Photographing Clear Liquid Bottles (Gin/Vodka)

In this live photography show, Karl shows you how to light and photograph clear bottles such as gin and vodka.

When it comes to photographing clear bottles, the process couldn’t be simpler. Watch as Karl shows you step by step how to photograph clear bottles.

Simple steps for photographing clear bottles:

  • Prepare the bottle – This includes cleaning the bottle and creating controllable condensation
  • Select the background and base surface – These will have a big impact on your overall image
  • Light the product – This can be done using just a few lights with basic modifiers
  • Photograph the bottle – Determine your composition and camera settings

Karl explains how to achieve perfect condensation to create that cold, desirable look, which backgrounds and base surfaces work best, and how to light the product using just two lights. He also shows you how to incorporate additional lights to further enhance your shot, highlighting the label and reducing unwanted shadows.

You’ll learn the best techniques for photographing clear bottles from a professional with more than 20 years in the industry and how you can recreate this setup easily and effectively yourself.

To learn more about bottle photography, take a look at our Live Whisky Photography Workshop and Wine Bottle Product Lighting classes. You can also find more instruction on creating your own perfect condensation in our The Perfect Pint & Condensation Cold Look class.

If you have any questions about this show, please use the comment section below.


  1. I have made projection attachment to fit Bowens S Mount which allows you to use a “S Type” adapter to use speedlights as well. I can modify for Profoto or Broncolor as well.

  2. Karl, you are a genius with lighting. If I use speedlights can I go with 3mm frosted acrylic? Obviously opacity impacts the power of the light. I use speedlights because my set up is almost a mobile studio, I can shoot on location.

    1. Hi Raj, yes you should be OK with 3mm acrylic. If you are using it as the background behind the bottle then it is better if it is frosted acrylic on the side facing the camera so that you don’t get reflections from the surface from your side lighting. Also if your speedlite is the background light and it is a rectangle shape speedlite then you may need to create a round hold through black card with a piece of diffusion material so that the light coming through the acrylic looks like a circle.

  3. Thanks for another awesome video tutorial, Karl! One question that I had when you were describe the model light that Ashley was putting into position and controlling was this: What purpose does the flash serve in a shot for which the same model light provides continuous light? That was confusing to me. Remember, I’m a beginner.

  4. Hi Karl – I’m doing some studio shopping and noticing that the acrylic sheets are super expensive. £79 for
    size A0… and I think the ones you use are about A0 + 50%! so must be £100+ a go? Any tips on where to source these? If i’m going to get a good selection to play with, this is going to be some serious $$

    Thanks Karl!

  5. Great tutorial. Full of fantastic tips. May I ask what the dimensions are of the frosted acrylic sheet? I think you said the thickness was 5mm but missed the length and width. It just seems like the perfect size for starting out using that material.

  6. Hey Karl, used the varnish, sprayed on the liquid glucose (in Canada, it is a Crown product called lily white corn syrup). Prepped several glasses, a beer bottle and a Vodka bottle. I started with the vodka which is a local product, nice frosted glass with ink printed directly onto the glass. A couple things I noticed.. I sprayed on nice drops, but in photographing them, I felt they looked a too slight.. almost unnoticeable. I decided to add additional spray and increased their size which seemed to present no issues. Frankly, I thought the drops needed to look too much to the eye, so when they were photographed they appeared more natural. That surprised me a little because as I assumed what I can see would be captured true. However, I think the frosted nearly white glass was the issue. It presented some real issues to light. I tried many positions with the lights (the back light behind frosted plexiglass, side lights with and without soft boxes/scrim, plus a top light snooted), yet the bottle persisted in looking somewhat opaque. I was trying to give it that feeling of glow, plus I wanted the best definition on the drops giving them a 3D pop. Because of the frosting, would you approach the bottle lighting from behind a little differently? I few places on the bottle looks wicked, but in other places less so. I posted on instagram

    1. I’d say the results are looking good. I’d probably want a bit more contrast in the bottle in regards to the central glow and then the fall of on the sides of the bottle. This is controlled from the intensity of fall of in the background and how quick it goes dark out to the sides, distance of the subject from the background also has an effect.

