Projects: Hello Macaron, It’s Time For Your Close-up.

When given the chance to photograph any kind of desert food, who could possibly say no? So when the opportunity to shoot these little macaron’s for Carly of Kitchening with Carly [1] I was in. Despite her official training in France, Carly likes to mix things up once in a while so we opted for more of a casual style of plating for these shots. The goal was more of a fun, playful take on this delicious treat.

Next I needed to make some decisions on how to light and shoot these treats. Since they were mostly going to be plated on simple white plates, I opted for a clean white table top to shoot on. We found a few props in the ornate bowl and the traditional chocolate mold that would compliment the simple white background (the former) or contrast with it (the latter). With the scene all set I setup my trusty 45″ softlight modded umbrella [2]  at camera right about 24″ from the”subject”; this would act as the key light for all the shots. At camera left, on a diagonal line from the key light, I placed a Speedlight with 30 degree grid. This served as a rim light on some of the shots, but not all. It was dialled way down from the main exposure for a very subtle effect. Both flashes were triggered with Radiopopper JrX receivers and were controlled in TTL mode from the JrX Transmitter with custom modified TTL cubes [3].

The overall effect of such a (relatively) large and diffuse light source so close is exactly the effect I was looking for. The softness of the light and the casual plating of the macaron’s just makes you want to reach out and grab them. The results were quite pleasing and exceeded Carly’s expectation. As viewers of the final images you will just have to let your imagination run free trying to figure out what the taste and texture of these delectable little creations were. I got to try them, but I won’t ruin the surprise.

UPDATE: I have been corrected. The name “Macaroon” refers to the coconut cookies that are popular here. The name “Macaron” is the french name for this delicious little treat. Thanks Carly, I updated this post to “correct” the spelling.


[1] Kitchening with Carly: The home site of Foodista {my term, as far as I know} Carly Wintschel. This girl knows her food from the super healthy to the most awesome deserts you could possibly imagine in a French patisserie.

[2] The softlight mod is done to a standard white umbrella. By covering the opening of the umbrella with velcro attached white translucent fabric you get the same effect as a softbox or softlighter. The exact protocol will be detailed in one of my DIY posts at some point.

[3] The custom modified TTL cubes start out as a stock Nikon AS-E900 multi flash adapter. The cable is replaced with a standard 3 position miniphone jack. I will detail this modification at some point. In the mean time there is a great description of it on these sites:, Flickr Strobist Group, Aaron Wright Photo. The beauty of this mod is that you can control 3 groups of flash(s) and vary the power to each group using the dial on the JrX transmitter.


  1. The photos look great Darryl!

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