Lighting a car

Behind the Shot: Lighting a Car Through a Frozen Lake

by Barry Andersson1 Comment

Many people think that it costs a fortune to create beautiful images. Many times this is true that the more resources you have the better quality the end product will be.  However, this is the perfect example that shows that you are the greatest resource and your idea might be worth more than you can imagine.

This image was taken with about $300 in cost and a couple of fisherman.

Check out the lighting layout for the entire shoot.

– Divers light submerged below the ice behind the car to light the ice
– Camera, Photographer and an iPad and CamRanger to control the camera
– 1 Assistant to control the light beneath the ice
– 1 Assistant to use LED light to light the Front of the car
– 1 Assistant to use LED light to light the Rear of the car

That is all that was needed to capture this amazing image. The picture was taken on Siberia's Lake Baikal. The lake has extremely clear water so the frozen ice is more like glass. Add the fissures that naturally occur in the ice and you get an out of this world image.

So did it really cost only $300? Of course not. What did the photographer get paid? How much did they pay the assistants (or better yet what SHOULD they have paid the other 3 assistants)? How many years did they learn their craft? How did they find the lake? How many days did they location scout to find the location? How much did it cost to put everyone up in the middle of no where?

These are only a few of the questions that are always ignored in these types of stories. So I just wanted to make that clear.

On the flip side the idea and your talent is where your clients should be paying you for. If you charged $100,000 or more for this image then you maximized your value. If you spent $85,000 to capture the same image than you gave away money that you should be keeping. Find the balance and embrace your creativity. Do you have a video or still image where you caught lightning in a bottle? Did you use less than $500 to capture an image that looks like an image an ad agency would have paid for? Let us know. In the meantime-

Happy Shooting!

Behind the Shot: Lighting a Car Through a Frozen Lake

Via Pop Photo:

When Detroit hires the top-tier car photographers to produce promo shots for its Mustangs and Malibus, lighting budgets can top $100,000. Care to guess what it cost to light this awesome scene? About $300, and that included the services of two ice fishermen.

Behind the scenes Lighting of a car

The photographers shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 24mm f/1.4L II Canon EF lens. The exposure was 30 sec at f/4, ISO 400. Photo: Dmitry Chistoprudov and Nikolay Rykov


Pictured is a Chevy Cruze on Russia’s massive Lake Baikal in Siberia in mid-winter, and it was taken by Dmitry Chistoprudov and Nikolay Rykov, co-owners of a Moscow-based photo and video production company, Vostok. The car sits on meter-thick, fissured ice that, thanks to the lake’s clear water, resembles glass in its transparency. By drilling a hole through the surface—paging ice fishermen!—and submerging a diver’s flashlight below the car, the photographers could light the car from below. The aura-like glow around the vehicle and the illuminated fissures that streak through the surrounding ice like lightning bolts were created by moving the diver’s light during the 30 sec-exposure.

The take-away here? With a little creativity, magical lighting doesn’t have to break the bank.

Read full article at Pop Photo “Behind the Shot: Lighting a Car Through a Frozen Lake”

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from Pop Photo)


  1. “So did it really cost only $300?” – YES! We didn’t get paid, we didn’t pay the assistants (we travelled wiith friends)… and, most importantly, the Baikal lake is not in the middle of nowhere ))))

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