Don’t Eat This – How To Make Fake Ice Cream For The Photo Studio

Featured How-To Studio & Lighting

The job description of a modern day freelance photographer is ever-shifting and it really does pay to be a jack-of-all-trades. Face it, budgets are often tight and don’t always allow for a full crew. Sometimes, we must put aside our usual duties of shooting, editing, and retouching; pick up some Crisco and make our own fake ice cream.

Photo Prop Ice Cream Cones

Spring is here, which means we’re shooting summer scenes for editorial and commercial jobs. That means Ice Cream and Sunshine – and in this case, four subjects, who all need a perfectly styled ice cream cone in their hand for an extended period, under hot lights.

Here are our test results:

Attempt #1 was a can of strawberry frosting mixed with about 2 cups of powder sugar (see photo, below).

Pros
Easy and smells good

Cons
You have to buy a lot of frosting

Fake Strawberry Ice Cream Cone Photo Prop

Attempt #2 was our favorite (see photo, below). Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Crisco
  • 1/2 a bag of powder sugar (more or less)
  • A couple of Tbsp. of Corn Syrup
  • A couple of drops of food coloring

Pros
We already had most of the ingedients in our pantry
Looks great
Cheap

Cons
We now have a 20 year supply of Crisco

Fake Photo Prop Ice Cream Ingredients

We made several different “flavors” and refrigerated them overnight in Ziploc bags. On shoot day, they were styled with chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. The cones sat out at room temperature for over 2 hours and still looked great!

Photo Prop Ice Cream Cones

The key seemed to be to use a professional grade ice-cream scooper with the little curved blade that “cuts” the “ice cream” out of the scoop.

Attempt #3 Imitation mashed potatoes. We’ll never know, because our dog, Madison, found the box and ate it.

"Ice Cream" Thief

Michael Larsen and Tracy Talbert are a Los Angeles-based, husband and wife team who specialize in celebrity portraiture and lifestyle photography for magazine and advertising clients. Their fun and flattering photos have been featured in such magazines as Self, Esquire, and InStyle. You can see more of their work by following their Facebook page: Larsen&Talbert

Don’t Eat This – How To Make Fake Ice Cream For The Photo Studio Gallery
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Photo Prop Ice Cream Cones
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Photo Prop Ice Cream Cones

The final product - fake photo prop ice cream cones made from Crisco - all styled up and ready for action.
Fake Photo Prop Ice Cream Ingredients
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Fake Photo Prop Ice Cream Ingredients

Here are the ingredients that Larsen&Talbert found worked best for photo prop ice cream.
Fake Strawberry Ice Cream Cone Photo Prop
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Fake Strawberry Ice Cream Cone Photo Prop

This fake strawberry ice cream cone is actually just strawberry cake frosting.
Photo Prop Ice Cream Cones
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Photo Prop Ice Cream Cones

These ice cream cones may look perfectly delicious but you wouldn't really want to eat them. They're actually photo props made mostly of Crisco so that they will last for hours during long photo shoots.
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"Ice Cream" Thief

Larsen & Talbert's canine assistant Madison, who ate their artificial mashed potatoes ice cream prop supplies.
Photo Prop Ice Cream
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Photo Prop Ice Cream

All photos are the property of Larsen&Talbert and/or PhotographyREVIEW.com.


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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of PhotographyREVIEW.com and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.


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