A little while ago I was hired to create photographs of all the ice cream flavors of a local dairy to be used as illustrations on their cartons that went in the grocery store. The project was very large and required a lot of coordination. It took us about two weeks to photograph all 34 different flavors!
For this project, I had to arrange for a food stylist to help with the ice cream. Her job was exhausting. She worked from two freezers. The first one kept the ice cream at below 0 for storage over the entire shooting schedule. Then a second freezer was used to store the ice creams that would be used during each day’s shoot. Believe me, scooping out that ice cream was hard work. Each scoop had to be just perfect. The tricky part for her was creating the “collar,” that is the ring of ice cream that surrounds the scoop.
Aside from the food stylist, we also got some help from a set designer. Her job was to create different sets using the raw ingredients used for each flavor of ice cream.
To avoid the ice cream from melting during the shoot, my assistant had to precisely mark where each piece went on the set. This minimize the time used putting down the ice cream.
As for me, I oversaw the design and creation of each set, lit each set so the product was the hero, and then perfectly framed each shot according to the layout in the template. We created a template on a clear sheet of plastic that I attached to the back of the camera. This had all the text and the logo in place, so that when the pictures were framed, everything would fit exactly where it had to on the carton.
We chose to shoot on a view camera using film, so that the area of focus and the perspective could be critically controlled. The photos were all shot on a Sinar P2-4X5 view camera using Fuji transparency film and a bracket of 6 shots was done for each flavor. Three shots were sent to the lab for processing at a time, in case there was some kind of problem at the lab.
Oh, yeah, one other thing. If anything went wrong I was ready to take all the blame. Fortunately nothing did. The client was ecstatic and that project led to several other food photography projects.