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For this dose of creative vision, we begin the week with a favorite summer treat (or, a year round treat when you live 3 blocks from Mario’s Gelato like we do): strawberry ice cream. But don’t be fooled, this is not the edible kind. Well, technically it is edible, but I don’t think it would taste very good and I’m certain it would give you a week-long stomach ache. What you’re looking at here is fake ice cream, and it’s what is used most of the time when food photographers are shooting ice cream, unless it’s an ad for the product itself, then their job gets a whole lot harder as it has to be the real thing.

Vision here was simple, and fully inspired by the vintage green glass sundae dishes: old school ice cream parlour. Back-lit with natural light was a must to highlight the top of the scoop and shine through the glass dishes, and reflectors were needed to bounce that backlight onto the front of the set-up (one large white reflector camera left, another camera right, basically forming a 90 degree angle, with my camera poking in between). And selective focus was used to give the front dish prominence, and knock the second dish out of focus, becoming background interest. As you’ll see below, I tried out different things with the strawberry garnish and cookie props on the table surface, but settled on 2 round jelly-centered cookies with a strawberry fan for garnish.


© 2008 Jackie Connelly

The beauty of the fake stuff is that (a) it doesn’t melt, (b) with the right scoop it ‘barks’ better than the real thing ~ I’ll get to that in a minute, and (c) it keeps in your cupboard forever.

Here is the recipe that I use for fake ice cream:

• 1/2 cup corn syrup (such as Karo or White Lily)

• 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)

• lots and lots of icing sugar, at least a 1lb bag

*for colour: fruit (here I used frozen strawberries to get the little seeds in my final shot), cocoa or food colouring (just remember, a little goes a long way).

To make: First, in a mixer or with a hand blender (or even by hand) mix your corn syrup and vegetable shortening together. Then slowly add your icing sugar in small doses and continue stirring. You’ll know you’ve added enough icing sugar when the consistency is dry and fairly stiff, but too much will make it crumbly. You’ll know it’s just right because those cracks the scoop of ice cream gets when you scoop it out is called ‘barking’, and is key to making fake ice cream look great. Fill the contents of your bowl into sealed ziploc bags and stash in the freezer overnight. In the morning you should have a rather hard ziploc bag of fake ice cream. Stores well in fridge. * I will also suggest a stainless steel ice cream scoop with the release lever, I like mine made by Good Grips.

Have you got a different recipe? Did you use something else that worked well? Leave a comment and share it with everyone.

Happy scooping!

~ j



Lamb chops

Got a hankerin’ for some good Italian meal, but the though of boiling pasta in your own kitchen leaves much to be desired? Wander down to Glowbal Restaurant Group’s latest hot spot Trattoria Italian Kitchen on West 4th at Burrard to sample any of Chef Jeremy’s dishes. Totally affordable and great for sharing (part of their menu is based around large pasta and seafood share-platters), I’m sure you’ll have a great night out.

You can also check out what we shot for them on their website, Trattoria Italian Kitchen.

all photos © 2008 Jackie Connelly Photography

A short while ago we showed you some photos we shot for Albion Fisheries line of Bayside seafood products found in most grocery stores in Western Canada, and we were lucky enough to work with them again. The shots here are from our most recent shoot for their new line of sustainable seafood products, Calypso. All the dishes you see here were prepared styled by the talented Scot Roger, and we had Guy Dean of Albion completing our collaborative team.


© 2008 Jackie Connelly Photography

© 2008 Jackie Connelly Photography

© 2008 Jackie Connelly Photography

© 2008 Jackie Connelly Photography

Fabulous clients of mine, the folks at the Cannery Seafood Restaurant, are offering an amazing deal on a 3 course menu prepared for you by Chef Wayne Sych and his team. They’re calling it Sunday Night Dinner by the Sea and your menu choices, for a mere $38, are:

Lobster Bisque, brandy cream
~ or ~
Vine Ripened Tomato Salad
bocconcini cheese, extra virgin olive oil,
balsamic syrup


Grilled Tiger Prawn Brochette
sweet Chipotle glaze, cilantro emulsion,
pumpkin seed concassé
~ or ~
Wild Sockeye Salmon
Sake miso marinade, sesame daikon butter


Belgium Chocolate Truffle Cake
preserved raspberry coulis
~ or ~
Fresh Local Berries
golden brandy snap and “crème Chantilly”


I don’t know about you but I’m hungry…I would go for the tomato & bocconcini salad, the wild sockeye salmon (anyone that knows me can confirm I could eat salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday for the rest of my life and be happy), and the fresh local berries.

We had the pleasure of photographing several of Waynes creations earlier this month (photos below) and from what I tasted there, I am highly recommending you make your way down to the Cannery any Sunday you’re craving seafood.

I think I had the most relaxed, successful working day last week. Food Stylist extraordinarie Scot Roger (his introduction will be posted in the coming week) and I worked with Guy Dean, VP Import/Export for Albion Fisheries, Western Canada’s largest seafood distributor.

The day consisted of talking travel (we all had travel plans over the summer including China, Korea and Tofino), surfing (one of us actually knew what they were talking about, having competed and been published), and of course a little food chit chat here and there. The funny thing was it wasn’t until lunch that we figured out we are all from Vancouver Island..such a small world.

Ok, names and job titles aside, here are some of the photos from our shoot that day. Look for these on the packages of Bayside seafood products in your local grocery store soon. And check out our website for more photos from the shoot. Enjoy!

© 2008 Jackie Connelly

© 2008 Jackie Connelly

© 2008 Jackie Connelly

© 2008 Jackie Connelly

Welcome everyone…so glad you are checking us out.

We are officially launching BASIL GAZING: A BLOG FROM THE STUDIO OF JACKIE CONNELLY PHOTOGRAPHY on tuesday July 1st, and it will be a busy day here so be sure to sign up for our RSS feed (top right, under the header photo) to be sure you don’t miss anything.

Our blog is going to be a little different than most others..

You won’t find us writing about ourselves all time, or overloading you with useless information, or going on and on about what we ate for breakfast that day (unless it was particularly photo-worthy, then you may even get a photograph and the recipe!). What you will find is:

  • features on the amazing clients, chefs, stylists, PR and event planning masters we get to work with every day
  • links and info to all sorts of food and wine events
  • updates of our recent projects and of course, our favourite photographs from them

Also we invite you to email Jackie at to find out how you can be featured on Basil Gazing!

All the best to everyone, and be sure to check us out again on July 1st!



Owner & Photographer

Jackie Connelly Photography