Food Photography: Ice Cream

||, Tips & Tricks|Food Photography: Ice Cream

Food Photography: Ice Cream

By |2018-07-12T19:32:54+00:00June 30th, 2010|Categories: Photography, Tips & Tricks|Tags: |28 Comments

Canon 7D, Canon 50mm ƒ/1.4 lens, 1/250 sec at ƒ/2.8, ISO 100

Last week I did my first “ice cream” photo shoot. Everything you see in the above photo is edible, however it’s not real ice cream (just a LOT of sugar with a cherry on top). I used a recipe found in the “Food Styling for Photographers” book. It’s basically just a tub of cherry frosting with powdered sugar mixed together in a mixer. If you’re interested in creating photos like these I would highly recommend that book … there are a lot of other great tips for styling ice cream and other types of food as well.

After I got the “ice cream” mixed and placed in the bowl I used a can of “Pillsbury Easy Frost” to top the ice cream and look like whipped cream (this way it didn’t melt or ooze down the side of the frosting before I was done with the shoot). I also stuck a toothpick into the bottom of the cherry so it would stay in place and not topple over.

I’m really happy how this one turned out and plan on shooting different flavors down the road.

About the Author:

Nicole S. Young is a professional photographer and published author whose love of photography and teaching has grown into an online business where she creates training materials and resources for other photographers. Nicole is best known for her books on food photography, but is widely versed in a variety of photographic genres, including landscape, travel, lifestyle, and even underwater photography. You can learn more about Nicole's work on her website,


  1. Mike Frye June 30, 2010 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Ice cream or not that looks mighty tasty Nicole! You continue to amaze me with your food photos. Excellent work!


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicole S. Young. Nicole S. Young said: New post at – "Food Photography: Ice Cream" […]

  3. Brekke Felt June 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I got that book a couple months ago and love it! I can’t wait to try the ice cream. Yours looks great!

  4. Shane Thompson June 30, 2010 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    That is so cool (no pun intended)! I definately need to check that book out.

  5. Ryan June 30, 2010 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Wow! That’s looks amazingly real. Great job. Go for chocolate next time :-) Your creativity is inspiring.

  6. Danny June 30, 2010 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Nicole, you sure fooled me! I still think it is real even though you said exactly what it is. This is a masterpiece from a genius! Keep up the great work and the great blog. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Adam Marin July 1, 2010 at 5:38 am - Reply

    Nicole, I have the same book, and when I first saw your image it immediately came to mind “I wonder if that is something not ice cream like in the book?” Great job! It looks very real and the image is beautiful.

  8. Stephen July 1, 2010 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Why not use real ice cream. Get everything setup using the fake stuff then bring in the real stuff and shoot, shoot, shoot then have a snack.

  9. Carolyn July 1, 2010 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Genius work!!! Looks amazing. Would have never guessed:~) Thank you for sharing the book info…

  10. Nicole July 1, 2010 at 10:38 am - Reply

    @Stephen – Photographing real ice cream usually involves extremely cold environments (a.k.a. a really big freezer), using a LOT of ice cream since each scoop has to be perfect and you can’t “re-scoop”, and you also have to work really fast to get the shot before it melts. It’s one of the most difficult foods to style.

    Usually (and I think legally) the ice cream only “needs” to be real in the shot when the product being sold is the ice cream itself. It’s likely that you are actually seeing fake ice cream on packaging where the main product is not ice cream (like chocolate syrup, for example).

  11. July 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Fantastic results! Thanks so much for reminding me of this book. It will certainly come in handy for some future shoots I have planned :)

  12. Amy (Sing For Your Supper) July 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Wow! Ingenious!! This is such a gorgeous picture, too!!

  13. Sam Scholes July 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    A lot of photographers will actually use mashed potatoes in place of ice cream, I think what you did looks a lot more natural. Nice photo.

  14. Brett July 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    What was your lighting on this? It looks like a softbox left of camera and either a white reflector board or natural window light right.


  15. Nicole July 5, 2010 at 10:37 am - Reply

    @Brett – Diffused window light to the left, silver reflector to the right.

  16. Chef Maira Isabel September 23, 2010 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Congrats! I am a professional food stylist and I can tell you that you are REALLY good. The photo looks perfect.

  17. Nicole September 23, 2010 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    @Chef Maira Isabel – Wow, thank you! :)

  18. Big Eater September 1, 2011 at 11:41 am - Reply

    To do this with real ice cream, it’s best to use a fairly inexpensive brand since those usually have the most gums and stabilizers. Then you buy 10 lbs of dry ice per scoop you want to do. Scoop out your ice cream onto baking sheets and then put into a freezer or ice chest with the dry ice. It will freeze into rocks. Then you turn the air conditioning in your studio up as high as it will go; set up your shots and work quickly. I’ve also seen stylists suspend dry ice over the set in a strainer held by a c-stand. If the ice cream is too frosty, you can blow on it with a straw. .

  19. Mark McKnight September 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Wow…that’s amazing. It looks so real. Makes you want to have a bite. You also got the lighting just right as well.

  20. Suse September 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    I prefer do take pictures of food which is made to eat.
    So my intention for taking picture of food is not first of all to make great fotos, but to make good food and take some nice pictures of it for my blog.
    I am waiting for your book, which I ordered yesterday. I hope it helps me to advance the quality of my foodfotos.

  21. Ivan October 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Nicole,

    Im helping a friend with a charity shoot and guess what? We are shooting ICE-CREAM!!!

    We dont have the budget to get a food stylist or really expensive props/real ice-cream. What would you advise be for me to still get the ice-cream shot? Can i use flour or plasticine or Play-doh? Would the effect be as fantastic as yours?


    • Nicole October 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Hi Ivan, did you read the blog post above? This is fake ice cream that I used for this shoot. I used frosting and powdered sugar to make it. :)

  22. umar November 17, 2011 at 3:59 am - Reply

    Hye nicole. im from malaysia…
    just bought ur book on food photography..and yeahh im in luv with it..
    i luv food and look forward in specializing in food photography and hope to benefit of whats included in the content of that book. you have facebook? coz i can’t seems to find any under your name..

    Pray for your success nicole


  23. Edward Fielding December 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Beautiful shot!

  24. Harish Padalia June 25, 2013 at 1:36 am - Reply

    Good Image, Well done

  25. Ron Morgan February 10, 2016 at 2:33 am - Reply

    I’ve inadvertently deleted my downloaded copy of your latest email book, Inspired Photography. Would you be kind enough to email another copy please.

    Many thanks

    • Nicole S. Young February 10, 2016 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Hi Ron, I just resent your confirmation email. Have a great day!

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