images/fail1

ilze said...

A brown & white dotted wedding cake???
As I looked at it, all I could think of was "How now, brown cow?"

Anonymous said...

I know this is completely off-subject but,

Which do you like better Jen, harry potter or steampunk? answer back!! PLLLEEAAASSSEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Craig said...

What I want to know is how that last design could have been top-heavy enough to crash like that. I could see a slow slump -- providing time for a rescue -- but look at the debris field on this thing; it must have gone down fast, which takes some weight. Was the top tier an actual flower pot?

wv: vologra -- for guys who need just a little help.

john (the hubby of JEN) said...

Anon @ 8:27,

Jen likes steampunk a little more than Potter. I, on the other hand, can recite almost every book in a passable Jim Dale impersonation.

There it is!

john

Anonymous said...

Oh how awful-wedding wrecks are especially sad :(

Anonymous said...

@Craig
Look at the vertical shot third from the left- you'll see it's not the weight on top that's driving the topple (tee hee). The wreckerator didn't put supports in the right side of the bottom layer. The weight of the tower is pushing down into that bottom layer on one side. Classic beginner's mistake- or, and yes this is true- the wreckerator didn't LIKE the bride (or her mother which is often the case).

-Barbara Anne
former cake decorator

StephanieC said...

Oh my.... I would be so sad if my cake were as ugly as my childhood on my wedding day!

It's supposed to be about beauty. But I LOOOOVE that the photog just let 'er fall. Epic, really.

Sharma Shari said...

About the PhotoShop, Actually I know somebody that her photographer did it with her cake. You see, the colors weren't actually what she requested so the photographer did his trick to make it perfect. At least were only the colors....

Sandy said...

The last cake just needed some damn dowels in each layer. Good lord. I know people want to save money on wedding costs, and yeah, a good photographer is far more essential (I had gorgeous, delicious cake but a lousy photographer, and believe me I'd rather it were vice versa today), but really. It's your wedding. Check out the baker's work beforehand. Not rocket science, but then again, if everyone did this we wouldn't have the wonder of CW.

Melinda said...

"I, on the other hand, can recite almost every book in a passable Jim Dale impersonation.

Clearly, we'll need an audio CW post in the vein of "Pushing Daisies" in the future.

Staci said...

So I am the bride in the picture of the polka dot cake. The picture I showed the baker was of a turquoise and chocolate brown polka dot cake with FONDANT! I have no idea why the baker thought she could execute a polka dot cake with buttercream. Ugh, thinking about that is a nightmare. But I am so happy to have made Cake Wrecks! It has made my day! (By the way, my wedding photographer was pretty freaking amazing and here's a shameless plug for her: http://www.lishamyersphotography.com/)

Nana Rogers said...

Oh man... the last one brought back memories... I have pictures of my wedding cake. Can't even remember who the wrecker was now, but when I got to the reception my cake had skid marks down the side. I was informed it was picked up off the floor by friends who got to the reception a head of me.

Jenna said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is why we got a tiramisu.

With a Kang and Kodos topper.

Jen/John, though I don't think it's a wreck, would a Kang and Kodos topper on a tiramisu be a contender for the site?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/53660106@N02/5011702607/

(PS - Kang is wearing a white veil but I wore no such thing. My dress was reddish-purple and I say phooey to veils).

penguintummy said...

What's with the white cake with mini cactii on it?

Arlene said...

Wow to that action picture lol. I can only imagine the bride's horrified expression as pictures were snapped and no one saved the cake. Ah well it probably had a horrible filling lol.

Craig said...

Thanks for clearing that up, @Barbara Anne. Lack of support was my second guess.

Following on what @Sandy said, I would guess that most people would rather have good pictures -- they last longer. But since cake comes before pictures, I'd rather have both. I wonder if there is a Photo Wrecks blog. Hmm...

Deacon Tyler said...

LOVING IT!
This inspires me to post some of the *really* bad cakes I've seen over the years :D

The best part about bad cakes is that the bride and groom usually have a pretty good sense of humor about it (at least in Las Vegas they do, as tears have already been spent on slot machines and tigers in bathrooms).