      1. I tried a slightly different approach using a dark background and a silver card behind picking up some light bounced from the side. With the frosted glass this gave me more control on the contrast within the bottle. Instagram:
        Since the Vodka is called Shadow in the Lake, I added a puddle of water on the stainless to liquify the reflection, although much of it is outside the crop in that image. And I added a light, less glow and more hinting at a spotlight casting a shadow on the background .. seemed to fit the brand. I should have this convo on facebook group.. but I thought I would keep this subject string intact.

  7. hello sir , if i don’t have a scrim like you to diffuse, can i use acrylic sheet as a substitute of scrim?

  8. Hi Karl – Just joined and having watched this tutorial would like to know if a piece of Silver/Mirrored Acrylic/Perspex would work instead of the polished metal sheet.


  9. Hey Karl. How are you? I have a huge doubt about lights and If you can answer two things about it and make clear for me I will be really thanksfull. ✌️
    I’m planning to start my own business of product photography (E-commerce & Still) and product video but I don’t have a huge budget to get start and I wanna get the right lights like this I could work in photography and video without problem.
    My huge doubt is
    If I take continuous lights for video and for E-Commerce, could I use the continuous light for the still photography? One example for make this Absolut picture. Could I make this one with continuous light too?
    I know the continuous lights are not strong as flashes but I’m trying to at least for the begin buy 3 continuous lights 200w for work with all 3 types of job together. (E-commerce, Still, video and maybe 360) can it work?
    Thanks ✌️

    1. Hello Guigo,

      I thought about this often. Of course, the consensus is that strobes are much more powerful than continuous lights. But, I still couldn’t relate.

      So, I put my aputure 300d at 100% power, with the included reflector, and took a picture of a bottle, from 3 to 5 feet away, in the studio. I left shutter speed at 1/60, and closed my aperture until I had what I thought was a good exposure; closed to 7.1 on a 35mm camera. ISO stayed at 100.

      I then repeated with a 400w strobe and with the aputure reflector. This time, to shoot at 100% power, everything else being equal, I left the aperture at 7.1 and I reduced the shutter speed until I got the same ballpark of exposure as the aputure 300d. I had to turn High-speed sync on. I counted 5 stops of shutter speed (from 1/60 to 1/2000).

      For me, while not ‘scientific’ it gave me the comfort level knowing that a 400w strobe is 5 stops brighter than a 300w continuous led.

      I hope that helps!

      1. Thanks a lot man. ✌🏼 I really aprecciate it. In the end i took 3 GODOX FV 200 (continuous) and 2 GODOX DP 600 III. (Strobe). Now i’m kind of in the safe zone and i think is pretty much enough to start. ✌🏼 Thanks a lot

      1. Hi Barry, is this question for Guigo or me, as I’m unsure what big A on the bottle you are referring to.

    2. Hi Guigo, I’m good thank you. You wouldn’t me able to make the absolut splash style shot with continuous light, well not to the highest quality, but you can use good continuous lights for still life work, but you need to work in a darkened studio space. There are some extremely powerful LED lights from Apurture that I could make work for splash still shots if I was using them through scrims but there would still be limitations. Check these videos to for more info:

  10. Hi there, sorry for the silly question but I am not able to find any Frosted acrylic sheet for 5mm, could you link a possible source? i am only finding 3mm or perspex opal but not sure if the effect could be the same….


  11. Hi Karl,
    I really love product photography, getting into it more and more, thanks for all your work.
    My question :
    I find the text reflected on the metal going a bit strange.
    Could we have a straight text ? like without distortion?
    It’s this coming from the position of the bottle?

    I hope that I am clear enough, I don’t have the words in english.

