Photographing the new Food Network Cupcakes! App

by Matt on May 14, 2012

What do you get when you combine 1400 cupcakes, delicious recipes, a team of talented folks, a week of photography, 50 lbs of butter and sugar and plenty of code and technology?

Food Network’s Cupcakes! App, and folks let me tell you how incredible the entire experience was. This app for the iPad contains more than 100 cupcake and frosting recipes, and if I was a glutton I’d tell you I actually tasted most of them. But I’m not (wink wink) and I only tried 99 or so, give or take one or two.

Now that the app is out it’s such a delight to sit back and scroll through the recipes and watch the videos, but there was quite a bit of work that goes into making an application of this magnitude. Lots of meetings, plenty of discussions, and that’s just before we even set foot into the studio to begin the main photography. Once we were in our groove it became a wonderful yet serious endeavor, with dozens of cupcakes baked, frosted and decorated, sets constructed, frames animated, images approved, and so on. This doesn’t even count the amazing design work that happened after photography, and trust me when I say this as I’m sure I could be biased: it’s one fantastic  application.

And the recipes? Solid and thorough, tested like crazy from the Food Network kitchens in New York. One day I’ll even share with you my favorite cupcake from the entire app (hint: it’s savory, not sweet!). But first you’ll need to buy the app from itunes. You’ll love it.

Until then how about some behind the scenes images?

A messy studio is a productive studio. Well, that’s what I kept saying as we began to be overrun with these sweet treats. And props. And surfaces. Since shooting this we’ve expanded the studio, thank goodness. But there is something fun about being up to your eyeballs in cupcakes, even if the powers-that-be kept their eyes on you so that you wouldn’t eat them.

Here we are working on one of the animations from the application. Have you seen it? I still chuckle every time, it’s adorable. And the cupcakes are delicious. I keep saying there’s a skinny elf in this image over on the computer but really, that’s just Armando who came in from NYC to assist and save the day on numerous occasions. I love you, Mando!

Look, it’s the elf again. The application not only contains recipes but tips and tricks about frosting as well as having the right gear on hand to create many of the cupcakes. Here’s an extreme overhead shot.

Adam works on another animation, this time featuring candy bees and a hive made out of cupcakes. Quite possibly my favorite bit of the application.

For a week the studio became a fine-tuned cupcake factory (we even installed a 3rd oven!), and batches of cupcake cooled throughout the studio. It was quite a sight to see.

Here’s Alexis, Adam’s assistant extraordinaire. I asked her to perform double duty and hand model for one of these scenes. You couldn’t ask for a better person to work with, we love her so much. She doesn’t even slap me when I print out photos of her from facebook and stick them to the kitchen ceiling. Not yet, at least.

More cupcakes awaiting their close up!

You know you’re fancy when you’re building custom-made props and boxes for cupcakes, right? Of course, them gems deserved nothing less. And when you can’t find exactly what you need you make it yourself, no?

And lastly, here are a few more screen shots from the app. You can buy yours from the iTunes store here. Thanks so much to Deb and Mory and everyone at Food Network. A very special thanks to the design team for making such a beautiful and intuitive application, it’s an honor to be involved! Now go eat a cupcake!