Creative Advertising Photoshoot For Perfume

In advertising, perfume is often portrayed in ways that evoke a sense of elegance, class and style. After creating a simple yet elegant advertising shot of a bottle of the classic Chanel No. 5 perfume, Karl creates a second luxurious image.

Building from the ground up to create the desired lighting effect, Karl then demonstrates how, with creative thinking, it’s possible to achieve a number of different images with just minor adjustments.

This product photography class covers a number of precise lighting techniques that are needed to capture this stylish image as well as some stunning modifications to provide a few inspirational ideas for your own photography.

In this product photography class we cover the following:

  • Product photography: How to photograph a perfume bottle
  • Product photography tips
  • How to use multiple studio lights
  • Lighting setups for product photography
  • How to photograph liquids
  • How to creatively use the same background for different images


    1. Hi, I think I had them made at about 9cm x 4cm. With any of these things I would consider the product you are going to photograph and it’s size and then cut out some paper templates to scale to work out what will look good.

  1. Hi Karl, hope all’s well. I have a question about the black acrylic and the clear shaped piece fixed into it. What do you think about having a larger clear acrylic piece in the middle of the black acrylic sheet in the shape of a rectangular or square, and then cut a piece of black paper to stick underneath it, based on the shape of any specific product? It could then perhaps be used for more projects? Could this be a workable option? What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Mark I hope you are well too. Yes but that’s exactly what this is, it’s a large tray with a clear rectangle underneath big enough for large bottles etc and other projects. But I needed to make a tiled looking surface so I had the blocks cut to look like that and make the shape. You will see me use this tray for other things in our classes too.

  2. Hello Karl
    The lighting is beautiful but there total overkill with Photoshop with the water shot and bricks spacing
    Such manipulation in Photoshop is not photography. It is misleading
    The bricks should have a very slight bevelled edge or rounded off to give you the effect of spacing
    Easily done with fine sand paper at 45 degrees ( I made rig to do this )

    Instead of water, why dont you use Glycerine?
    Viscosity gives you surface tension and easier to control its flow
    To clean surfaces, always use Naphtha (lighter fluid) because it evapourates without a residue. I use it in all my lens and camera repairs!
    Never use Methylated Spirit on acrylic or painted surfaces!

    1. Hi Raj, Many of my classes feature no or very little PS work but it is completely correct to say that Photoshop and even CGI are part of today’s professional image production world, which is why we have a whole section dedicated to educating people about it. From a client’s perspective how you get to the result isn’t that important, only the result is important to them. In answer to some of your other comments; I didn’t want beveled edged blocks, Glycerine gives you viscosity but it also gives you a lot of mess to clean up in between each take, Methylated spirits works better than any other product I’ve ever tried on glass or acrylic. Finally the style of your comment here indicates that you have a master level of knowledge and that through them they it seems you are implying that your way is the only way and the correct way? Is that what you are trying to say or is it simply a translation misunderstanding? Kind regards Karl.

      1. Karl, you are my hero.
        You are a legend my friend when it comes to light. You are peerless. No question.
        I am a no body, a grumpy old cripple in a wheelchair since my motorcycle accident in 2016
        You totally misunderstood me.
        I apologise unreservedly for any confusion.
        Unfortunately I have you at a disadvantage
        I supply Pentax 6×7 and Mamiya 6×7 equipment to a number of pros in fashion including from agencies like CLM and LGA. I also service cameras and lenses for many (used Naphtha to clean for past 35 years!).
        Prada, Hermes, Dior, Drakes, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Nike are few examples of brands that have an “unofficial” non digi policy since October 2018. Most their campaigns are shot on film.
        Hence I must respectfully disagree strongly that Photoshop and CGI are part of image production world.
        There is also very serious legal implications in respect of “misrepresentation” and “passing off”
        This partly led top brands to switch back to film
        You have massive skill. You are more than capable to do shots in camera.
        You do one light challenges.
        But why dont you do “no Photoshop” challenge?
        Or “film” challenge?
        I love you big man.
        Maximum respect always.

        1. Isn’t all product photography manipulation of some sort? When using any additional lighting, that’s manipulation. It’s all about what the client expects, and what is possible to deliver. So photoshop and lighting, even lenses, all are in the same mix. Just my opinion in case the Photoshop police are close by.

        2. Hi Raj, I understand what you mean and thank you for the clarification. However there are many brands that are perfectly accepting of post production work so it is necessary for us to teach these elements in a multi-disciplined platform such as ours. You will find many live shows where I accomplish the best result possible in camera and I hope you enjoy them. Just let me know if you have any questions.

  3. Hey Karl.. not quite sure where to ask this question other than here. If there is some other place I should ask.. just mention it.

    It doesn’t have to do with this shoot. You have a top down shot on your website of a Prada bottle set in a hole of some kind of powder. I’ve seen shots with this type of powder in various ways, some in different colours, but usually white or light gray. The powder has a consistency like cement powder or some makeup powders where it seems to hold its shape. What is that powder?

    1. Hi Gary, I will email you the answer as we don’t make all of our info available in this public visible forum. Some of it is just for members.

  4. Hi Karl,

    what can you recommend as an alternative to broncolor Picolite Projection Attachment? Unfortunately broncolor is no longer available. I have a Profoto flash system, but there is currently no suitable attachment.

