Wine Bottle Photography

As a commercial photographer Karl specialises in product photography and in this live product photography workshop, where he shoots a bottle of red wine, he shares a host of useful techniques that can be applied to the genre as a whole.

In this show he demonstrates two very different lighting setups to achieve a variety of different shots, explaining the modifiers, background choices, lighting considerations and post-production requirements for each.

You can follow step by step as he reveals the gradual process of achieving the perfect product photograph of a bottle of red wine.

In this live photography workshop we cover the following:

  • Product photography: How to photograph wine bottles
  • Product photography tips
  • Lighting modifiers for product photography
  • Rim lighting techniques
  • How to control reflections in bottles
  • Working with composite images
  • Correcting image distortion
  • Photographing using coloured gels

If you’d like more on product photography, make sure to visit our Product section.

If you have any questions regarding this workshop post them in the comments section below.

We no longer sell diffusion material, however if you would like to find out more about our Member discounts get in touch.


  1. Hi, I’ve just completed the first section, creating rim lighting on the bottle. I’ve come back to the video to continue and realised that my rim light is quite narrow with not enough gradation. I used a large soft box and large scrim with the light source close to the bottle. The only thing I can think of is, did I make my bottle flag a bit too large and that is the cause of the problem? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Maxine, yes that could have been the problem which should be able to be solved by moving the flag slightly further back which will then allow more light to get around it. The second thing is the look of the gradation of the rim light will be dependent on the distance of the softbox from the scrim.

      1. Hi Karl, I’ve just re-watched the first part of the video and I think the scrim was too close to the light source but its ok, I will re-shoot the bottle when I am ready to move on and add a wine glass. I actually think I learn more from making mistakes so its a good learning process.😊

        1. Hi Maxine, absolutely making mistakes is often the best learning tool. When you’re shooting though and you notice a problem with lighting try to break it down to the basic physics by carefully examining what is happening and why it is happening and then you can usually figure it out and fix it on the spot.

  2. Hi Karl

    I’ve only got Speedlights. is it possible to achieve the same effect in the first shot with the wine glass with food colouring using 2 speed lights (one as the rim lighting and the other for the “red”wine)?

    1. I’ve been trying to get my “red wine” to light up, but cannot seem to get enough light? is it that perhaps my black cutout is too large? I’ve diluted my food colouring, I’ve moved my second soft box around and cannot seem to achieve the same colouring.. it is only lit up showing “red wine” at the bottom and the very far left edge

      thank you

      1. Hi Jaqueline, by light up do you mean you are not getting enough light in the liquid in the glass? It is difficult for me to ascertain why without seeing your lighting setup and/or it being compared to what I did in this class. Obviously the dilution and colour of the wine will have a factor. The only other factors will be the angle of the light into the glass, the type/shape of glass and the amount of light coming out of your light relative to the settings on your camera. One of those 3 things is the answer. You can see in this session from around 40mins that it required a separate composite shot with the softbox to add light into the diluted wine. Then at around 43mins we added more food colouring and adjusted the colours in post. It did also require an increase in lighting to get the colour to show. I would suggest repositioning your light and trying from different directions to see which starts to give you colour and then working from there.

        1. Okay, so perhaps I should try a different shaped glass. I have watched and rewatched this portion of the video several times and I still cannot get my liquid in the glass to light up. I have moved my scrim back and forth, I have moved my lights different angles positions, I have moved my glass forward from the black cut out, I have even had my husband watch the video with me. He sees that I have the lights place fairly close to where yours are. My soft boxes are not as large as yours and I am using speed lights, however I cannot get any light into the liquid 🙁 so frustrating. I have managed to achieve other shots you taught, however this one eludes me and it is very frustrating, as I really want to learn how to light up liquid on a black backdrop.

          1. Hi Jacquleine, it sounds like a lack of light. Can you try putting your speedlite on it’s own firing into the glass from the same back angle so we can determine how much light you’re getting.

    1. Hi, yes a very tight snoot or even a home made snoot can replace the light on the label but it’s not quite as effective.

  3. At 1:31:04 where you are showing your favorite shot, if you look closely at the shoulders of the bottle, you can see the reflection of the top of the roll of diffusion material. Could this be alleviated by raising the roll of paper higher, or would you fix the reflection in post? Is this due to the shape of the bottle? I.e., no matter how high you raise the roll of diffusion paper, you would always see the top of the roll because there will always be some part of the curved bottle that would reflect it?

    1. Hi Mdregiff, yes that’s absolutely correct and you will see a similar response and comment here explaining the same thing.

  4. Hi Karl,

    Nice step by step guide in this video.
    Do you have any more information on the peeko light? (probably not spelt correctly)


    J William

  5. I’ve just watched the first part so far so forgive me if you explain this later in the show. I would like to master things bit by bit before I move on. With regards to the rim lighting of the bottle and the label being illuminated by a picolite, in the absence of a picolite I’m trying to think how I can improvise. If I used an optical snoot spot projector just with the lens and no gobos inserted (I don’t think I have a rectangular shape gobos), defocus it and then shine it through a flag with a rectangle cut out onto the label, am I on the right track or am I making it way too complicated please? Is there a simpler way that I haven’t thought of ?
    Thank you.

  6. in the second wine bottle shot on the wood block. is there a way to light this so that the gridation goes all the way from the neck and around the “shoulders if you will” to the body of the bottle?

    1. Hi Jacqueline, are you talking about at around 1 hour 26min 34 secs, where you can see the lighting on the side of the bottle so that the light on the shoulder also joins the light on the main bottle and the neck of the bottle?

      1. I don’t see where the light continues from the neck, around the curve and down the sides completely. is there a way to “fix” that or have it so that the light is not cut off at the “shoulder” part of the bottle?

        1. Hi Jacqueline, OK I understand what you mean and I’m going to help you answer your own question because I think you’d be able to figure it out from what you’ve seen so far in this class. First of all you already know where the light on the side of the bottle and the side of the neck of the bottle is coming from? Of course you do it’s coming from the big tall scrim on the left, so as that light goes up the side of the bottle and over the shoulder of the bottle it continues to be a mirrored reflection of the light source (the scrim) and then at a certain angle it stops! So we have to figure out why it stopped and the answer is simple and that is that now our mirror (the bottle) can no longer reflect the light source because it is past the angle of possible reflection (we have a great class on this coming up in December). So it is past the angle of reflection for two reasons that part of the bottle isn’t in the angle of reflection for the light source or the light source is not in the position that it can be reflected there. This is always a problem with spherical glossy items because they reflect from all directions. The solution would probably be to make the scrim much much taller and also lean over the top of the bottle more (not really practical) or move the scrim to almost touching the bottle and still much taller with a bit of lean (probably doable but a bit awkward for the rest of the set) or leave it and decide if it both reflections could be joined together in post production. I hope this helps and look out for the new class in December on angles of incidence and reflection.

  7. Hi. Is it spelt Peko (for the peko light) you are using? I want to make sure I look up the correct product

    thank you

  8. On the shot where you do the wine bottle and the wine glass (red food colouring) have you a tutorial on how you do post to compile the 2 images?

    I just tried my first attempt with scrims and a wine bottle. I am learning lots! Thank you!

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