Sunlit Window Hair Products Shoot

In this product photography class, Karl sets out to create a warm, summery atmosphere to showcase some luxurious Kérastase hair products. As he does so, he demonstrates a variety of lighting and styling techniques that will help you enhance your own images.

Once he has set up the pastel-coloured background, Karl experiments with introducing props – specifically, some acrylic rods, which he ultimately decides are too distracting to be part of the final composition.

Next, Karl begins crafting his lighting setup. You’ll see him using softboxes, scrims, projection attachments, gobos and more, plus an array of DIY reflectors and flags. The goal is to create perfect gradients on the metallic product lids while also achieving a lovely warm glow through the products themselves.

In a satisfying instance of on-the-fly problem-solving, Karl identifies the cause of a troublesome shadow and comes up with a simple but effective solution.

You’ll also discover why he cuts a hole through a big piece of foam board and chops up a piece of plain white paper!

As Karl works hard to get all the shots he needs to create a stunning final image, you’ll increase your knowledge and expertise by watching a professional pursue perfection.

In this class:

  • Lighting techniques for product photography
  • Using projection attachments and gobos
  • How to use a scrim in photography
  • Softbox lighting techniques
  • Using mirrors and other reflectors
  • Capturing multiple images for compositing

To see Karl bring it all together in Photoshop, watch Sunlit Window Hair Products | Post-Production.

If you enjoy this class, you might also like to check out Sunlit Shadows Cosmetics Shoot.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.

© Karl Taylor


  1. Hi Karl. Thank you for your great videos, however sometimes I miss some less artistic things like how to prepare the bottles for shooting. I know you talked a lot about removing the back labels, or even printed text from glass/plastic bottles, but I am now in a situation I can not find a proper answer here or over the internet. I have some PET 1 plastic cosmetic bottles. These are clear, glossy bottles that have no labels. Everything, from logo, product name and other info on the back is PRINTED. I tried to remove the printed text with Nail Polish Remover (acetone based) but that also affects the plastic, making it dirty, matt, frosty… So acetone based liquids are is not a solution. Tried Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover. It doesn’t really work. I got the feeling it works exactly as the acetone version, even if it is not that powerful. I also tried internet DYI things: baking soda, vinegar, hand cream… I tried to gently scratch off the text with a knife cutter. I scratch the bottle. Theoretically the bottles can be be polished but… I have tens of bottles… My last options are gasoline and 96% spirt (alcohol) but I am afraid these will do nothing or nothing good as well. Because these products are sent for pack shots, asking for bottles without print on the back is not an option. I hate the results I am getting when shooting the bottles as these are right now, as I see the text on the back, is see the barcode etc… Any advice? How do you remove the printed text from the plastic bottle without affecting the bottle? I would appreciate an answer as quick as possible. Thank you.

    1. Hi, yes this is a tricky one because if you have tried everything then and you’re finding it doesn’t work we have to approach it with other alternative options. Firstly if my client was adamant that they have no writing on the back for the pack shots then the first thing I would ask for is bottles without the writing on the back. If that is not possible then the client has to expect it’s going to make the shots very difficult, you then have to talk with the client and explain that the only way to remove the writing is to scrape it off and that causes the bottles to look frosted and is that acceptable and/or better than having writing. Can the bottles be cut in half? For example you can only see the front of the bottle? Or would it look like they are empty? Can something be inserted inside the bottles? Obviously you can only work within the parameters of what is actually possible. In answer to your question I’ve used methylated spirits and a very sharp scalpel but this takes a long time and causes frosting to the back of the bottle.

      1. Thank you Karl. Knowing I am not the only one fighting here, relaxes me a little bit.
        The bottles can not be cut in half, even if it is a wow idea in general. The bottle are filled with oil and some very small flowers. Also I don’t see how I could insert something into the bottle… Not to forget I do pack shots… not advertising. I can not afford playing a lot with these.
        I can afford to indulge myself in my graphic design work as I got a specific level, however, in product photography I am still “small”, so I am trying to make a good impression and I don’t want to bother the client a lot with requests and complaints.
        OK, I’ll see where I can get methylated spirits and a very sharp scalpel. Let’s hope it helps.

  2. Alexis

    Hi Karl, I was wondering if we can paint with mat spray paint instead of using classic tin of paint ?

    1. Hi Alexis, the boards in this shot were already the colour they are, they were acrylic boards in a colour. You can spray paint any board but it would be hard to achieve a uniform finish compared to painting with a roller like we do in some of our other classes.

    1. Hi, any plastic supplier or sign service type company. I don’t know the sizes I’m afraid as I don’t have those pieces anymore

      1. Hi Karl, thanks for sharing this great video, it has so much valuable information. You can spot the size of the acrylic sheets at min 6:26 at their back side when you’re setting up the scenario. It seems they’re 1x1m with 3mm. Cheers

        1. Hi Stephan, thank you. Yes I think you are right they were 3mm and the size sounds about right, they were matt acrylic though from Barkston Plastics

  3. Gary Stasiuk

    Karl, what are those two walls and table top material? Painted boards or an acrylic.. looks matte. i don’t see a texture in the videos. I’ve not used pastel plastics before.

  4. Great and on trend tutorial. Wondering though how come the soft box isnt casting shadows? Is it the size of Scrum? Also is there an optimal gradient on the product. Just so that we have something to start from.

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