Floating Cosmetics Product Photography

Floating-effect cosmetics images create a powerful sense of luxury and ethereal sophistication. In this LIVE photoshoot, watch Karl create just such an image using a bottle of Roberto Cavalli perfume.

In this start-to-finish, step-by-step product photography demonstration, you’ll discover a range of techniques for staging, styling and composing floating-product images.

This includes how to choose the right lens based on the required angle of view, how to create a pool of water in which the bottle appears to float, and how to manipulate the water to create ripples and other interesting effects.

The most important aspect of the shoot is the lighting setup. The goal is to create beautiful gradient lighting on the bottle while also making sure all the key details are illuminated. Watch Karl use a range of lights, modifiers and reflectors to sculpt the light precisely.

As Karl answers members’ questions in real time and takes care to explain the lighting theory behind the challenges he faces and the solutions he finds, you’ll pick up a range of techniques to boost your confidence and capabilities across all types of photography.

In this live show:

  • Techniques for floating product photography
  • Lighting setups for product photography
  • How to use scrims in product photography
  • Creative cosmetics photography techniques
  • How to use DIY reflectors in product photography
  • How to work with water in product photography

If you enjoy this live show, you might also enjoy previous live shoots like ‘Photographing Liquid Art and Motion’ and ‘Photographing Clear Liquid Bottles (Gin/Vodka)'.

Be sure to check out our ‘Cosmetics Photography’ section too. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below.


  1. Gary Stasiuk

    Karl.. question about that big deep lorri tray. What do you use if for… the types of products? I built myself a tray. Perhaps 3-4 cm deep, around a meter square. But I’m curious if I should consider getting a larger tray. I have pushed the bounds of the tray, but so far I have managed.

    1. Hi Gary, my own home made cosmetics tray is 120cm x 120cm I think. The deep oil catching tray for Lorries I purchased but I’m away at the moment until the 3rd so I will measure it when I’m back.

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