Rémy Martin XO Cognac | Post-Production

Watch how Karl polishes this cognac shot.

When he tackled this cognac shoot live on air, Karl captured an amazing image of the bottle in-camera. To capture the glass correctly too, he had to shoot it separately. That left him with some work to do in post.

In this post-production demonstration, you’ll see Karl combine the bottle and glass layers in Photoshop as he takes you through each step of his compositing, editing and retouching process.

You’ll learn about applying and rubbing through layer masks, creating curved selection lines using the Pen tool, working with different blending modes, and much more.

As always, Karl is focused on making sure the hero of the image (the cognac bottle) remains most prominent. As you follow him step by step through this delicate and detailed process, you’ll pick up a host of useful tips and techniques for your own post-production work.

In this live show:

  • Post-production techniques for product photography
  • Post-production techniques for bottle and beverage photography
  • Common Photoshop tools and how to use them
  • How to create composite images in Photoshop
  • How to use the pen tool
  • Layers and layer masks

Before you watch the replay of this live show, be sure to watch the original 'Rémy Martin XO Cognac Product Shoot'.

Other classes you may like to check out include 'Master the Pen Tool' and ‘Sunlit Shadows Cosmetic Shoot | Post-Production’.

Feel free to post your comments and questions below.


  1. SirFrogsworth

    Do companies ever see these photos you do for a class and decide they are better than their product photos and license them or hire you after the fact?

    1. Hi, generally not as they wouldn’t like the idea that the photo wasn’t created bespoke for them or a particular campaign. But I do get work from other companies who have seen the images on my commercial website and want to shoot something similar. If you refer to some of our business classes or magazine/talk shows you’ll hear more about how large companies would be working through an advertising agency or art director to execute a very specific brief that has been decided, the end client isn’t usually deciding on who the photographer should be it will be the agency.

  2. This was true mastery at work and kicked up my vision a lot when making considerations about lighting sculpted objects. The only thing I wouldn’t choose for this set is the swirling of the glass as that recalls me a bit about the physics impossibility for that to be happening, but that would be my personal choice.
    Apart from this I really really enjoyed this live. Bravo!

  3. hi, a question for the glass. How can you be sure that you will don’t have any perspective problems between the photo with the still glass without movement of the liquid, and the glass with the movement? I have seen in the previous video that you have moved the glass (obviously) to move the liquid…I mean in the post production I like to be sure that is all ok

  4. Mario Bertolini

    Hi Karl,
    very nice as allways – just a little tip to improve your workflow – if you hold down alt on your keyboard while clicking on layermask you’ll get a black layermask directly 😉

  5. Regards, dear Karl!

    I’m asking why similar photos are taken using a bottle filled to the brim with a closed cap and a half-drinking glass next to it? It’s all wonderful, but for me (I also do online marketing and hobby photography) it’s a bit confusing for me. The story is damaged by the fact that it is not possible that that drink was filled from that bottle. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but personally it’s confusing.

    It’s like photographing a small child in another commercial, who is smiling and chewing with his mouth full, and in his hand there is a bar of chocolate, which is unwrapped, but which no one has yet bitten into… Strange. 🙂

    Thank you and congratulations on your work Karl!

    1. Hello Attila, you will see this is common in most drinks campaign photographs to keep the main hero product looking tidy. To ease your discomfort you should think of it as the second bottle, the first bottle was so good they have already emptied it into the glass and now they have the second bottle ready to go!

  6. Very nice lesson as always. The only thing I couldnt get my head around was the yellow in the glass. It feels
    almost like the glass has a lemon in it, which obviously would not be the case with Cognac. Was there a reason that this was left in and not removed or recoloured? Thanks.

    1. Hi Andrew, it’s a good point but to be honest I’m still finalising the retouching on that one as there is a lot more for me to check than I can include in a 2 hour live show. Look out for the final shot on my commercial site when it’s done and let’s see how it compares!

  7. If this is type of live retouching class is done in the future, is it possible to provide downloads for the photos to used to be able to follow along? Could be helpful to practice for all retouching classes.


    Ben M

    1. Hi Ben, I’ll keep that in mind but there are certain images of mine that I don’t want to give the original pictures away simply to protect my copyright. There are other post production classes here on the platform where I do provide ‘work along’ image files with the class. But I’ll keep it in mind for a future live session and if I can provide an appropriate image.

      1. I completely understand that> I appreciate your response. I look forward to more of these types of classes.


  8. Enjoyed the session… and “Yes”, Photoshop has been acting glitchy with updates the past few months here as well!

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