EarPods Live Product Shoot (Working to a Brief 4)

In this live show, Karl takes on the brief for our fourth ‘Working to a brief’ assignment as he photographs a pair of EarPods with rim lighting.

As part of this demonstration, Karl shows two different lighting setups that could have been used to create the image — one with studio lights and one with speedlights.

Starting with his studio lighting setup, Karl demonstrates how to create rim lighting and fill lighting for the product using no more than three studio lights.

During the shoot, you’ll see how to create gradient lighting and control the thickness and gradient of this, how to create black backgrounds for product shots, and how to achieve sufficient depth of field using focus stacking. Karl also shares some simple product photography tips that can be used to add that professional touch to your images.

Following on from the shoot, Karl also shows the technique for focus stacking and the post-production process required to finish off the shot before finishing the show with the speedlight setup.

Using speedlights, Karl shows how the same quality of image could have been achieved without studio lights and shows a comparison between the results from the two setups.

In this class:

  • How to photograph EarPods
  • Rim lighting for product photography
  • Creating black backgrounds for product shots
  • How to focus stack images
  • Retouching techniques for product photography
  • Rim lighting using speedlights

If you missed this photography brief assignment, you can view the full brief here and watch the review here. Alternatively, a collection of all our past briefs can be found here. For future brief announcements please check our live show schedule.

If you have any questions about this show please post in the comment section below.

Small product photography using speedlites

Final earphones product shot captured using speedlights.


  1. hi how have you done the gradient on the earphones? I don’t see any scrim. The little piece of paper has done the gradient? I have done this with the Magic Mouse but it has no gradient…

    1. Hi, In this case the light is coming from below the product and hitting the paper that is surrounding/curled around the product. The light on the paper is brighter closer to the table surface and weaker at the top of the paper which is what creates the gradient. You don’t always need a scrim to make a gradient, they can also be created with light onto a white diffused reflector. See our car photography tutorials to see exactly how we create gradients using large white panels and gradient light on those panels.

  2. Hi Karl,

    I enjoy watching this video and I tested it and had similar results, but I have one issue which is with the focus stack, I have both Canon Remote and Helicon Remote, and I have difficulties with the focus stack of both apps. Where do think you my mistake is? I shot the AirPods at around 110-degree angle, ISO 100, F/11, 1/200, and power 3 with Siros 800 S, lens 24-70 Sigma, and the distance between the camera and AirPods is 41 cm away.

    1. Hi Ahmad, it is impossible to say based on this information only as there are so many variables but the science of focus stacking requires the following:
      1. Incremental focus points where the DOF from one shot will overlap the next (this can sometimes mean lots and lots of shots on very small objects)
      2. The product must not move (including the table, floorboards etc)
      3. The camera much not move or shake (better with mirror lock up)
      4. Each exposure should be lit the same.
      If one of these goes wrong the whole thing goes wrong.

      1. Hi Karl, thank you for replying, it seems to me (like you said) that with a 50mm lens I have to shoot lots and lots of shots to get the photo as sharp as possible, but with 100mm macro it’s already pin-sharp even the grills and I took like 3-4 shots, The mirror lockup did the wonder.

        Keep up the great work, can’t wait for your new videos 🙂

        Thank you, Karl.

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