Rémy Martin XO Cognac Product Shoot

Baffled by bottle photography? Discover the techniques and tricks you need to achieve smooth, professional results.

In this class, recorded LIVE, Karl shows you how photograph a bottle of Rémy Martin XO Cognac.

This particular bottle, with its distinctive shape, presents a range of interesting challenges. Watch the class to find out how to overcome them.

Photographing a bottle like this requires a good understanding of Angles of Incidence and Reflection. Karl explains key things to keep in mind when shooting reflective surfaces like glass.

You’ll pick up tips for using multiple modelling lights modified by a scrim, making and adapting your own ‘invisible’ reflector to add a pleasing warm glow to the liquid in the bottle, and using a simple DIY flag to reduce flare.

Introducing a glass presents new lighting challenges requiring a new round of experimentation.

The final image, even before the necessary post-production, is stunning and – dare we say it – more striking than the official photos Karl surveys at the outset!

In this class:

  • Bottle photography tips
  • How to photograph bottles
  • How to use a scrim in photography
  • Lighting techniques for product photography
  • Using reflectors in photography

To learn more about capturing this kind of image, take a look at our other Bottle and Beverage Photography classes.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Just joined «Visual Education. I was impressed by this course. This is a perfect example of subject specific lighting. Thank you, Karl!

  2. desavoiecorp@gmail.com

    I am at 1h25 and why didn’t use a snoot or pico light with attachment to light up the Remy Logo separately and also another pico light to shoot light throw from behind the bottle instead of your gold reflector?

    1. Hi, I don’t really see how any of those options would provide me with a better result. A pico lite through the back of the bottle would be too specular and only produce a highlight in a small area. Lighting the label also wasn’t necessary as you can see from the final result.

  3. Hey!

    I use elinchrom lights and wondered what would be a good alternative for the broncolor Picolite if you know. No worries if not. Love the lighting effect soooo much!

    1. Hi Pippin, take a look at the Godox range of Projection Attachements or the Westcott one, I’m sure they make them for Elinchrom fitting.

  4. You leaning in close to the camera and giving answers made me laugh out loud. That was a classic move.

    Outstanding class Karl. Kudos to you and your assistants.

    1. Hi Leonard, no is the honest answer as the gradients of light would not spread over a big enough area to illuminate the contours of the glass the way I wanted. I also used 3 different lights through that scrim and they were spread over a bigger area. On a different type of bottle a 120cm square scrim may have been suitable.

  5. I wish that members can name the small pinpoint light source or where did they purchase it, this is a really incredible idea and a life savior.

    I just love watching your videos when shooting bottles.

  6. Hi Karl,

    Loving the eduction content. In this setup, where and how far away is the background?


  7. Thank you for doing this thorough explanation of how to do this. You go over the details and explain it in ways that help me understand how this kind of photography works. I have been trying to do a photograph of a glass sculpture for some time and it is very much like this bottle. Very helpful. Well worth the cost of this class.

  8. Such an amazing class! Well above my current skill level but learnt so many new tips. Can’t wait to see the post production video and you combine to make the end photo

  9. Terrific shot, what I always find fascinating with your work Karl is your lighting, you keep things simple, also have the approach to get the shoot as close as you can in camera. very easy these days to rely on photoshop.

    1. Thanks David, although I will be putting the finishing touches to this shot in post on this weeks live show.

      1. I have been following you Karl from 2 years now and never Enrolled in the class. I joined today and I must say I wasted F**** 2 years of learning.
        Great content and Great style of education. I love when it’s a No, You say NO it’s not worth doing rather sugar coating. Hope to learn more. I’m glad I made the investment now.

  10. Not a question, a reflection. In the 1980’s I was a Polaroid representative in NZ working with professional photographers and I would arrive for a shoot with a box full of Polaroid film fully expecting it all to be used for test shots

    1. Hi Jaycee, yes we used to go through tons of the stuff in 6x7cm and 5×4 inch format – it was an absolute god sent when setting up complicated lighting, I seem to remember we also used to use a similar version from Fuji.

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