I basically want to recreate this stock photo (might be a 3D rendering).

My current plan of action is to create fake acrylic ice cubes as found in this tutorial and put a piece of lemon in the molten beads right after I take it out of the oven. Would that work?

Any tips on lightning setup are also welcome.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ What's wrong with freezing a lemon into a icecube and then taking a picture of it? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2012 at 23:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm with Olin here...I'd follow the first part of that tutorial, and at the end, just fill it with water and a slice of lemon and drop it in the freezer. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Commented May 12, 2012 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop - it is extremely hard to get a nice, clear crystalline ice. Usually, the ice cubes come out turbid (cloudy). \$\endgroup\$
    – ysap
    Commented May 12, 2012 at 0:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also think about the colour of the lemon after 190 °C. The lemon would certainly preserve it's colour if frozen. I was also going to suggest filtered and boiled water, looks like it was already suggested so I'm commenting rather than answering. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBking
    Commented Nov 23, 2012 at 0:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, I'm almost positive the linked image is a photo of a lemon, but inserted into a digital ice cube. By all means, show us the results when you try! \$\endgroup\$
    – wedstrom
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 20:50

3 Answers 3


For clear ice cubes:

Use filtered water, not straight from the tap. Boil it and let it cool down. Boil it a second time and let it cool down. (this double boil gets rid of dissolved air in the water, which is a big source of haze) You may need to slow down the freezing by putting your ice mold inside a bigger tray filled with water - fast freezing from the outside in also contributes to haze. Now finish with your ice cube mold and drop the lemon in as planned.

Lighting you're on your own =) But I think a back light to shine through the lemon would make it pop even better than the stock photo you linked, and maybe a side light to catch the peel and give it texture.


Looks to me like it's lit, fairly brightly, from above at the back left. You don't need the light to be super bright if you have a tripod, because you can of course use a longer exposure.

Of course, use a light tent.


The shutterstock photo was clearly (!) made with a real lemon slice inside an acrylic "ice" cube. The process used is the same as that used to encase insects and dried flowers in crystal shapes for novelty trinkets such as key-chains and zipper pulls. After the cube was polymerized, it was polished and buffed to soften the edges and smooth the surfaces.

After that, it's a straight-forward dark-line high-key photo with a drop-out background.

We had a fitted case of cosmetically "perfect" acrylic ice cubes that cost many hundreds of dollars for shooting drinks in our prop room.


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