Post-Production Floating Cosmetics Splash Shot

In this photography class Karl walks you through the entire post-production process needed to take the RAW image of his floating cosmetics splash shot to the final, polished stages suitable for a high end advertising shot.

This informative chapter applies a number of commonly used Photoshop techniques well suited to product photography. In addition to explaining why we use these tools and demonstrating how to correctly apply them, Karl also shares a number of lesser-known tricks that can be used to enhance an image.

From removing unwanted splashes to correcting hue and saturation and working with layer masks, this chapter covers all the essentials for editing product images.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • Post-production techniques for product photography
  • Common Photoshop tools and how to use them
  • How to create composite images in Photoshop
  • Layers & layer masks
  • Establishing a post-production workflow

To see how this image was shot, click here.


  1. Hi Karl
    you’ve mentioned something about the dodge/burn special action… where can I find that tutorial?
    Is there a search button to find specific themes?

    1. Hi, it’s currently part of the visual aid layer actions that you will find on the downloads page.

  2. Hi Karl I’m new to your website and so far I’ve learned more in a couple of days than I ever could have imagined, your clear concise explanations, technical ability and artistry are absolutely brilliant. Thank you sir you are a real gentleman, Tony

  3. Hi Karl, interesting tutorial!
    I found it a valuable lesson on the problems you highlighted with the background. I guess this shows how important it is to plan the shoot well, and consider the need for a clean background that matches the final shot. It wasn’t too clear as to what caused the tonal difference in the final clean background shot. How did it change from the complete setup when you didn’t remove or adjust any lights? How can this best be prevented to ensure minimal post processing?

    1. Hi Kryn, thank you. My experience is that it is often even from moving the product and lighting stands away that change the amount of light hitting a background or bouncing around off the floor etc. Even this very small (often 1/10th if an fstop or less is sometimes perceptible). Even what you are wearing and where you are standing can have a difference as your body can act as negative or positive fill. It’s best to take measurements tethered from the raw file to confirm before assuming it was OK which is the mistake I made here.

  4. How do you create a new layer from all the layers below it – I normally duplicate and then merge, your way looks a lot easier ?


  5. Great tutorial both the devloping of the image and the capture setup. I have a question sometimes when your working there is two circles a smaller one inside a bigger one. What is causing this to happen? If i had to guess id say one was your brush and the bigger one displayed feather size.

    1. Hi Levi, this is actually an error of the screen recording software, for some reason it records two circles even though there was only one, it may be like you say recording the feathering circle too.

  6. Hi Karl, great to see the level of detail you go to in order pull out the very best final image. Also good to experience your problem solving and solution based attitude to the issues that face all of us when we work through retouching an image. Fantastic work and tutorial. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jeongun, I have bad working practises 🙂 No I usually keep a copy of the layered working file, other times when I know I’m happy with the image then I sometimes decide there is no need for the layers any more.

  7. Pre-visuaization is what separate an ” Artist ” from a ” performer “.

    This is what I love and learned from you is thinking before you start as an artist.

    No one does it better than you Karl.

    Thank you for everything.

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