Black Gloss Backdrop Cosmetics Photoshoot

In this insightful product photography class Karl shows you exactly what can be captured straight out of camera without resorting to post-production to resolve what, in fact, are easily fixable problems.

The techniques demonstrated in this class include how to precisely control light, common misconception about lighting ratios, how to visually asses lighting requirements without a light meter and how to gradually build a lighting setup for product photography.

Cosmetic Product Photography Image

In this product photography class we cover the following:

  • Product photography: How to photograph cosmetics
  • Product photography tips
  • How to photograph liquids
  • Visually assessing light without a light meter
  • Lighting setups for product photography
  • How to achieve gradated light in product photography



  2. Karl
    I am trying to replicate this image. The lipstick is Estee Lauder not Chanel. Why?
    I dont get it. Why not use Chanel?
    The brush is not Chanel and I cannot source it. What brand is it? Where can I buy one

  3. Gary Stasiuk

    I haven’t the budget for 5 picolights.. although I’m optimistic for future prospects ;)… However, I work hard to create my own custom modifiers. For my snoots, which at first I was constantly adding hoods and funnels, I now have a couple of adapters that hold an adjustable aperture so I can make a very fine light and adjustable beams. I also have another adapter I designed to attach a fibre optic cable using one of my snoot modifiers. It has a lens added inside to focus the strobe and intensify the light onto the fibre optic connection. I am also working of adding a projector lens (designed for heat) onto a light, and I’m currently designing the adjustable blades very similar to those within a picolight. It may not give as good a result, but I am slowly getting to something quite useable to light some of those difficult to attain places. As you said, it is about being creative and solving problems.

  4. Is anything applied to the acrylic to help the water ‘bead’ so shape of water can be controlled easier. Or is anything added to the water?

    1. You could do this Sidar, some of the equipment is a bit specialist when it comes to the projection attachements, but as I also demonstrated in my recent live focus stacking show on the Lancome lipstick, great results can also be achieved with much more basic equipment.

  5. Fantastic walk through the lighting setup. I like the projection attachments you used to control the light spill. I will try to recreate it to fine-tune my skills and try to add my twist. I love your vision. You see the picture in your mind before it happens in real life. Thanks for sharing this class with all the details you showed.

    1. Hi Rebbeca, this was just plain water but the surface was wax polished first which helps the water sit proud.

  6. Hi Karl, great video.

    I was wondering why you favour the scrim/diffusion material over a large softbox?
    Are they similar? Could I use a softbox when a scrim isnt available?


      1. Karl, from solid white, to mirror, to black acrylic sheets that you use for product photography – what are the minimum length and width sheets do you use?

        Judging from the videos I would guess those sheets are anywhere from 24 inch width to 36 inch length. Perhaps even 47 inch length.

        I ran some tests just with 20 inch wide and 30-36 inch long boards with a 50mm length and they seem to work for shots like bottle photography, packshot, even some ‘flat lay’ angles. Was wondering if you have a recommended dimensions when investing into these sheets? I want to buy 1 of each aforementioned surface – but it’ll be a pretty penny. Wanted to get your thoughts before I pull the trigger – or more testing should be done on my end on basic boards?

        I guess if those dimensions work ok for those angles – I should be fine. It’s when doing food photography type work where there’s gotta be a lot of space is where I’d run into problems in fitting things in.

        1. Hi Iggzee
          1. Most of my sheets are a minimum 1m x 1m, I only have small ones for jewellery work, most of them are around 1.2m x 1.2m as they are cut from full sheets which are 1.2m wide.
          2. For some horizontal low level shots such as bottles where I need the horizon line well out of focus and in the distance then I’d use 1.2m wide by 2m long (but not often)

  7. Hi Karl, great tutorial! At one point, talking about the diffusion material, you said that we could find on the website, I believe available to buy. In which section? can you please attach a link to it? Thanks Luigi

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