      1. Oui, bonsoir Karl, nous pouvons parler français, oui oui 🙂

        I speak about the text of the bottle reflected on the metal.
        It started around 1:16:30, when you switch bottle, the text reflected is strecht (IMPORTED), and then around 1:31:50, if you look the reflexion on the down part of the pic, on the Bombay bottle, I have the feeling that the reflexion of the bottle on the right side is curve and not straight anymore.
        Is it coming from the position change of the camera, a different angle with the metal ? or from the ND filter , I guess not.

        Merci beaucoup et bonne soirée

        1. Bonjour Cecile, mon français n’est pas terrible, assez pour comprendre mais je ne pouvais pas parler de politique! Ma femme est française donc elle peut traduire si nécessaire

          The distorted reflection is simply because the metal had a dent or bump in it.

          1. Merci pour votre réponse, et bonjour à votre femme
            Always take a metal without bump then,
            And I would like to say thank you to share your knowledge in a so nice way. I hope one day I will master the light like you do.

  12. Hi Carl.

    Why is your back so bluish? When i tried to shoot some today it got gray background it it looks very simulary. Is your background plate so much bluer then standard?

    And how would you make background a little more blue as it’s a nice colour contrast to yellow. Would you just gel you light ? If so how would you control that the light wont’t get to strong blue?

    1. Hi Per, I noticed with this particular sheet of acrylic it had a bluer tinge, this was a frosted sheet of acrylic that maybe just had a slight tint to it but it wasn’t intentional but yes adding a very weak blue gel on the light would give you the same result.

  13. HI
    I was the assistant back in the late 80s working with the photographer on Absolut advertising.
    I can reveal the actual techniques to shoot the ads. I know this is a generic tutorial, but I can say the techniques and materials used are quite different and specific than what you are showing. You can never duplicate the look and feel of the ads without the actual materials and equipment used.
    What you are showing is correct for a generic bottle shot, but not how it was actually done.
    Just FYI

    1. Thanks for the info, it would be great to hear your story on how they approached it. Every photographer is different and I know the Absolut shots have been shot by a number of different photographers over the years and some of it now CGI. All the best Karl.

      1. I apologize. I meant to type I can NOT reveal the techniques. But if you go to the photographers website you can see BTS on some of the images we worked on.
        Look carefully and you may see what was done.
        Bear in mind this was film and everything was captured on a one sheet of film.

  14. Hi Karl,
    You tutorials are excellent and I continue to strive for a great photos. I am not sure if this was discussed in your tutorial but how do you normally resolve clear bottles with etched text behind the bottle. The text in my photos are distorted and taking away from a clean photograph. Any information would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi, if it’s etched into the glass then that is a physical problem that can not be resolved ‘in camera’ alternatives would be to find a similar shape clear bottle and have it as a ‘stand in’ for one shot and to use that area as a comp in photoshop.

  15. Hi Karl,

    Other than being really sticky, is there any issues to using the glucose spray to a person to simulate sweat beads? Or is there a better option?

    Also, with the glucose spray, is it possible to create “running” condensation (like a water drop that has slid down the bottle)?

    1. Hi Squiggle, I don’t think the person would thank you for it! 🙂 Yes you could but for people I usually use water in a spray bottle then have a towel nearby to wipe off and spray again.

  16. Bonus content we learnt from this live show: Karl is not only an overwhelming light manipulator, also a lovely father and a sweet mentor.
    All these features surely contribute to greatness of his images.
    Ash, you have such a teacher, all of us dreaming to be there with you!
    All the best 🙂

  17. Hi Karl

    I have the Broncolor Siros lights, can you get a projection attachment that fit these that would work?

    Many thanks

  18. Hi Karl
    I became addicted to your website, I spend more than 5h sometimes per day, I am really happy that I joined you in time, so thank you very much for the value of the information you give.
    My question is, what background did you use because the results are awesome.
    Many Thaks
    Oussama Mazouz

    1. Hi Oussama, this was acrylic plastic sheet. You can use the opal glossy type but this one was the frosted type so it has a matt finish but is still semi transparent, you can get it from plastic suppliers or sign service companies.

