How to Light Your Subjects at Night with the Ice Light

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How to Light Your Subjects at Night with the Ice Light

ice light at night

If you like drama and intense light, try using a Westcott Ice Light in combination with off camera flash at night to achieve this contrast-filled look.

Many of our high school seniors are looking for something “different.”  Some want “artsy in the meadow” and some want “suave in the city.”  Others want to push it even further and have their photo session at night.  This was always a possibility but until we got the Ice Light (which we affectionately call “The Light Saber”) it was just a tad more difficult.  The Ice Light has enabled us to create some unforgettable images for our seniors.

 High School Senior Portrait by Frameable Faces Photography

 

This senior guy wanted his photo in his football uniform.  We headed out and found some bleachers at one of the local high school stadiums.  It was definitely dark, so we knew that we were going to need to use our off camera flash.  For info on OCF, check out this article.

The Ice Light was perfect for this shot!  When it is dark, it is hard to get a meter reading, so we first used the Ice Light to get a meter reading for our our off-camera flash. Then we used it to fill the shadows behind him as well as give some depth to the bleachers, while lighting the other side with the off-camera flash.

Using the Westcott Ice Light on location
Photographed with the Canon 5D MKII, ISO 200, f/5.6, SS 1/100. OCF (Canon 580 EXII) camera right – TTL

The Ice Light is perfect because we can either hand hold the light for the most control over where the light is going, or if it’s just me on the session, there are threads at either end of it so it can be used on a light stand.  My husband Doug is usually with me on photo sessions (that’s him holding the Ice Light), so for these examples, Doug was holding the light.  But if there’s a need (and there often is) for a reflector, we can set up our light on the stand and Doug can hold the reflector on the other side of the subject to bounce the light back onto him or her.

Frameable Faces Photography High School Senior Picture

For our next model, we were at a really pretty river’s edge that had some really cool foliage around it.  This girl was more of an edgy senior and wanted some images that she’d be able to use for her comp card.  Again, our Ice Light came in handy.  We were using off camera flash again which was set up camera right (you can see it in the photo below).  The Ice Light was held up over her head and angled towards her hair to provide separation, as well as a little bit of back light.   The power on this almost weightless little light is incredible!  The light on Courtney’s hair and on her left shoulder is amazing.  It adds definition to her arms and gives me the separation that I needed for her hair and the background.

Westcott Ice Light on location
Photographed with the Canon 5D MKII, ISO 400, f/6.3, SS 1/100. OCF (Canon 580 EXII), camera right

 

I hope this gives you some ideas for this powerful little light – I highly recommend adding it to your lighting arsenal.  I’ll be doing another tutorial on using the Ice Light soon, so be on the look out.

 

Ally Cohen of Frameable Faces PhotographyAlly Cohen is a co-owner of Frameable Faces Photography with her husband Doug in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, MI.  Ally is the photographer and Doug handles the sales and marketing.  Ally and Doug have been in their retail studio space for almost 5 years and you can follow their blog here.  She lives in suburban Detroit with Doug, their two awesome kids, and their two cats.

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6 Comments

  1. October 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm —

    Never heard of this light, thanks for the info. Perfect for what I want. However, I want to know what the software was you used on the football senior. It is awesome. Thank you, Kathryn in Florida

    • October 25, 2013 at 6:57 am —

      Hey Kathryn!

      After the session, I narrow down the images in ProSelect (www.timeexposure.com). Then I import those files into Lightroom for some minor adjustments, if they’re needed. I finish the images in Photoshop. The filter that I used for the football player was a Topaz. I used the Topaz Adjust 5 filters for him. They’re a fantastic addition to my editing sets when I want to add some more drama to my final images.

      Please feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like me to show you how I go about my editing. I’d love to help you (or anyone else for that matter!) showcase exactly what your clients want! 🙂

  2. October 23, 2013 at 8:14 am —

    Great article. I am considering one of these over my Lowel ID. What is the battery life like please?
    Thanks

    Andrew

    • October 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm —

      Hi Andrew!

      I’ve never run the light all the way down to zero power, but from what I’ve read, the battery life on the ICE Light is 1.5 hours at full power. When we use it, it’s on full power, but as soon as we’re done with a particular set up, we turn it off to conserve battery. It’s lasted throughout all of our entire night time shoots by us using it that way.

  3. October 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm —

    As a beginner, I LOVE shooting at night and currently have 2 flashes. I love this light though! Is there a way for us beginners with low budgets to use something little less expensive?

    • October 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm —

      Hi Ariel!!!

      If you have a couple of Pocket Wizards or something like that, that could be an option, too. Especially if you have a couple of flash units! 🙂 Working at night is so much fun!!!!

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How to Light Your Subjects at Night with the Ice Light