I can recall a cake from last year that was made out of frosted styrofoam with red frosting as trimming. At some point, the frosting went a little crazy and, as a knife was not available, the bride's sister used her fingers to 'fix' it....and also to smooth over the rest of the frosting.

The cake was then covered with *real* rose petals, with extra attention placed towards the frosting mishap.

But honestly, the bride and groom laughed harder than anyone else and the bad cake was a great icebreaker at the reception!

I also have a great halloween cake adorned with characters from the Nightmare Before Christmas that was set upon a 3 foot tall speaker, pumping out the latest hip hop beats.

As the cake crumbled, the little Jack Skellington figurine STILL managed to hang onto his loving bride as undercooked chocolate cake batter rippled and flowed onto the ground like beautifully delicious lava and it was actually quite touching to watch.

But seeing this post tonight has INSPIRED me to submit again!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of bad wedding cakes, you were mentioned on Top Chef last night.

Chrissy said...

These cakes make me mad. I'm really stunned that a "professional" would make these. No clue on cake support. No clue on the proper frosting to use. The only thing I can think of is that maybe some of the fondant covered monstrosities were subjected to some kind of heat or something to make them melt. That's all I got.

Chrissy said...

Oh I'd like to add, how on earth can anyone catch that last falling cake? It was falling from a non existent support at the base. I assume, if the base had no support then the upper tiers didn't either. The best you can do is get your hands all over the cake before it explodes all over you. There is no save from this!

Anonymous said...

That last one is amazing! It's sad for the bride but man! What an amazing photo!

Jake said...

Great pics. In that last one you would think that the person would notice the lean as they were making it. Which I'm sure they did notice, but why wouldn't you do something about it, crazy.

elissa said...

That's not the head of Lady Liberty. It's a gargoyle.

And "Dom" must be, who else, Dom DeLuise. I thought he was dead, though, not in jail.

Debra Hansen said...

This really points out the importance of choosing a professional baker with references. Something that is this important needs to be done right. I have always said that 2 tier cakes simply are not big enough for the photography in a wedding. One of these cakes really proves that point. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Lizzy Leigh, how do you know that a child or someone else didn't bump the table hard causing the cake to fall? A baker does not need to be sued for something like that. That's just ridiculous.

ali kat said...

that 3rd cake looks melted. if i were them i would get their money back.

Anonymous said...

Okay... what the HELL are those little blue and green puffball thingies on that cake?! They look like mini- koosh balls!

WHO PUTS KOOSH BALLS ON A WEDDING CAKE?!

I feel SO BAD for these couples!

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking that I will get up the courage to post my wedding cake here. This ALMOST makes me want to do it. It was a sheer, utter embarassment 16 years ago. My husband and sister said I would laugh one day. Not quite there yet!

Anonymous said...

YO, JEN!!!
Do you like Harry Potter better than steampunk?!?!?!? PLEASE SAY SOMETHING BACK!!!!!!!!!! I WILL CHECK THIS POST TOMORROW TO SEE IF YOU DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Senua said...

Someone mentioned an Aunty Margaret.
Funnily enough my Aunty Margaret makes brilliant cakes.
If she saw any of these she'd be horrified.
Think Sunday Sweets. Thats the sort of cakes she makes.

Anonymous said...

wow, these are awful - I so wish I had a photo from my brother's wedding, though. the cake was made by someone the bride's family knew and it was awful - off white icing (because the baker apparently had never heard of clear vanilla), most of it seemed to be melting, and crumbs in the icing as well. it was a monstrosity - I still cannot believe they actually paid this person to make it (it wasn't a gift for the bridge).

Delia Jean Streefkerk said...

The polka dot cake isn't that bad -- but more appropriate for a little girl's birthday party! Red and white cake #1 in the bakery window, with the worms or snakes slithering around the sides -- a way to make the bride lose her cookies?

Dolcecakes said...

It is comforting to know that professional wedding cakes fall apart too ..

At least with the photo they have an answer "What happened??? " hahaha

Dvana said...

You know, I worked for a professional photographer for several years, and in my time there I actually did photoshop two cakes.

One was a multi-layer cake an amateur had made for her friend that collapsed on one side; a little bit of photoshop later, and it was as if it had never happened. It made the married couple very happy. :)