  19. Hello Karl,
    Thank you for this great website.
    How do you get this blue tint in your image ? Is it you white balance ?
    Thank you

    1. Hi, yes it’s a combination of the white balance but also this particular frosted diffusion has a slight blue tint.

      1. Hi Karl,
        Thank you so much for all your courses. I’m addicted!
        On a business point of view, what is the price for such a Bottle picture and how much time do you need to produce it?
        Best Regards,

        1. Hi Guillaume, thank you I’m glad you are enjoying our classes. I could turn this shot around in about an hour if I really had to but different bottle might need some slight lighting changes and this would be a basic version of the shot. The pricing for it could vary dramatically if you were doing them for pack shots or e-commerce or if you were doing it for an advert where everything had to be perfect. Please see our business section for guides or photography rates/pricing. Cheers Karl.

  20. Hello Karl, many thanks and appreciation for making these informative sessions available online. I also appreciate the fact that you have taken much-needed pride in providing your students with sensible information.

    I have an engineering background with a keen interest in enhancing my photography skills as well. Looking forward to staying on course as I seek to expand my knowledge in this evolving field.

  21. Hi Karl,

    I have a question about the plexiglas being used; is this clear frosted or opal frosted? My supplier has both and i’m not sure which one to purchase.


    1. Hi the background in this one was frosted, I don’t know if it was clear frosted or opal frosted, I’d say it was probably clear frosted as it doesn’t look like the opal, it’s a bit bluer. I use opal not frosted for lots of things too and it could have even been used as the background for this shot as long as no light was going to reflect off the surface as a highlight back into the camera.

  22. Can we use a strip light without a scrim/diffuser in front of it , for the background light ? If not , what could be the complications ?

    1. Hi Jaspreet, if you are talking about the light coming through the background behind the bottle then you will end up with the vertical strip shape of glow and not a round one behind the bottle, so it would really depend on whether that’s what you wanted or not.

  23. Hi Karl,

    Really enjoy these live classes, very insightful, thank you. I have got two questions, first if this was a commissioned job, is it standard practice to hand over all the raw files to the client, or only the selected hero shots. Second, nice tip on your condensation, I’ve been taught at school to spray oil for beer shots. Is that something that you ‘d consider?


    1. Hi Maggie, I’ve not heard of the oil before? In answer to your questions no generally I’d be handling the retouch in house or sending a partially prepared file to the retoucher. I don’t often give a raw file to the client unless I know the retoucher they will be using and that they have a good understanding of the process.

  24. Would you be able to recommend a similar projection attachment for a Bowens-mount monolight?

    1. Hi Enrico, I’m afraid I don’t know of any but there are some independent brands out there that fit other brands.

  25. Hi Karl.

    Hope you are keeping well. I joined the site about three weeks ago and have pretty much lived on it ever since. I am 55 and have spent most of my working career as a photographer living in a world where most top professionals kept their skills and methodology a closely guarded secret. It’s so nice to find a master craftsman who is prepared to share such incredible knowledge, so a big thank you.

    I would just like to ask a quick question about the liquid glucose / clear artist varnish process for achieving the condensation effect. I went on the internet to try and acquire the artist clear varnish and am given options of matt, satin and gloss finish. Normally as a photographer I would steer away from a gloss finish product and go for the matt, but just wanted to check that this applied here, or doesn’t it matter which I go for? Many thanks – John

    1. Hi Jonny, thank you for your comments and I’m glad you are enjoying the platform. With regards the varnish I just checked the two cans I have in the cupboard one is satin and the other is gloss and they’ve both been used before so I don’t think it matters too much. If you were only going to get one then probably go for satin as it is between the other two. Cheers Karl.

  26. Hi Karl, where do you get those scrim rolls from? I’m assuming it’s essentially tracing paper and can’t seem to find any of a decent length.

