Food Photography for Joy Cone Company

food photographer joy 4

Food Photography for Joy Cone Company

I’m right in the middle of a six day shoot for Joy Cone Company. We’re shooting for their packaging, both the front and back of the box.  Heck, I think we’re shooting for the sides of the box too.  On the front, we’re photographing all the different cones that they make and we’re doing that on a white background. We’re also making photos of fake ice cream to drop on some of the cones.

Many people ask about shooting fake food and wonder when it’s illegal.  The answer has to do with what you are representing with the photo.  If the food photo is done for the manufacturer of the ice cream, then it needs to be real ice cream.  Since Joy Cone doesn’t sell sell or make ice cream, we fine photographing the fake stuff.

Shooting the naked cones is easy enough, if you know what you’re doing, that is, but the fun part of this job is shooting the photos for the back of the box.  The idea of these photos is to illustrate different possible uses for the product.  Basically, we’re making “Pinterest” type of food photography.  That’s fun. One of the challenges of this project is to make cool photos in a very vertical format, which is what the box requires.

So take a look at some of the photos and see how we’re doing so far…

food photographer joy 2  food photographer joy 3

food photographer joy 1


  1. Dan Erb · June 19, 2015

    Hi M-Ray:

    I bet I’m not the only one that thought your blog was complete and over.

    I have gotten a lot from your blog over the years. (It has been several years)
    I appreciate what you have given us. I was once a commercial photo student
    specializing in table top, Not food, I have refined my lighting somewhat,—no a lot
    since you came along and offered some good insights into your craft. And there is more
    for me to learn.
    I was not upset but sorry to see it go. Glad to have you back. If you are.

    I can understand how much energy it takes to do a blog. Can’t get upset if and when
    you concentrate on your most important work.

    All the best How ever this goes
    One of your friends that you have never met

  2. Dan Erb · June 20, 2015

    Next day after above:

    I have been wanting to ask for some months, What are the composition responsibilities for the Food Stylist, the Photographer, and the Art Director. What I mean is how do you all interact to create the overall composition ? What are usual responsibilities for each of you? I know that it would vary from situation to situation.

    You have made comments like ” I don’t touch the food when it comes out to the set”.
    I have never worked with Stylists or Art Directors.


  3. Michael Ray · June 22, 2015

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I just sort of burned myself out for a while…

    I’m shooting right now, but I’ll respond to your question shortly…

  4. Michael Ray · June 23, 2015

    From my experience, each team ends up working differently. There is no rule for how things work. I don’t have a dominate personality, so I’m not the kind of person that dictates how things work in my studio. My main goal is to make the client happy so that they come back to me in the future.

    So stylists like to take more control of a project and some Art Directors are more “hands on” than others. It’s different with every team and it’s even different with every project. Even given the same team, one project may require different involvements or each team member. For example..On a particular day the client may be in a mood to want to fuss with compositions and on other day he might be distracted by Facebook. It’s different all the time.

    I look at myself as a manager to some extent. If I want the client to return, the buck has to stop with me.

    Having said all that… Here’s how it usually goes: The client usually has a basic idea of what the composition is to look like. It’s my job, with the okay of the Art Director, to take care of camera angle and focus. The “rough” arrangement of the elements of the set are usually dome by me or the stylist working the set. The refinement of the composition are usually a team project involving myself, the set stylist, and the Art Director, with the Art Director having the next to final say. I say next to final, because after I have the AD exactly what he wants, I might fuss a little to make myself happy. Sometimes, the client will go with my version, sometimes not. I usually don’t spend a whole lot of time after the client’s final version, but it’s enough to give myself a sense of satisfaction. The bottom line is that I’m there to please the client and myself, with myself coming in a distant second.

  5. Dan Erb · June 30, 2015

    Thanks for your input about the above. It is just about how I would expect it. I am glad to get validation

    The reason I asked was because I am having some trouble with some compositions of food. So I would like to correct that AND lean on the stylist both. I know that the client usually has the original concept and the final say so. He knows best how they are going to use it.

    Then the stylist brings the hero out arranged and “ready to shoot”. I can imagine the process is collective and co-operative, in the best circumstances.

    By the way I wanted to give you some input about your blog. It is my feeling that you have contributed a great deal to the understanding of this kind of photography.
    I would expect that there are some who often read it but never write back. Others do some times, and a few often say something. You probably only see the tip of the ice burg as far as replies go. But that doesn’t mean that you have not made a difference. I think you have, more than you will ever know.

    Whether you quit blogging or not you have given some people something they respect and value. Not bad, I would say. You have made a difference whether you stop or go on. As I once said, you will get more response if you give us some question to answer, or in some way make us a part of the conversation.

    In my case you have given me a lot of what I needed. I live in Mexico or I would look you up to say thanks in person. (It is a long bus ride.)

    With respect Dan Erb


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