Still Life Stones With Coloured Gels

Learn how to create stunning still life images with these simple studio techniques.

In this class, recorded live and now available as a replay, Karl takes you step by step through a still life photoshoot.

The subject is a cairn – also known as a pile of stones – made up of large pebbles borrowed from a local beach.

Once Karl and Emma have got the stones in position (with a little help from the glue gun), Karl begins to work on the lighting.

The four-light setup he uses is quite straightforward, but produces a really beautiful effect.

That effect is enhanced dramatically by the introduction of coloured gels. The result is an evocative and captivating shot worthy of framing and hanging on your wall.

In this class:

  • Still life photography techniques
  • Staging tips for still life photography
  • Lighting setups for still life photography
  • How to use basic modifiers
  • Photography with coloured gels
  • Why you don’t need a light meter

The tutorial Karl refers to early in the shoot is Building Studio Blocks and Frames.

If you enjoyed this video, be sure to check out Wall Art Shells: Imitating Golden Hour in the Studio and Coloured Gels Fashion Shoot.

Feel free to use the Comments section below to share your thoughts and ask your questions!



  1. Karl your tutorials are the best thing I have come across! I’m currently studying commercial photography at university. Still, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that I have learned more in your fantastic platform than I have in 2 years at university. Thank you for everything you do and the excellent value for money you have given us in these tutorials. I hope you have a great Christmas, thank you.

  2. Hello Karl, thanks for the great class it really helped me understand even more how light works and how to figure out problems.

  3. That was really a great class! Thank you for explaining things and showing them so clearly. This is really helpful.

  4. Hey Karl.

    Thanks for breaking this all down into little baby steps. I know it might seem repetitive and too easy for a seasoned photographer but to someone new to photography it really helps. By the way the pebble police will be knocking at the door wanting their rocks back. Ha ha. Thanks again for the show.


  5. Richard137

    This was my first live, since this, I’ve been working my way through the archives (who’d have thought YouTube would be replaced so quickly!). My frustration? being able to determine which is more important (I want,I need or I’d like?) Currently trying to price some 9cm x 4cm Acrylic pieces & dreading what’s going to come back as I’m aiming for 350pcs, but smiling at the black glass sheets I managed to pick up. (It’ll do until I get a bigger piece.)
    This has literally taken over my life!

      1. Richard137

        I have a few ideas & projects on the go, but yes, I always pace myself (even though my mind gets a little messy/noisy!) ☺️☺️☺️

    1. Thanks Jorge, I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s nice having the time to craft something like this in step by step way, I have more lined up for this year. I hope all is well with you.

  6. Hi Karl, one of your viewers asked about small studio walls. You suggested a dark grey. When I painted mine I asked Dulux for their recommendation for neutral greys. They pointed me towards their Night Jewels range, which can be purchased in various levels from just off white to near black – all are neutral.

    Also at can be found further paint colour advice with respects to L * a * b *, RGB & CMYK., etc. There’s a mass of colour info there. For instance, you can see Night Jewels 4 is 164.164.164 (RGB).

    Maybe this will help …

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