    Kind regards from Hamburg, Germany.

    1. Hi Jan, the Picolites are still available to my knowledge? I’m not aware of an alternative for Profoto I’m afraid although I’ve heard there are some independent brands attachements.

  5. Dear Karl and team,
    I’m new here and I have just fallen in love! You are a powerful team with a wonderful master.
    Thanks again for this amazing learning experience.
    Best regards from Roma, Stella

  6. Once again a great show.

    Really like the way you take us through all steps one by one, and not missing to mention smallest of details.
    Since ( since is hardly 2 months ) I have joined KTE, have learnt great deal of information about lights, lighting and photography overall.
    Thanks Karl for putting together all the information.

  7. Thank you Karl for this great course! I’ve recently joined and I hope to learn more of these courses.

  8. Hi Karl,

    as always great explanation, being attentive to every little detail and of course superb results!

    At the end when you used the knives to create the waves in the water I was wondering why you don’t drop some water (really only some tiny drops for not creating a mess on the bottle) or using a hairdryer from different direction to create the effect?
    A hairdryer directly from above I could imagine a very nice effect on the surface of the water.

    Regards from Italy!

  9. I recently saw someone painting a transparent acrylic sheet black and realized – that would be perfect for creating the window used here. Just mask out the bottle shape and spray paint the rest of the transparent sheet black.

    Totally waterproof and a lot less work, will try this soon.

    1. Hi David, that seems like a good idea. It’s just that I use mine for a variety of other products such as bottles too. I can just mask around with black tape and then don’t need to buy more sheets.

  10. Great Work ! As the standard black and while surfaces get more common, I see this type of solution endless in giving new design looks. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hi Karl,

    Great Video again, loving the series.

    Was the bubble an important part of the image? why?


    1. Hi Tiaan, yes I think the bubbles were an important part of the image as it subliminally tells us that we are looking at liquid, if the bottle was completely full and there was no bubble it might look more like a solid block and not as delicate as a perfume should.

  12. Thanks Karl for the information about the tray,I wanna get one exactly the same is yours,please can you tell me the exact size off the transparent hall in the middle ? Regards,Paul

    1. Hi Paul, it’s 30x15cm but I have to say I think that is the wrong way of thinking about it. Product photography is about solving problems and creating solutions so you need to consider what you are going to use it for and design it to suit. The size I created measures slightly taller and wider than a bottle of wine as that’s what I anticipated as being the largest thing I might shoot and need to back illuminate, but I may have got my measurements wrong or not thought about other possibilities. You really should be coming at this from a ‘what problem do I need to solve’ position and work from there as that is the most important thing. For example what do you anticipate shooting most, for example if it’s only perfume then a smaller clear patch would be better as it can be tricky too mask the remaining clear space out of the shot. I hope you understand what I mean by this as it’s imperative in product and advertising photography to design solutions based on the problem.

      1. I really appreciate this response. I have a small den that doubles as my office and studio. It’s a challenge to shoot in, but it has forced me to figure out challenges such as having the product lower to the ground to ensure my scrim is high enough to produce the right light. All of my lighting gear is third-party and very (very) low cost, which I’m okay with right now as I need to learn the properties of light, first, before I worry about getting the best gear. Thanks again for the motivation!

        1. Thank you and congratulations for thinking of things in a problem solving way as that is the route to successful results.

  13. Hi Karl,can you please tell me the size off this beautiful working table and the size off the transparent hole and off course the thickness off the table? Thank you,Regards,Paul

    1. Hi Paul, I had this made to 1.1m square. The hole is about the same size as a bottle of wine, which I figured might be the biggest item I want to illuminate through it (but you can think of what you might want to shoot for the size). It’s not a table it is resting on my two studio blocks, the acrylic is 5mm thick, and the sides are about 30mm high, but again it depends on how much water you want in the tray and what you might use it for. I just get things made to suit what I think they need to be.

  14. Great images Karl!. One non technical question, I see you invested building that acrylic set and took a quite amount of time until to got the shots and post-work.
    From a comercial stand, how much would you charge Chanel for that 1 image? just to give me an Idea
    Thanks again

    1. Two days preparation fee, plus two days work (day rate), half day post work. Plus possible usage fees. Please see business section and apply my rates to that information.

      1. Thank you Karl, yes, I appreciate your details in the business section, just wanted to get a feel for this specific job since I noticed there was allot of pre-work
        Thanks again Sir

  15. Hi Karl

    Great shoot, really enjoyed that. Love the control you get with the Pico lights and projecting attachment. As I mentioned on your Twitter feed, I liked the random brick result best. Was also great to see the variety of shots you got from one set up.


  16. hi Karl,

    I want just to ask about the neutral density Gel, how many stops dose it reduce and I want the exact name of the gel.


  17. Stunning results (and patience on your part)!

    How on earth did the sign shop precision cut all the mating irregular bottle tiles in Plexiglass to match up perfectly… CNC maybe? Price of the background probably made the cost of the perfume look like a bargain!

  18. I was waiting for this one.
    Again not disappointed !
    Great level of explanation, with clear words and easy to understand even for non native english person.
    Regards from France

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