I brought an icicle into the product photography studio and some photography lighting tips

Ice photographs a lot like glass, and not surprisingly. But unlike the glass that we like to photograph in the studio, ice often has a foggy and cracked structure and surface. This is something that normally we would diminish in professional product photography shoots, here we've played it up. With careful lighting, the impurities and cracks in this icicle cause the light to bounce around its own structure making the icicle appear to glow white. And from a design aesthetic I thought it was a very beautiful, natural structure! One of the two water droplets was composited from another shot in this series during post production editing. It's was very difficult, and very fun, to try to time and capture these droplets without using any sort of a motion trigger.


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Now for some setup and lighting tips: The icicle is back-lit almost entirely, though there is a large silver reflector on the left side at an approximate 90 degree angle to the camera. There is a soft-box, main light on the right and a small rather harsh strobe on the left that shines through the ice, illuminating it. The large silver reflector on the left side close to the object illuminates the leaves, though the relative size of the soft-box also helps do that as well. The dull blue glow on the right side of the background is due to the background being so close to the soft-box (apparently we need a bigger piece of black velvet in the studio!). This was a big concern for me during setup, but I ended up being quite happy with the gradient that was created, and it would be manageable enough to be easily removed in post if desired. 

 The soft box on the right Its only forward enough to cast the small, sharp, rim light on the right side of the icicle while its main purpose is back-lighting the ice.  

The soft box on the right Its only forward enough to cast the small, sharp, rim light on the right side of the icicle while its main purpose is back-lighting the ice.