Photographing Wrapped and Packaged Food


We’ve often been asked to produce a class on how to shoot food in its packaging. With this live workshop, we meet that demand! And now you can watch the replay.

Shooting food products in their packaging can present various problems, especially when you’re working with glossy, high-shine surfaces. In this workshop, Karl explains the simple physics you need to understand in order to solve those problems.

You’ll learn how to use a softbox as a background, how to create a pure white background and base, and how to use polarising filters and films to remove unwanted reflections.

The techniques demonstrated here are useful for all photographers, especially those with an interest in product, packshot, and e-commerce photography.

Other classes that Karl refers to in this workshop include Angles of Incidence and Reflection and Polarising Light in Studio Photography.

In this class:

  • Food packshot photography techniques
  • Photography with polarising filters
  • Achieving a pure white background
  • Removing unwanted reflections
  • Using a softbox as a background

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi karl! fantastic show very informative as always I was wondering that as shown in your emotion of light show (not sure) you said glossy surfaces are the direct reflection of the light source thats why you pushed the large softbox very next to the model and dropped the power down which resulted in proper exposure on the skin and subtle highlights on her eyes. Can the same principle be applied over here that to bring a large softbox right next to the pasta and adjusting its power accordingly which would also illuminate the base surface which you did here with an overhead octabox. Would this lighting setup I mentioned work and if not then where lies the problem?

  2. When pricing out this type of pack shot do you charge more? This requires so much more specialized equipment and time. I would assume you would charge more for reflective packaging? Or is this just a “hazard” of the job.

    Also, how do you remove parts of the packaging without damaging the packaging? (Thinking of the double plastic layer in particular.)

    1. Hi, never worry about damaging the packaging, the client has lots of them and they need to know in advance that due to the difficulties involved that they will be damaged. I think any studio would have this equipment in their arsenal for this and many other types of shoots.

  3. Hello teacher, I am a student from China, I am very depressed, why is there no Chinese automatic translation on the cc language

  4. Absolutely brilliant! Love your method of teaching Karl. I always learn so much and get so much inspiration.

    Also love the way you get frustrated with some of the questions.

    I had to laugh out loud at your comment “If you want to paint a house red, don’t use black paint”.
    Pure class!

  5. A very interesting and hugely useful lesson… I did really like it. Oh and I also did like the sound effect of the Highlight Dodge Tool 😀 anyway… thank you so much for sharing all of your experience with us!

  6. You are right Karl….your platform is awesome for learning photography….never in my 2 yrs have I heard you refer to reading books….if they want to…knock their socks off….but you are very thorough on your education. So, greatly appreciated.
    Thank You! I was happy to listen to this pod cast. Will review again the other polarizing classes. Especially the floor. How I wish I had this knowledge when shooting with DoorDash. I had the glare on the table. At that time I didn’t know how to get rid of that glare… but I do now, because of your platform. 😀

  7. HenrikSorensen

    This was so helpful Karl – you are so great at explaining complicated lightning stuff – thanks a lot for another great video 🙂

  8. filippo-72990

    In the physics of the problems/solution, I think that might be useful to add also the “angle of view”(focal length of the lens). The direct reflections are formed when the light is inside the “family of angles”, which depends on the angle of view. With a longer focal length, the family of angles is narrow and there are more options to place the light outside the family of angles, making disappear any direct reflection.

  9. DavidMorgan

    Another great class from the lighting Guru. Specifically helpful about reflective shiny stuff, but also reinforced some basic lighting principles. I always find something to learn in these sessions, regardless of the particular subject theme.

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