Photographing Clear Liquid Bottles (Gin/Vodka)

Not sure how to make bottles look beautiful? Watch this simple tutorial and all will become clear…

Discover a host of clear bottle photography techniques that you can easily and effectively try out for yourself!

Learn from a pro as Karl shows you step-by-step how to light and photograph bottles of clear liquid such as gin or vodka.

You’ll discover how to achieve perfect condensation to create that cold, desirable look. Learn which backgrounds and base surfaces work best, and how to light the product beautifully using just two lights.

You’ll also learn how to incorporate additional lights to highlight the label and reduce unwanted shadows, further enhancing your shot.

Simple steps for photographing clear bottles:

  • Prepare the bottle – This includes cleaning the bottle and creating controllable condensation
  • Select the background and base surface – These will have a big impact on your overall image
  • Light the product – This can be done using just a few lights with basic modifiers
  • Photograph the bottle – Determine your composition and camera settings

If you enjoy this class, check out our Whisky Photography and Wine Bottle Photography classes. You can also find tips for creating your own perfect condensation in The Perfect Pint and Condensation Cold Look.

Questions? Please use the comments section below.



    Karl I am from Los Angeles and I called a plastic store to get a frosted plexiglas 5.5mil and its $110 for a small 3’x3′ is this normal ??

    I cannot find a general plastic store where I can get plexiglass and golden cards, silver cards, would you mind giving me some store names if you know any please?

    1. Hi, that seems expensive. 1m x 1m would cost me about $125, so you will need to find another supplier? For gold and silver card you need to look at art stores or art suppliers.


    Karl I have a hard time finding a metal sheet store in Los Angeles, it’s a huge town I am sure we have many but what do I look for I need these mirror sheets of steel you have and I need opaque acrylic 5mil sheets as well?

    1. Hi, it’s polished stainless steel. Interior designers also use these sheets of metal but any metal fabrication shop will be able to source them. Acrylic is from plastic suppliers or sign manufacturing companies.

  3. Hi Karl,

    I am UK based and can’t seem to find the polished metal sheet on B&Q.

    Do you still purchase it there? I’m not 100% sure how old this video is…

    And where you do you purchase the frosted Acrylic from?

    Thanks for all the great content.


    1. Hi Patrick, Try Barkston Plastics for your acrylic (may be under the Plastic People for small orders). B&Q stopped selling it but I now get it from my local metal workshop so if you find one in your area they should be able to order it.

      1. Hi Karl, thanks for the information, and swift response.

        What is the metal you order? Is it polished aluminium?


        1. Hi Patrick, polished stainless steel, the thinner sheets are cheaper and it doesn’t matter how thin it is.

  4. Accord

    Hi Karl,

    I am looking to get into Product photography, it’s hard to judge the amount of space you have used in this setup.

    – would I be able to realistically achieve anywhere near a “pro” like results in a small room of 13′ x 9′, would it be workable? I know it’s unfortunately far from ideal. You mentioned working in small spaces and by darkening the wall with a grey paint where possible.

    – when considering lights, what would be the minimum light output you would reccomend ?

    Thank you so much for sharing your valuable years of experience with us.

    1. Hi, the smallest studio space I worked in was about 3.5m x 4.5m and I managed to produce good results in that. There are a lots of things you can do to help yourself such as black curtains to draw around the room perimeter and black foam board panels to velcro to your ceiling so you can choose a black or white ceiling as needed. The minimum amount of lights for product photography would be 4, possibly 3 if you were adept at moving lights and shooting another part of the product and then blending them together in post. Most modern cameras can handle 200 and 400ISO and still give you a very clean image, which means that 600J lights that would have been used at 100ISO become equivalent to 2400J lights if used at 400ISO. There’s usually ways to work around things but a good lens is crucial, you can’t be doing highly detailed product photography on a standard portrait, kit, or wide angle lens you need to be using a good Macro. As well as my medium format kit I’ve shot good product photography on Sony 35mm cameras with their dedicated 90mm Macro lens and you need a lens like that that is pin sharp and can also be used for focus stacking. In fact focus stacking, tethered shooting and software like Helicon become essential practises in product photography. I hope that helps but please watch more of the product section for further advice.

    1. Hi, frosted acrylic sheet (it’s called plexiglass in the USA). It’s available from sign service companies or plastic suppliers.


    Once you figure out all your lights intensity can you shoot one picture with all lights on to get your image or are you always obligated to merge multiple shots?

  6. Hi Karl,
    I’m gonna give this one a shot but I can’t find those frosted acrylic panels at similar size under the €100 mark.
    Would it work if I use a combination of several layers (2 or 3 maybe) of diffusing paper right next to the other one ? Just wondering

  7. Hi
    I have google a lot and looking after the sheet “polish stainless steel”. Can’t not found it. Do you have some link to the shop or have the “polish stainless steel” some other name?

    Many thanks

  8. Hi Karl,
    Hope all’s well.
    My back light through the matt frosted acrylic (5mm thick) is too bright on the lowest setting. Tried moving the light further back but then I lose the smaller circular glow. I’ve lowered the ISO to 64, but still bright. What else can I do?
    Many thanks,

      1. Thank you Karl. I’ll order some today and try those. I have a tricky gin glass shoot for a new client (they have a lot of product inventory so want/need to do a good job.

        I’m slowly building up my resources as finances come in. But it’s going well. I started as a complete novice 18 months ago with your training alone. I’d never touched a camera previously. I now rent my own studio space (quite small but far better than my previous garage), and have about two clients every week. My website is (you can see it’s all 100% your training! haha! I hope I do you a bit of justice, please don’t cringe too much : )

        Thank you so much for all of your support.

        Best wishes,


        1. Hi looks good but try to get some more of your own original work on there as you may find clients will see my work and then see yours and guess where it’s come from. Also I remember seeing the shot of your red stilleto shoe in one of our challenges or competitions and thought it was very good so that shows you can come up with your own stuff. Your pricing seems ridiculously low but that entirely up to you to decide where you fit in the market. All the best Karl.

          1. Thank you Karl.
            Re: my pricing – because every project is a new one for me, with new challenges, I feel I’m still very much in a learning phase (apprentice), and NEED a much wider variety of experience. Once I’ve gained more experience, as I’m doing now every week, I’ll increase the prices. But appreciate you mentioning that.

            I’ve just added two new slide shows to the front page of the website which are completely original – the waterproof bag shot in particular brought extra challenges trying to prep the bag to make it look good before a shot was taken. haha! You know the drill.

            Oh, and I’m enjoying the lighting theory classes, feel like that helps reinforce things a lot.
            Hope you keep producing those.

            Again, many thanks, and say a big thank you to your team.
            Best wishes,

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