Rose’s Ice Cream Bliss Phase 6: Photography Styling Sessions  

Erin Mc Dowell perfecting a bowl of ice cream with Matthew Septimus lining up his camera

Erin Mc Dowell perfecting a bowl of ice cream with Matthew Septimus lining up his camera

May of 2019, Team RoseWood reconvened for our ice cream beauty and step-by-step photography phase. Matthew Septimus was once again setting up his cameras, lights, and computer. However, this time he only had to set-up at one location~~Erin McDowel’s house. Erin had done an incredible job baking and styling for the full page beauty shots for Rose’s Baking Basics. Where baking or savory styling gives the stylist and the photographer some leeway for making that cheeseburger-- mouth watering, or a slice of pumpkin pie looking like it just came to the Thanksgiving table, ice cream is a whole different ball game. The stylist and photographer have a mere few seconds to minutes to capture a beauty shot, that can be worthy of a full page, before the ice cream melts. 

Since there are only a limited number of ways for showing a scoop of ice cream, Erin had to plan how to make 80 different flavors come alive in a unique and creative way. Katie Wayne was once again Erin’s invaluable assistant. The photography was divided into three 2-day sessions to give time for the massive amount of advance prep.

When we arrived for Day 1, we were glad to have brought our sweaters and sweatshirts. Erin wanted to keep the house temperature around 50˚F/10˚C to maximize the timeframe before any ice cream poised for the shoot would become a puddle. (I wore all of 4 layers.) She had bought a full size freezer that was filled with containers of ice cream, and her refrigerators were filled with flavored custard base waiting to be churned. That was to be one of Woody’s tasks, in addition to churning and adding any additional mix-ins to make one-pint batches of ice creams with an armada of three ice cream makers.

Erin’s dog Brimley, greeted us at the door every day, and was all too happy to have houseguests to play with and nap upon.

 A big advantage of shooting at Erin’s was that she had virtually any prop that she wanted within an arms length, from the styling area. I was charmed that she greeted me with a special present: an ice cream scoop with my name embossed on it.


To make those critical seconds count for as many shots and camera positions as possible, Matthew usually started with a whiffle ball stand-in sitting in the dish, cone, or glass for him to establish his camera settings.

 To aid Erin and Matthew in planning the shots, I sent ahead all of my beauty shots from our ice cream testing.
The following slideshow are the steps for making a possible book cover photo.

 Day 6, our final day, included taking several book cover photo possibilities. Some that did not become the cover photo did become chapter openers. On departure, Matthew’s and our cooler chests were filled with many flavors to share and enjoy, and to remember this exciting time.