    Also, for the 5mm frosted Perspex, will any frosted perspex to it? Or are some suppliers/brands better – I’m thinking in terms of neutrality and potential shifts in colour temp…

    Excellent tutorials BTW!

    1. Hi thanks for your comments. The rolls are photography diffusion material it comes on rolls from Lee Filters, it’s used a lot in the film industry. The perspex comes from Sign Service companies or plastic suppliers. The standard white opal is usually neutral some of the frosted ones look a bit blue to me.

      1. Hi Karl why do you use lee rolls filter 216 instead of 129 heavy frosty?

        Should heavyweight translum get more nice gradient even if the stop of loss is major than other type of scrim?

        Thanks in advance

        1. Actually my favourite is 400Lux but it’s only marginally better than 216 (partially because it’s more durable) but it’s more expensive and I go through a lot of stuff. 129 Heavy frost doesn’t create as nice a gradient and I don’t know about translum as I’ve never used it.

  27. I have a question about Broncolor RF triggers. I frequently find that one or more of my lights won’t fire though I haven’t changed anything between the lights working and then one or more failing. I have never had this problem with ProFoto. More specifically, I have two Siros L lights. If I use the sync cable on one, it always works. If instead I use the RF trigger for both, sometimes they will both fire for awhile, then they won’t, and then they start firing again. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed on my end from them working, not working, then working again.

    Sometimes, I will add a sync cable to one light, then add another light. That requires the RF trigger. I think that it is when one is synced with a cable and the other connected by RF, this happens more often but the reason I do it at all is because I’ve had the RF fail on both, so I add the sync cable to get at least one light functioning.

    Do you have any idea what might cause this behaviour?

    1. Hi, Yes this has happened to me and I’m not sure why, I thought it was the battery running low but when I press the test button it seems to work so I think it is more to do with the signal from the camera to the hot shoe to the trigger but I need to look into this more and speak to them. If I find out I’ll come back to you.

  28. Keylor in this explanation used the same distribution of lighting, but I put two clark panels whose color is white and I did not reach the same result, which caused your opinion, and what is the best way to avoid the pairing of light with the product

  29. Hi Karl,

    I have another question regarding measurements:

    a. Thanks for the answer regarding the thickness, but what are the other measurements of your polished metal sheet? It looks to be about 2ft by 3ft. Also, (19:30 min into the video) you mentioned that the only complaint that you have about the polished metal sheet is that you would like to have it wider. How much wider would you like to have it? I will have my sheets cut that way if I know of a better size.

    b. What are the measurements for the acrylic my guess is 2 1/2 ft by 4 ft. Im I correct?

    Regards, Victor

    1. Hi Victor, Yes I would have preferred 3ft x 3ft for the polished metal for single bottles but on occassion the narrower one is useful if you want to get the lights closer. I have a acrylic in lots of different sizes for this reason. I can’t say there is any one best size as every job is different and we keep lots of sizes, I’d say I’m commonly using 4ft by 4ft thought but I have bigger and smaller and lots of different colours and textures.

  30. Hi Karl,
    Greetings from San Francisco.


    1. I just visited a large metal company, who sells the polished metal sheets. But they only sell in 4 x 8 foot sheets and in various thicknesses. They want to know what thickness I want. Customers are not allowed to walk through the warehouse due to safety rules. So, I couldn’t do it by eyesight or feel. (The 4 by 8 sheet is fine) I just need to get the thickness right.

    Can you tell me what thickness are your polished metal sheets?

    2. Regarding the Frosted Acrylic. My local plastic supplier, wants to know if I want 40% or 60% frosted. Can you please recommend which one for me to purchase? My guess is by your video is 60%.


    1. Hi Vernon, hello from the UK.
      1. My sheets are quite thin probably about 2mm, they bend and dent very easily, it won’t matter if you go for thicker it will probably just be more expensive.
      2. Again this doesn’t really matter as long as they diffuse the light into a ball. The 60% will diffuse more quickly so is the best bet.
      Cheers Karl.

