Photographing Glasses

Having shot advertising images of designer eyewear for Lagerfeld, Boss, Red or Dead and Hilfiger, this genre of product photography is certainly an area of expertise for Karl.

Product photography is about making your product look desirable, but the size, reflective surfaces and varied textures you find in glasses mean it can be very difficult to do this. 

In this product photography workshop you’ll see each step that’s required to produce an advertising-style glasses image — from determining your shooting angle based on the product’s aesthetics to determining what modifiers to use and what extent of post-production is required. Watch as Karl covers how to control background lighting with different modifiers, light reflective surfaces and focus your attention using carefully placed lighting.

This class is ideal for those looking for creative ways to photograph glasses, improve their product photography and gain a great understanding of the intricacies of light.

In this product photography workshop we cover the following:

  • Product photography — How to photograph glasses
  • Product photography ideas
  • Lighting setups for product photography
  • Camera settings for photographing glasses
  • How to create graduated background lighting
  • Balancing and working with multiple lights

Other related classes you may enjoy include:

If you have any questions about this show, please use the comment section below.


  1. Hello Karl!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this class and the impressive results it yielded. I do have a quick question, though. Would a Circular Polarizer be a viable alternative to detaching the glass from the frames to some extent?

    1. Hi, To some extent yes but unfortunately not practical for other reasons as it would cause refelected light on parts of the plastic of the frames to be removed as well and also change the saturation of the frames and what they look like, additionally the lenses reflections would only be removed properly if they were at the correct angle to the polariser. So basically there are too many limitations that makes it easier to remove the lenses from the frames.

  2. One question, what exact type is the diffusion paper you use for this type of photography? Thank you very much

  3. I would love to see how you clean Hasselblad sensor with cleaning kit. I hate cleaning my Phase One sensor, which is the same as yours on the Hasselblad, because it never seems to get clean. I can reduce the number of spots but they never seem to go away completely.

    1. Hi Apaq, I mostly just blow it with air, if there is a spot on it or something then I’ll resort to an ‘E-Wipe’ then dry with a very very soft lens cloth and then blow again.

  4. Hello, I must take a photograph of optical lenses, is it so necessary to have to remove the glass from the lenses? I am worried that it will be damaged and may have a problem with the client

  5. Hi Karl,
    I just think of 2 questions.
    How do you shoot rimless glasses ? because you can’t remove the glass here, isn’t ?
    And what about shooting glasses on a model, do you still remove the eyeglasses and only shoot the model with the frame ?
    thank you for what you do, it’s awesome as always

    1. Hi Jeremie, with rimless we keep the lenses in and just work with it. On models we often take the glass out.

  6. Karl ….
    This is a great breakdown of technique. Very well done. Reminds me of studio instruction from college days but obviously more refined. It’s enjoyable to watch you work through this procedure. Anyway, I do have a question for you, why do you not utilize a adjustable spotlight to handle not only the background control but also in place of the large Para 88? Diffusion can be incorporated within a spotlight head or added to the front fresnel also if needed. I am just curious why a simpler head like a spotlight was not used? Obviously, you have a good reason for not using one or two of them and I’d like to know the reason if you don’t mind?

    1. Hi John, As you will see in many of my tutorials I do use a fresnel for the background but often the fall off can be very quick with a small fresnel even what set to flood and occasionally because of the imperfections of the fact the flash is tube shaped then the fresnel projects the image of the tube on the background. Yes your right another layer of diffusion on the fresnel could help however I find a standard reflector such as a P70 easier to work with in many scenarios although in this one it proved a little more difficult. As for the Para from above it is a larger light with an excellent adjustment of fall off very similar to a fresnel however with it being larger surface area there is still light coming into the back of the product from a greater angle than achievable with a smaller spot or fresnels which could give the same size pool of light on the surface but it wouldn’t give the same angle of incidence in lighting able to get through the product itself. And in the case of transparent or semi transparent surfaces that greater angle of incidence from the Para often results in nicer ‘flecks’ of light through the product. In this shot I used the Para 88 but I usually use the 133.

  7. Hi Karl! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Can you pls do a segment on using color checker + grey cards under various setups; when the object is lit primarily from the front, when it’s lit from multiple angles etc., & how to take the info’ to Lr/Ps for use. Thanks!

    1. Hi Prateek, yes I’ll look at this but my advise is to use it for the primary light source.

  8. Thanks Karl for one more amazing video !

    Would like to share that with every video I am learning so much.
    Its not about just technicalities of lighting, but ‘improvising on my own sensitivity to see, observe the light and effectively using it to enhance desired aspects of products’.
    Coming from a product design background, I am enjoying it all the way more, as it is like recreating the product ( colour, material, form, texture, finishes ) – this time not with pen and paper but using lighting as the medium.

    Thanks once again, you are an amazing teacher !

    – Sanket

  9. Wow Karl, Amazing Video!!

    The way you control light is amazing! I’m always watching these over and over and have started emulating what you do!

    My wife cringes when I watch these videos as I hit Amazon soon after! lol

  10. Mark Gilchrist

    Hi Karl, liked this one. I’m curious to know where you source those white boxes or blocks that you use in, I believe it’s a Hugo Boss glasses shot on your website.
    When you are adding back the glass in photoshop is it simply a white fill layer at a low opacity, feathered or not, as you mention, or do you ever need to add a bit of blur, say if the back of the glasses were to be sharp.

    1. Hi Mark, in the Hugo Boss shot those are pieces of matt white acrylic cut into shapes and sitting on another sheet of acrylic but raised slight off the other one with small blocks. For adding lenses in I use a low opacity very soft brush and then build it up slowly that’s all. If the back of the lens is out of depth of field then I’d feather the selection more on that lens to make it look like it was blurring out in that position.

Leave a Comment