Introduction & studio overview

In this introductory chapter, Karl discusses some of the basic requirements for shooting advertising photography with regard to studio space, photography equipment, and useful accessories and lighting needed for shooting professional-quality advertising and product shots.

He shares some of the kit he has in his own studio, including a tool kit, custom-made stands for polyboards, different types of clamps for gripping and supporting items, and backgrounds. He also reveals one of the most important pieces of equipment for any studio photography: a scrim. You’ll learn how to make your own scrim in one of the following classes in this course.

Class objectives:

  • How to work in a small studio space
  • Controlling light in a small studio
  • Studio photography equipment
  • Studio lighting for professional photography

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comment section below.

NOTE: This class is available with English subtitles and automatic translations.


  1. You’re like the Jason Statham of Photography… I watch all your shows and keep waiting for you to be attacked by 10 bad guys and you kill them all with a Snoot……

  2. I am using my garage for my studio. I am shooting Portraits and Still Life. My garage is approximately 20’x20′. Thanks for the educational tools Karl and Staff!

    1. Thank you and glad to hear you are making the space work for you. We also have tips in our other classes about how to handle light in a smaller studio space.

  3. Hi Karl,

    after almost 10 years of pausing, I decided to start shooting again (as a hobby) and I’m building currently in the attic of my house a studio. The studio size will be approximately 5.5x10m, with three of the 4 walls angled.

    I’m not sure given the size of the studio if I should go with black or white walls and ceiling. I shoot mostly people/portraits but would also like to get a bit into product photography and videography.

    Can you give me any hint, that makes it easier to decide? Also, I guess the flash power should be sized accordingly to the decision.

    I’m planning to go with 2x600w and 2x1200w monoheads.

    Thank you!


    1. Hi Peter, If you paint everything black you’re stuck with it but it gives you amazing light control. However a white ceiling and white walls are extremely useful for portrait and product lighting. You will see in some of our portrait classes how to reduce a white studio to black when you need it. My recommendation is go all white and then rig up curtains or rails or wire around the walls and have the ability to either pull black fabric around when you need it or velcro in place etc. For the ceiling use double sided industrial velcro in white stick some on the ceiling and then buy some big black foam board panels which are super light weight and then tack those up to the ceiling when you need to. That way you have the benefit of white and the ability to turn it nearly all black too. Otherwise dark grey will reduce most of your light and leave the ceiling white and use the boards on the ceiling when you need to. A lot if it will also be how you feel about working in a black box or a white box day to day. I worked in a really small totally black studio once as an assistant (4x4m) and it felt quite opressive!

    1. Hi Daniel, I’m afraid we don’t really give out gear recommendations, especially on kit that we’ve never tested or used but I’ve heard of other people who are happy with those lights, I’d recommend you do some research.

  4. Karl, I noticed in a couple of your “product shot” videos, that you had what looked like a fulltime endless background wall… it doesn’t look like paper or vinyl, so was the wall designed like that?

  5. Hi Karl,

    Do you have any recommendations for lenses to use for product photography, particularly smaller and medium sized items?

    Thank you,
    Sarah 🙂

  6. Hi!

    First off, congratulations for the new Karl Taylor Education platform: it is very informational. I do not know if it is the right place to ask questions, so please forgive me if it’s not.

    I intend to build a small lighting kit to start honing my skills in product product photography: Can you please provide beginners like me some general guidelines to follow and some considerations to be aware of when buying lighting equipment?
    For instance, since product photography often requires smaller apertures and the lowest ISO, how much powerful the light must be to successfully do product photography, now and on the long run?

    Thank you very much and have a nice day.

    1. Hi Nathalie, 800J or above would be my choice. Grids, softbox, scrims to start with for product work. You’ll learn more in the product section about my best bits of kit. Thanks Karl.

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