      1. To make it all clear now. I contacted the Technical Service Mangager at Perspex and asked him for the transmission value of the Perspex Polar White S2 030 with a 5 mm thickness. It is round about 45 % . So if you have to buy an alternative product, ask the supplier for a milky/opal white one, frosted on both sides, with a transmission value of 45 %. This corresponds to a 55 % light absorption which is a 1.15 light loss in f-stops.

        If you need a faster light fall off, than go for less transmission values (thicker plates), for a smoother light fall off, go for slightly higher transmission value (thinner plate).

        I hope, that helps.

      2. Hi Karl!
        I also tried to find the right frosted perspex, as there are several types of frosted Perspex in their catalogue. I did some research during the last hour.

        The 40 or 60 % Vernon is asking for refer to the light transmissive characteristics of the product. It is important to understand that in the products data sheets they always refer to the light transmission and not to light absorption.

        The link you provided somewhere else in this blog leads to the Polar White S2 030 frosted Perspex. The Polar White S2 030 has a light transmission of 60 %. A 40 % product would then transmit less light and as such diffuse light quicker. The Lee 216 for example has a light transmission of 36 % which is much denser than the Perspex Polar White S2 030.
        What I figuered out so far: if one cannot find the exact same product you are using (Perspex Polar White S2 030) and has to look for an alternative manufacturer of acrylic glass: ask the supplier for: neutral white (not clear), light transmission plus/minus 60 %, depending on how fast you want to have the fall off, frosted on both sides. For german speakers: frost, satiniert, mattiert are synonyms.
        And now I am going to find a supplier here in Austria to order what I just figuered out during the last hour.
        Greetings from Vienna

          1. Hi Karl. Just to be sure. You provided a link to your supplier of the frosted perspex. This link leads to the Perspex Pastel Polar White S2 030. Is this the exact plate you are using? Because there is also the Pastel Crystal Clear S2 000. I would help a lot if you could clarify which of the two possible ones you use.
            Thanks a lot for your help. We love you all for sharing your knowledge!

          2. Hi Herwig, I’m afraid I’m not sure I have so many different sheets of perspex and some of my frosted ones are quite old as they last a long time given that I only use them to diffuse the light as backgrounds and they are not close up in the shot. I go through a lot of white and matt gloss as base surfaces because they scratch easily but again I just ask my local sign company to deliver and they’ve not specified the type, sometimes it’s different brands which I can see from the peel of protective material. Once I needed a brown/grey tinted frosted background and they sold it in clear for boat windows so I had it sand blasted on both sides to make it frosted. You can also apply frosted film to the normal ones (but not as good as frosted). I do know that the frosted that I use tends to be a little blue colour cast. Most suppliers will send you sample packs of smaller pieces to test. I hope this helps.

  31. Great video! I am struggling to get the opal frosted acrylic and the polished stainless steel sheet in Australia (that isnt a really small size). Just spent 45 minutes on eBay with no luck. Do you know any suppliers or other search terms? I have tried opal frosted acrylic sheet / polished stainless steel sheet .

    1. Hi Anis, any plastic supplier or sign surface company will have frosted acrylic/perspex. Alternatively you can use the normal white gloss opal acrylic and ask the sign company to put window frost sticker on it. For the polished stainless steel you’ll have to try metal work shops if your hardware store doesn’t stock it. The other option can be acrylic mirrors.

  32. Hello Karl, about frosted acrylic i’m wondering if is this sheet Opal Frosted with 60% to 70% light transmission or is Clear Frosted with 80% to 90% light transmission?thanks indeed

  33. Hi Karl,

    I watched two of your tutorials (one on Youtube and the other live) photographing glass bottles.

    The first one (Balvenie whiskey) you used a seamless white background paper lit it up with a flash head fitted with a filter. In the second shoot (Absolut Vodka) you used a frosted acrylic background illuminated from behind using a bare bulb fitted with a frosted dome. So here are my questions:

    1. In the Absolut Vodka shoot, is the acrylic frosted on both sides?
    2. Did the use of frosted acrylic replace the technique of using a seamless background paper for all your shoots of this type, or are there situations where you would use one technique over the other (seamless vs frosted)?

