Sports Footwear Photoshoot

*This class was recorded live & now available for replay*

In this footwear photography workshop Karl demonstrates how to light and photograph footwear, in this case a football boot.

Starting with a single light, Karl shows you how to create a rim light before gradually building to his final setup.

A high-end product shoot such as this requires precision and attention to detail. Karl explains key elements to highlight and demonstrates how to subtly but effectively use your studio lighting to draw attention to the most important areas. He then takes it a step further and demonstrates how you can introduce a different light source for a greater creative effect using long exposure.

He ends the show by demonstrating how to retouch a product image like this. Making use of a ‘ready made’ mask, he shows you how to quickly and effectively polish the image to product advertising standard.

In this footwear photography workshop replay we cover the following:

  • How to photograph footwear
  • Product, shoe photography tips
  • How to create a rim light
  • How to retouch product images in Photoshop
  • How to quickly create mask selections in Photoshop
  • How to change background color
  • How to create a graduated background

If you have any questions about the show, please use the comments box below ?


  1. Hi Karl. great tutorial as usual. Absolutely brilliant. Could you tell me how to calculate the measurements of the flare shield hole. How do you calculate it in relation to you lens focal length. You touched the subject just a little without going into detail.
    Thank you!!!!

    1. Hi, thank you. You just calculate the shape ratio of the hole based on the ratio shape of your sensor. Then make 3 different sizes, small, medium and a large one and then you can use one of those with any lens in a variety of lighting situations and choose which one suits best. They only take 5-10mins to make.

  2. holy cow this whole tutorial is great but the silhouette and gaussian blur tricks were worth the price of the membership alone.

  3. Brilliant thank you. I loved the edit at the end and how getting it right in shot makes life so much simpler in post. The simple mask using silhouette 😃 just a simple thought at the end again getting the ‘make your life easy’ in post. I joined your classes as I had mental blocks (self imposed) to lighting beyond off camera speed lights and photoshop. Working through your site and your real hands on teaching method is so helpful and my walls are coming down finally………thank you.

    1. Great to hear Jan and thank you. Any questions just let us know. Also make sure to work your way through the ‘Lighting Theory & Equipment’ section as this is the fundamental grounding for everything else on this site. All the best Karl.

  4. very interesting technique

  5. Hi Karl,

    I’m starting my career as a product photography and at the moment I can only have 2 studio flashes.

    I really like the theme of using Scrim and doing it myself with diffuser paper and not so much modifier, everything is very nice.

    The query is, for a set like this as used I think I remember 4 or 5 lights. Can it be done with two?
    And create different photos where the light falls on different areas and then compose in PSD ??

    Or will the overall light change a lot?

    Many Thanks!

    1. Hi Daniel, it can be done with two but it is difficult. My minimum lighting solution would be 4 lights for professional work.

  6. Dear Karl,
    Fantastic as always. what’s your comment if you shoot another shot by same setting, just without shoe and with background light to use it as illuminated background for final image?


  7. Hi Karl,
    Do the brands use any specific size number for photoshoots to keep a good proportion of the shoe? I mean #12 might be different in terms of proportions than #10.. or it doesn’t really matter and all are the same?

    1. Hi Jose, that’s not something that I think is hugely significant as I think the shoes would be proportionally bigger but my advice would still be to go with say the average shoes size.

  8. Hi Karl,

    Can you tell me how to calculate a window mask for a 35mm sensor camera? What would the dimension of the cut out be?

    Thanks Craig

  9. I am a new member and looking forward to learning loads. I loved this video. Can I ask. Once you have saved the edited picture. Can you go back into it and maybe change the colour or add a different layer?

    1. Hi Angela, thanks for joining us. Yes it is possible to change the colours of the shoe in photoshop, we cover similar examples in our post production section. All the best Karl

  10. Happy New Year, Karl! I have a 50 x70 softbox, and am using it for the first time. It keeps slipping off my strobe, any suggestions on how to keep it from slipping . I am using Einsteins

    Thank you

    1. Hi Gerry, I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the fitting to Einstiens, obviously you need to ensure that the softbox mount point is an ‘einstein’ fitting.

  11. Also I want to congratulate Ashley for been such a assistant. She is really connected with what you need and help you out very efficiently at the right moment. I wish I can work with a professional, effective and why not mentioning pretty assistant as Ash. 😉

  12. This is one of the most fun and interesting product photography videos I have seen. I have learned a lot. Very cool techniques and exelent result.
    What I really enjoy is not only your skills for photographing and lighting but also you precise way of explaining and teaching how to achieve the final product. Thank you Karl and congratulations from Quito-Ecuador.

  13. I’m not interested in football at all and have absolutely no use for that shoe… but now I’d like to buy it 😀
    Great shot, great show – thanks a lot 🙂

  14. Very informative and detailed show. I picked up a lot of tips that will be using in my future shots 🙂

    Thanks, Karl and the team!

  15. Fantastic! Helpful and inspiring, thank you Karl! You give here a lot of information, from basic to complex lighting, from light painting to very effective editing tips, all in a single class. What we’re getting here is helping a lot, on the creative side and also speeding up the workflow; thanks again.

  16. Thank you so much Karl for this interesting and very informative tutorial. I picked up a few new tips again as always. Just wish to ask if you could try to shoot some highly reflective products, as I asked you before about a chrome sculpture.
    Only if you can.
    Thank you so much once again and no matter how much I thank you for your hard work to pass on these important techniques, it’s never enough.

  17. Hi Karl

    Fantastic show as always. You are a magician !!!

    It would be interesting to learn your thought process that goes into deciding which part of a product to illuminate.

    I know you go over that briefly at the beginning of each product shoot, but please do a show, where you actually don’t shoot, instead take different products and then go through the thought process; which area you would illuminate, the angle you will shoot to show those areas and the light setup that you would deploy.

    I think this will help us train our eye to look for seemingly obscure angles and highlights.


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