Friday, November 9, 2012


Besides the obvious benefits of going on photo shoots with models and make-up artists and other photographers, like I did a few weeks ago, there is also the advantage of meeting new people. This, like the many facebook groups for local photographers, opens up new opportunities to photograph things.

In this case I went to a friend I met at the above-mentioned photo shoot, to photograph a workshop on making `macarons': a kind of French dessert which is both tasty and colorful (two things I especially look out for when invited to photograph food...).

This workshop has a very casual atmosphere, and the food preparation is half-way between baking and playing... in a word: fun!

As you know, taking pictures of interesting food is kind of a hobby of mine... so I was happy to come and take a few pictures. So, inevitably, I made around 900 frames during this four-hour workshop, narrowed them later, in-camera, to 650.

Then I narrowed it down to 120 images that I thought were worthwhile enough to edit, without too many similar copies of the same subjects.

The lighting was fairly good, as it was an overcast day and my friend's apartment has plenty of north/west windows. Since I was following the people around the kitchen and often shooting against the light, I placed my flash on optical slave in TTL mode to be able to chase the action. In these situations the automatic light measurements are crucial.

I did bring a tripod, as I was asked to take pictures of the people in the workshop as well as the food when it was ready (bottom: some work with my precious - the Nikkor 105mm micro). I ended up using the tripod quite a bit as an extension handle for my camera: attaching the camera to it and grabbing the folded legs just to be able shoot from tough angles. I used a wireless trigger and a wide angle lens without looking through the viewfinder, rotating and trimming the shots later on the computer.

This makeshift setup let me take photos from the angle of the walls, windows and behind the sink. Since most of the preparations went down on the counter before the wall it really was important to get some of those angles.

"OK now you hold the red scraper and you hold the green thingy..." 

The image below features Or, who organized the workshop, showing off mad skills at flattening the pre-baked macarons by dropping them flat on the counter top. I was quick to set up the tripod at its shortest on top of the counter to get the motion blur (at 1/5 of a second)

Finally, after the work was winding down, I took my macro lens out and did some experiments with these tiny desserts.

Some of the images were a bit repetitive, so I tried both lighting them from a new angle or editing them differently.

In conclusion: putting together good-looking food, good-looking people and a clear prospect for doing macro shots, is more than enough to get me to work. Giving me some of the resulting food when its ready is even better!

More images can be found here.

A link to the workshop page here.

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