    Thank you for any insight in this respect!

    1. Hi Ed,
      1. Yes
      2. The look of the gradient is different with acrylic and is better for certain shots, especially if I need to create a complete circle. The paper technique can be a problem if the paper has ripples but works well if you use a flat wall or board. I use the flat wall on model/fashion shoots and many whisky shots where I want a coloured wall, like brown etc.

      1. Hello Karl, thank you your reply! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience on the craft. I truly enjoy how well you present the subject matter and your step by step approach in building the set! Keep up the good work!

      1. Hi Karl. Sorry I forgot you use different lights to myself. I use the Godox AD600 do you know if they will fit these or there are any available. Thanks for your time . Merry xmas to you and your team. Great learning platform

        1. Hi Wayne, here is a link to the broncolor protective domes, I think the ones for their Siros lights are smaller than the others but I’m afraid I don’t know the exact sizes without measuring them, also their would need to be something on the Godox to hold them in place as their is a small spring loaded pin and edge that keeps these domes secured.

  34. Hi Karl

    I agree with you when you said that you should remove any back label of glass bottle so based on that , do you have an idea how to remove the back label for some soft drinks as they are printed hard on the same bottles ?
    I tried to remove it by using a scalpel but without any benefit, it really sounds annoying during shoot


    1. Hi if it’s printed directly to the glass, depending on the process you may not be able to remove it. Ask the manufacturer or client to provide you it without it on the back.

  35. I Karl, I’ve seen this workshop and the others of the red wine and whisky. All of them are very nice, thank you.

    Now I have a doubt on one specific situation, which tecnique would you use if you have to shoot a dark bottle with clear liquid, like a champaign bottle or some white wine bottles?

    1. Hi Pedro, you would use the same technique as for our live whisky and other whiskey tutorials but with a silver card for the bottle

  36. Thanks Karl for your amazing tutorials, first I’m from Egypt so we speak Arabic and i hope one day you have Arabic subtitles because alot of my friends want to join your school but they can’t understand english for me actually it’s okay. Second can i use white acrylic sheet instead of the frosted one i see u sometimes use white also because i found the frosted one is very rare in my country and also what the difference between the white and the frosted one to know when to use each one… thank you

    1. Hi, and hello to you in Egypt, I have visited many times for diving, love the Red Sea and the Egyptian people are always very helpful. just so you know we have english subtitles if that helps your friends! Yes you can use the white acrylic instead you just have to be careful with light facing it because it is glossy you may get a light reflecting like a mirror, but if your lights are in a good position then no problem.

  37. Thanks Karl, Loving these tutorials and learning lots whilst having fun, I am a newborn photographer and looking at different genres to push me out of my comfort zone. I do enjoy the way you explain everything its easy to follow 🙂

    PS: I love your studio space.

  38. Karl,

    Not relevant to this particular product photography, but is there chance that you would ever do clothing photography with mannequin or models? If not, some pointers would greatly help.


  39. Hi Karl, I noticed in some of the tutorials, that it seems you more often adjust the stops of light versus the aperture on the camera. When I did a short mentor program with a local photographer about 3 years ago, he seemed to have me do the opposite. So I guess my question would be, when do you adjust the aperture to bring in less or more light, versus adjusting the lights? (I hope I am making sense.) I just want to understand this. Thank you so much, and I am learning so much from you. I am glad you are doing all of this! Tamarah

    1. Hi Tamarah, I would always adjust the light if you can. The reason being that the aperture also controls the depth of field and the look and feel of the shot. Therefore we should be deciding what aperture we want to use for a certain look and then adjusting the light to suit the aperture when possible.

  40. Karl,
    I have always had a hard time making myself sit down and watch tutorials, to further my education and knowledge. I have found that since I have started watching yours, my creativity level has increased and I am excited about photography again! Thanks so much for all that you and your team are doing.

