Macro Food Photography – Fresh Caprese Salad
by John Downey
I recently spent a few days with good friends, Craig and Sue, a very talented and fun couple to hang out with. Craig’s recent foray into food photography, not to mention excellent eats, inspired me to do some macro work with herbs and lettuce from our garden. Ji also inspired this post by cranking out her first and amazing home made mozzarella, assisted by some rennet from Chef Sue when we visited DC a couple of weeks ago. All I can say is, this was the best mozz I’ve ever had! Nothing of that rubbery stuff you get in hermetically-sealed packages; this was creamy and, paired with what you see below, simply amazing. Fortunately, there’s a pound left in the fridge. Margherita pizza comin’ up!
These photos were simple to make. The one above was taken using a 100mm macro on a Canon 5DmkII, fixed to a tripod and pointing down at the herbs, placed on a sheet of black construction paper and in front of a window covered with a sheer curtain. The result is some nice diffused light that provides texture along the leaf edges and fills in the shadows at the same time. I didn’t have to do anything in post, save for a nudge of sharpness and a 1×1 crop. Why this format? At times, I like the square aspect of a 6×6 medium format camera and it can draw more interest to a strong, centered subject.
These two final images were taken with a handheld Canon G11, using the macro function. The G11 has a fantastic lens for a point-and-shoot – sharp with good bokeh. For the last shot, I used the same window for diffused light and draped a white piece of paper behind the table that gives the fade to white effect of a cyc wall.
The great thing about this kind of photography is easy setup, minimal time involved (get things right in-camera and you don’t have to mess with anything in post) and, well you can enjoy some outstanding food while you draft the next post!
© 2011 John Andrew Downey II Photography. All Rights Reserved.