Ultimate Ice Cream Photography Ideas

Silvain • updated November 6, 2022 • 7 min read

Guide to ice cream photography, image shows beautiful arranged ice cream on a table

Ice cream photography is the ultimate discipline because there’s a lot that can be salvaged after the fact once the ice cream has melted.

Ice cream pictures are a challenge. There are food stylists whose specialty is ice cream and who have their very own tricks and options. But we have good news because there are a few tricks that can make your ice photography life a lot easier, even without many resources.

Slowly the temperatures are climbing higher and soon we will be sitting in the sun again lapping up ice cream. Since also ice cream recipes and photos of ice cream become ever more in demand.

But photographing ice cream is not that easy. Because the subject often melts away faster than you can photograph it.

That’s why I’m sharing my tips for the perfect ice cream scoop on your food photo and what else there is to consider when photographing ice cream.

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1. Make a Plan for your ice Cream shoot

Whether the ice cream is the major subject of the photograph or simply a small treat, photo sessions with ice cream, ice cubes, or other frozen foods must be meticulously arranged. Otherwise, your subject will be melted by it, will no longer appear appealing, and you will have to restart the shoot from the beginning.

As a result, plan ahead of time in a storyboard and shot list exactly what you want to film, how you want to shoot it, with what props, backdrops, and from what perspectives. Will you be able to update the set if it becomes necessary? What can you do to get ready? What do you need to concentrate on?

ice cream photography, good planning is important


2. The ice cream scoop should be prepared the day before

If the freezer is too cold, take the ice cream out a few minutes beforehand, soften it slightly, and then make the ice cream scoops. The issue is that the ice cream is likely already so soft that it begins to melt in front of the camera, and you will soon be photographing an unattractive ice cream lake rather than lovely texture and shapes.

The trick is to put the ice cream balls back in the freezer once they’ve been created. You can use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for this, which will make it easier to remove the ice cream balls afterward.

Allow the ice cream balls to get as cold as possible by freezing them overnight. So being rock hard is a positive thing. This allows you to spend more time on the set before the ice cream melts.

In my experience, you have over ten minutes to shoot with the rock-hard ice balls instead of two to three minutes. With the ice cream scoops, we were able to photograph two sets.

3. Good Preparation is Mandatory

If you want to stage your ice cream as ice cream balls in your picture,prepare your ice cream balls in advance with an ice cream scoop and then freeze them again.

This procedure has several advantages.

  • Firstly, you can choose the most beautiful ice cream scoops for your photo at the subsequent photoshoot.
  • Secondly, by freezing the scoops once again, they are more stable overall and can withstand the heat a little longer without melting away in the first few seconds.
  • Thirdly, you are faster when arranging the scoops, because you only have to arrange them in your set with a pallet.

However, before the ice cream arrives on the set, you should already have it set up and ready to go. In addition, your camera should also be set up for the first motif. I.e. stand on a tripod, with the correct image section, the desired aperture, ISO, and exposure time.

Also, feel free to take a few test shots beforehand so that everything is really set up perfectly and ready to go before the ice cream arrives. Learn how food styling is beneficial for your ice cream photography.

The ice cream is really the very last touch you’ll add to your set. You can also use light doubles or so-called stand-ins – made of crumpled paper balls, for example – for the ice cream scoops when setting up your set.

ice cream photography, add a cup with frozen berries as prop

What also gives you extra time to shoot are chilled props. For example, cold plates and bowls from the fridge or freezer, a cool marble slab or frozen berries on which you arrange your ice cream scoops, and so on. Anything that contributes to a cool environment for your ice cream scoops.

4. Make use of stand-ins

You believe you’ve put the set to the test, but then the ice arrives, and everything doesn’t quite fit the way you expected. Working with so-called stand-ins can help you avoid exactly this situation.

For the test shots, stand-ins are placeholders that replicate the ice. It is advised that the stand-ins come near to the ice cream in color and shape in order to test the final setup as faithfully as possible.

This was simple with the yogurt ice cream because it is white and we could simply use a white dishtowel. We carefully wet the kitchen towels and twisted them up to make the scoops keep their shape. Then we put them in our set, which included our ice cream scoops.

ICE Cream SCOOP, image: ©Zeroll

5. Use the proper tools ice cream photography

The right ‘tool’ isn’t absolutely unimportant for the perfect ice cream scoop. Ice cream scoops come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s possible that you’ll have to try a few different ones before finding the one that works best for you. At home, we have three different types and have been extremely happy with the classic ice cream spoon so far.

6. Work efficiently and swiftly

You must act quickly as soon as you remove the ice cream from the freezer!
Select the most attractive scoops, position them in your set, and go! You may only have a few minutes to picture ice cream scoops depending on the room temperature. Keep this in mind as you work to complete your tasks swiftly and efficiently.

Want a Tasty moment where your ice cream scoop is softly melting but you don’t want to wait for it to melt naturally? Then, ahead of time, melt a spoonful of ice cream and use it as “melted ice cream” that you may drape around your scoop using a little spoon.

