Photographing Macarons and Chef Portraits: A Food Photographer’s Diary #8

Food Photographers Diary

This is a guest post series by photographer Evi Abeler. If you would like to write about food photography on learn food photography, visit guest post page to learn more.

In this post of food photographer’s diary, Evi shares a story of macaron photography. As a food photographer, there are instances when you may have to shoot portraits as well. Let’s hear from Evi, how she took macaron photos and portraits for chef.

Macarons Photography and Chef Portraits

Often when I photograph for a restaurant the owner or chef asks me if I could also shoot the space or a portrait. I am definitely more comfortable with food and still life photography, but of course I want to be able to deliver these photos as well. Below are a few images from a recent desert and portrait shot that I wanted to share with you.

The pastry chef made a variety of macarons for the shoot. (The pink ones are almond butter and rhubarb jam filled!) I photographed her pastries on the back deck of the kitchen. It was an overcast day and the deck had a bunch of tables to work on. During a break the chef came outside, sat down to chat and there it was the perfect portrait pose! (Now I wish I had taken out that door mat…oh well.)

Evi Abeler Photography

I tried a few different angles for the macarons and liked them best from the top. In the image below they are settling on the backing sheet. The other shot shows how she gave them to me, in a tart dish on our prop table. I loved the light and the one sideways macaron, which was filled with vanilla creme. The dirty dish towel with the green line could have been a bit cleaner, but I really enjoyed the composition of the circles and the line, and the green, white and pink colors.Evi Abeler Photography Macarons

More delicious macarons next to the window on the prop table.

Evi Abeler Photography Macarons

I also took a few close-ups of the chef and the macarons and thought these two would make a great diptych…both smiling.

Evi Abeler Photography Macarons

As you can see I do need to practice my portrait photography this summer. How is that going for you, do you shoot spaces and portraits as well? Right now it seems like photographers are supposed to specialize into a niche…maybe chef portraits still fall under food photography, right?!

So long,
Evi

PS: I probably do not need to mention that none of the macarons survived the shot. One of the great perks of being a food photographer is that you get to sample so much delicious and good looking food.

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Rest of the Posts in Food Photographer’s Diary Series

Here are other posts from Evi’s food photography journey–

  1. Starting in food photography
  2. Food photography portfolio event
  3. First photography shoot for restaurant.
  4. Her food photography studio
  5. Shooting first food video
  6. Food shoot with a food stylist
  7. Starting in Stock Food Photography

Do you have a similar story? Would you like to share your food photography journey on learn food photography? visit guest post page to learn more.

All images are copyright property of Evi Abeler.

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  • http://leshoward.wordpress.com LesHoward

    Evi, I think you mean ‘macaroons’ not ‘macrons’. But whatever you want to call them, they look delicious. I really like the overcast lighting you used in these shots – soft but with just enough shadow to define form and texture. It’s also very good for portraits.

    • http://www.eviabeler.com Evi

      Oooops, I guess by now you figured that English is not my native language, macaroons of course!

      (Thanks Neel for the corrections!)

      • http://leshoward.wordpress.com LesHoward

        Probably fewer than 1 in 100,000 native English speakers could tell you what a macron is without looking it up in the dictionary :)

    • http://www.eviabeler.com Evi

      Ha, turns out we both have to take an English class. I spoke to a pastry chef and did some research on the internet:

      Macaroon is a type of light, baked confection, described as either small cakes or meringue-like cookies depending on their consistency. The original macaroon was a “small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds”[1] similar to Italian or Moroccan amaretti.”

      Macaron is a sweet confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with butter cream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies.”

      Turns out that Helene Dujardin the author or “Plate to Pixel” also wrote a how-to, in case you would like to make some macarons check out her booklet on it here.

      • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com Neel

        I did check that as well. Seems like that’s what it should be… with one “o”. Will change that shortly

  • Peter Taylor

    Hi Evi – some nice shots of both the chef and the macaroons! I do have one thing to quibble with and it is this statement “One of the great perks of being a food photographer is that you get to sample so much delicious and good looking food.” I find it very unprofessional to eat the food you are sent to photograph, I think it is the mark of an amateur. Now, there are times when I think it is ok, times like – if you are working in collaboration with the chef/owner in an exchange of photos for your access, when you are working for the restaurant directly ( you would be billing them for meals anyway ), when it would be extremely rude to say no thank you ( such as a small family owned rest. and they have prepared something special for you to eat other than the subject food ) and of course if you pay for the food.. But when you are working for a magazine, for an ad agency, even for the chef ( if he/she is paying you ), really any paying client ( and non paying if you are working for free), then you are there to work and to represent your magazine/blog/website/newspaper/ad agency/etc/etc/etc, not for the free meal. Say no thank you to the meal and you will be more respected for it.

    • http://www.eviabeler.com Evi

      Thanks for the comment. Every job and costumer is of course different so you have to have good sensors for what is appropriate.

      So far the restaurants I worked for always made extra food for us and insisted that we try. The pastry chefs or bakeries mostly gave us goodie bags after the shoot. I have seen a large scale shoot were the left overs were donated to a charity…and others were untouched packaged food went right in the garbage. Personally, I don’t think food should be wasted, but if I don’t get an OK from the client I won’t ask…I do always have the charity’s number handy.(http://www.cityharvest.org)

    • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com Neel

      I have to say that in the restaurants that I have photographed so far, my experience has been similar to Evi’s where food was specially made for us to try. In those cases, I think it is not nice (and kind of insulting) to say no.

      As you’ve pointed out, if this was a photo shoot for magazine, then its a different issue. But I think Evi’s story here is about the restaurant, so Peter, while I agree with your part of your comment – about photographing for magazine, ad agency etc. in this case, for a restaurant, I don’t have any problem saying yes, specially if the chef/owner have made it for you to taste.

      As I said, I understand your point and where you are coming from and as I said if this was a situation where client was different, I would do what you’ve mentioned.

  • Mei Teng

    The macarons looked over-exposed in the photos.

  • http://www.iliveinafryingpan.com I Live in a Frying Pan

    This post was super helpful – to the point where it made me go back 30 minutes ago to a bunch of macaroon photos that I’d taken, and trashed because I didn’t think they made the cut at the time. The last picture you have there, the slightly over-exposed close-up, is what inspired me to try bumping up my exposure on the macaroon shots in photoshop, and voila, I loved the results! Thank you :)

  • http://www.iliveinafryingpan.com I Live in a Frying Pan

    oops, I meant macarons ;)

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    Hey, I’m really enjoying these posts by Evi. Is this the last one…. Any more updates on how it is going for you? I would like to know how things are going for you…..

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