    Sam from Texas

  41. Hi Karl

    Hello from Australia
    Loved this. Product photography is one of the areas i want to get into. this is a great video to show how to light a product and the benefits of great lighting.

    Thank you

  42. Hey Karl,
    I’ve been trying to find an equivalent to the projector attachment for the picolite. From what I gather is that the two specific characteristics are the ability to focus and the vilify to use 4 blades to shape the light pattern.
    Do you know if a version exists for Bowen’s mount or profoto mount strobes? Perhaps from another brand?

    1. Hi Kryn! Karl already showed an alternative in one of his live sessions on portrait photography recently. I also had that problem to find one. Karl used in that live session a projection attachment branded with PixaPro. In UK you can find them at Karl was not very happy with the PixaPro attachment because he complained about the missing adjustable blades.

      The good news. There are blades available, but always out of stock at essentialphoto. In the mean time I own three of the projection attachments, one shutter blade insert, and one adjustable iris diaphragm, which is very useful as well.

      One projection attachment I ordered at essentialphoto, two of them via ebay directly in China. Two more sets of shutter blades I ordered right now at AliExpress. The blades for the e-mount version of the attachment are actually difficult to find. Right now the only way to get them is at AliExpress.

      Inserting the blades into its place in the projection attachment is a real pain. But once you manage to do so, it works. I can light things I could not before, for example labels on bottles. This helps really a lot.

      I use it with my Profoto strobes. You need at least a 500 Ws strobe. Would not recommend using it with halogen modelling light, and if just for the short time of adjusting the blades.

      If you want to use it on Profoto, I would recommend that you buy any mount you can get for a reasonable prize and buy the Profoto Adapter via Ebay directly in China. You have to buy the Profoto Adapter with an outer diameter of 135 mm.

      All I ordered in China I got within 3-4 weeks.

      Hope that helps. If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to contact me. Even if it is not the Picolight High End Gear, with the chinese stuff you can do things others cannot without having it.

    2. Hi Kryn, yes it is a lens system that focus’s the light and before that are a set of 4 blades that you can create shapes with then you can use the lens to focus sharp or defocus as necessary. I’m afraid I don’t know of any other system other than some bigger ones in the broncolor range.

  43. Hi Karl, great tutorial as usual. Would you use this set up for white wine or the red wine set up from that recent tutorial?



    1. Hi Derek, yes this can work for white wine. If you used the red wine setup then you would need to use a reflector card as we did in the whisky.

  44. Hi Karl & team!

    I love your knitted pullover, Karl! 😉 Btw: Thx for the great show. As always, it was a pleasure to watch.

    Greetings from Germany

  45. Hi Karl,
    New subscriber and I’m just starting with product photography (desktop, small items), do you have a list of what you would consider necessary items to have in one’s kit.
    I also would like to know the number of strobes (I use Profoto lights) you would recommend as a starting point.
    Thanks, really enjoying the lessons

    1. Hi, if you work your way through our product tutorials you will figure out the key stuff that I use. If after that you have further questions come back to me cheers.

  46. Hi Karl,

    Great show again ?
    You used a frosted bottle in this demonstration and I wondered if you had used a clear cylindrical bottle would the edges of the background have produced hard dark lines in the back of the bottle? And if so how would you eliminate them?



  47. Great tutorial thank you. At the end you were talking about possibly making your own projection attachments, and I’ve actually made two different styles of of projection attachments to fit my Paul C. Buff lights. Very inexpensive but extremely effective. One is just simply a cheap third party snoot off amazon that I fixed lens extension tubes on to the end of it and simply attach any spare lens I have to it to focus and defocus the light. I’ve also made a projection attachment very similar to the picolite projection attachment with a lens fixed into a snoot but in between the snoot and the lens I made a section where I have aperture blades to control the shape of the light.

  48. Great tutorial as usual. Thanks Karl for some really cool and enlightening tips in controlling light.

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