Alternatively, use a hairdryer to slowly reheat the ice cream. Take cautious not to blow other elements of the set away.

7. “Fake it until you make it” – Ice Cream making Tips

You can construct a fake ice cream scoop using a few tricks if you want to practice without using actual ice cream before your first real ice cream shoot. Personally, I only use food for my photo sessions that you can eat without hesitation afterward, but I’ll show you other options as well.

Important: If the ice cream is the focal point of your photo, I would recommend using actual ice cream. You can sometimes turn a blind eye if the ice cream isn’t the main attraction and should just be used as a topping on a waffle, for example, or if you just want to practice in peace first.

Fake ice cream with cream cheese

Cream cheese is the simple version of faux ice cream. Yes, it is correct. This may be made with an ice cream portioner just like regular ice cream, however, it takes longer to melt. Furthermore, you can smear it on your toast after the photoshoot with no issues.

Simply stir in vanilla sugar for vanilla ice cream and cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream. If you want to make fruit ice cream, add food coloring to the cream cheese as needed.

To simulate melted ice cream running down the edge of an ice cream cone, some food photographers or food stylists add craft glue to the cream cheese mixture. However, after the adhesive is added, the cream cheese is no longer edible.

Fake ice cream with margarine and flour

You may also make faux ice cream with simple home items like margarine and flour, or chocolate coating and powdered sugar.

To make the first variety, simply combine margarine and starch, then flavor with food coloring (preferably gel or powder-based, as it must be fat-soluble), similar to cream cheese. I wouldn’t want to consume this faux ice cream that way, even though all of the ingredients are absolutely delicious.

Fake ice cream with chocolate coating

Fake ice cream balls coated with chocolate coating and powdered sugar are unique. Simply melt 200g of white chocolate coating (or, for chocolate ice cream, milk/dark chocolate coating) and gradually knead in as much powdered sugar as needed until a dough-like mass is formed.

This might range from 150 to 200 grams of powdered sugar, depending on the chocolate. You may make a flawless ice cream scoop by shaping an ice cream scoop, which you can then use in a recipe.

Tips and Tricks

1. Play with the angles

Take your photo from numerous perspectives, then you may choose the one you like most (while devouring your sundae – of course!). Sometimes it turns out that the angle you believe is the best isn’t that excellent. It’s best to have a broad range of possibilities. Read more about camera angles first.

2. Smartphone Skills

If your smartphone has a grid option, use it to elegantly arrange your food. Pick one that adds color to your snapshot and makes those scrumptious chunks and swirls stand out. Read more tips about smartphone photography.

3. Beauty is in the details

Think about your backdrop before you start. What do you want the background to be like? What accessories or details can you add to the ice cream to make it appear even better? A few chocolate chips, a lovely napkin, a hardwood tabletop – the charm is in the details.

4. Light settings

Any expert photographer will tell you that the key to outstanding photos is lighting. Natural light (e.g. sun) always ends up looking the best. So try to place your ice cream near a window, outside, or in a shaft of glittering moonlight. However, intense sunshine can generate unpleasant shadows, so a shaded position often works best.

5. Tell a story

The best images are the ones that convey a narrative or capture an emotion. Look for amazing ice cream moments that you can capture on your smartphone.

Like when you give a kid a sundae and the child’s excitement just makes your camera click. Or when you settle down on the couch with a cup of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and a good book and capture the cozy moment with a photo.

6. High Speed Shooting

You undoubtedly already know this, but ice cream can melt – who probably already knew this. Work rapidly to keep your topic in good shape. No one wants to see an image that says “Mmmm, sundae” beside a shot of chocolate soup.

7. Add Personality

The absolute finest social media photos always have a little bit of you in them. Clearly, anyone can learn all about photography and produce photos fit for a magazine. But discovering a style that’s completely you is much more fulfilling. Maybe you prefer black and white images.

Maybe you write a joke in each caption. Maybe you want to employ creative shadows. Show character and let people see what you see!

8. Show some humor

Funny photographs are often big winners on social media. Put your bowl on your cat’s head. Try to construct the most fascinating and weird ice cream sundae such that just by seeing the shot, your followers will crave ice cream. The options are infinite.

9. Pre-freeze props

Our last advice for today is likewise about preparation. Do you know what vibe you want to implement in your image? Awesome. Then you presumably also know which props to use? All the better.

Then you simply put these props in the freezer the night before and freeze them as well. This also provides you important minutes of time for your perfect ice photo on the shooting day. Read more about props at Food Photography Props for Beginners.

Discover our collection of Food photography recipes:

Ice cream photo ideas

No clue how to make ice cream – check out this recipes

How To make delicious homemade ice cream without a machine
Melt-resistant ice cream
Chocolate Chia ice cream
Kit Kat ice cream
Strawberry ice cream
Paleo ice cream truffles

What is your take on ice cream photography – let is know in the comments!

By Furoore team member Silvain

Silvain is a French/German national and has been with the Furoore Team since the beginning. He likes to write about various photography themes, especially food photography. If you leave a comment, he will come back to you to answer any questions you may have.


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