DIY Dramatic Lighting for Portrait Photography

Dramatic photography is all in the lighting. Whether you use a DSLR or iPhone, capture a dramatic, well-lit portrait at home with this simple DIY ice light.

An ice light is a portable, dimmable, daylight balanced, LED light source that creates excellent portrait lighting, but can be pricey. Luckily, there's a way to create the same effects without breaking your wallet. Here's a short tutorial on how to make a DIY version at home for less than $30!


For more tips on using your own lighting in photography, check out the Skillshare class Portrait Photography Essentials: One Light Setups with New York-based photographer Justin Bridges.


Materials Needed

  • LED flashlight
  • Poster shipping tube
  • PVC coupling
  • Rubber band
  • Fluorescent bulb shield (This slides over a fluorescent bulb to prevent it from shattering)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Sandpaper


1. Take a poster shipping tube and cut the middle of the tube roughly by the size of 4 in. x 18 in. (0:09-0:21)
2. Cut through the center of a fluorescent bulb guard. Flatten it and sand the surface to give a translucent look (0:23-0:37)
3. Slide the fluorescent bulb guard on the poster shipping tube and tape it down (0:39-0:46)
4. Cover the end of the tube with aluminum foil and secure it with a rubber band (0:48-0:53)
5. Attach a flashlight to a flexible PVC Coupling, securing it tightly (0:55-1:03)
6. Slide the poster shipping tube through the PVC Coupling (1:06-1:11) and…
7. Voilà! You have your very own homemade ice light