Wine Bottle Photography

Struggling to get your bottle shots right? Let Karl show you how to light them like a pro.

In this product photography workshop, recorded LIVE, you’ll watch Karl shoot a bottle of red wine. As he does so, he shares a host of useful techniques and tips to help you improve your own bottle photography.

Demonstrating two different lighting setups as he captures a variety of images, Karl explains the modifiers, background choices, lighting considerations and post-production requirements you need to replicate each one for yourself.

Learn from a pro and follow Karl step by step as he shows you how to achieve the perfect photograph of a bottle of red wine!

In this class:

  • Product photography: How to photograph wine bottles
  • Product photography tips
  • Lighting modifiers for product photography
  • Rim lighting techniques
  • How to control reflections in bottles
  • Working with composite images
  • Correcting image distortion
  • Photographing using coloured gels

If you enjoy this class, check out Whisky Photography or explore our huge Product Photography section.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.

Please note that we no longer sell diffusion material directly, but Visual Education subscribers are eligible to receive a wide range of discounts from top equipment suppliers.


  1. Hi Karl and team:
    How did you achieve the gradient light in the cup’s wine? Was it made in postpro or with any special lightning efect? I’ve not found the video of this postpro. Does it exist?

    1. Hi, yes this was done in post via a composite of the blank wine glass that was black with rim lighting and then rubbing through some of a red wine coloured one into that, these were shot at about 42-44mins in this class.

  2. Karl, I loved this video, but in my country i can’t find the 180 cm x 120 soft box, the biggest one i found is a strip box 160 cm x 30 cm, is there another soft box that you recommend to do the job properly? i loved the technique. Thanks.

    1. Hi, I’m sorry I don’t really know what I’m looking at in that small crop. Can you provide more of the full photograph please too?

        1. Hi, to me it looks like that could either be a weakness in the card letting light through or a reflection of light from in front of the camera?

  3. Hi Karl, about the cardboard cutout is it important that it is symmetrical? how was the cut made?

    1. Hi, we usually draw around objects and then cut them out. The tidier the better of course, we also use a technique where we project light on the object from the camera’s perspective to cast a shadow on the card behind and then cut that out. You can see that technique in our Live whisky shoot show.


    With your score pack, does the total of your 2 or 3 lights needs to reach a maximum of 10 or you can have each 3 lights at 8 power or 9 power?

    1. Hi, A scoro pack can be distributed asymmetrically meaning that any light can be on anything as long as the total power of all lights doesn’t exceed 10 (3200J). For example light one could be on 8 (800J) Light 2 could be on 9 (1600J) so then you’d have up to 800J left on light 3 which you could set from 1 joule to 800 joules depending on your needs.


    You are one of the biggest photographer on the planet ; why do you have to color liquid instead of using real wine, can you put a silver mask behind and shoot with a picolite only the wine to bring it up, or maybe shooting it directly from above the glass with pico pointing directly into the center of the glass??

    1. Hi, only because most red wine is very dense and usually comes out black, it’s far easier to water it down if you want to extract a little colour and then you can play with different levels of water to get the right look. Many things in advertising photography are mixes or substitutes: Coloured mash potato instead of icecream, shaving foam instead of the head on a beer etc etc.


    I have 80mm or 120 Macro II, can I get away with the 120mm instead of 100mm for my product photography?


    Where on your website is your shop?? On this video you talk about selling LEE 216 on your website??

    1. Hi, we don’t sell it any more I’m afraid as it was becoming too much trouble with shipping around the world.

  8. hi Karl, minute 31, regard the big soft box..I have a a 30x 120 and a big 120 cm octabox..then I have a 5 in 1 150x100cm…can I use this as a frost and what do I need between the strip box and the octabox? for the label I think I can use a snoot with a speed lite

      1. Hi Fafo87, I’m sorry what do you mean by ‘how can I use the 30×120’ and at what time in the video are you referring to?

          1. Hi, yes you can but you will need the diffussion material too to do the job properly

  9. Remig

    Hello Karl,
    Thank you for this very instructive (as usual) lesson!
    I just tried a similar rim-lit shot of a Bordeaux wine, and was wondering about the projection attachment position: do you usually position it above camera at a downwards angle?
    Since it is a hard light source, I find myself struggling with nasty reflections in the bottle needing to be retouched out.
    Would a polarising gel on this light solve this in camera?
    Thanks and kind regards

    1. Hi and thanks. Yes directly above camera so that I can light the label square on and create a patch of light. With the projection attachment set with the gobo blades just the right size for the central part of the label you should only have a tiny dot of light on your bottle that is easily retouched. A polarizer wouldn’t work in this instance as you are perpendicular to the light source.

  10. Really loving the content! I currently own a westcott scrim jim 4’x4′ and I’m wondering if you know if it’s good enough to use or if the diffusion paper is better. I keep going back and forth on spending $70 to get a 1.5 stop diffusion for my scrim jim at $70 vs the roll of lee 216 at $170. Thanks Karl!

    1. Hi Allen, thanks for your comments and I’m glad you are enjoying the platform! I’ve not used the Westcott scrim but I’ve heard people say it works perfectly well. For me the LEE 216 has always been my first choice as I can make my own scrims in almost any size or use it on the roll. A roll is 7m long x 1.52m wide.

  11. Hello Karl, love the tutorials. Have learnt so much from you being a member of your platform!!

    Could I check please when getting LEE FILTERS 216, does it matter if it’s a 1″ core or 2″ core?

    Also, do we still get a member’s discount and where can we apply this?

    Thanks so much!

  12. hey karl , what if i make these scrims only and use it on mostly product shoots rather than using those softboxes , is this will good enough for most of the product shoots? or i have to include those softboxes also ? as i have seen you using mostly scrims with lights having reflectors .

    1. Hi Adarsh, there are many shoots where I only use the bare bulb studio light through a scrim but for a lot of bottle shots I do need a softbox especially the 30×120 shape is often used.

    1. Hi, it’s listed on LEE’s website and it is mostly used in the film industry so you might try some film supply companies or pro photography supplies in main city’s or ask LEE or see LEE’s dealers on their website.

Leave a Comment