Clinique Style Advertising Shoot: Lighting Final Bottle (Part 3)

When it comes to product photography the main goal is to ensure the product looks its very best, but when working with multiple products this can mean shooting different items separately, which is what Karl had to do for this Clinique advertising image.

In this class Karl demonstrates how to shoot the smallest of the Clinique bottles on its own. You’ll see how he lights the different texture of the product and how he treats the surface to create a slightly glossy appearance.

Class objectives:

  • Demonstrate how to light matte surface products
  • How to add shine to matte surface products
  • How to control the specularity of a light
  • How to photograph products for a composite shot

This final Clinique bottle required a completely different lighting setup in order to have the same style of those in other Clinique adverts. When I was shooting the bottles in the previous classes, this small bottle looked very flat compared to the other bottles and I knew I would have to change the lighting to match the other products.

I used two small softboxes to create a strip of light down each side of the product. This helped add shape and form to the product and also revealed the smooth texture of the bottle. Although I could have achieved a similar result in Photoshop, taking the time to light the product correctly meant I would have a much better and more realistic result.

Clinique product shoot lighting

Lighting the final bottle with a small softbox.

I also wanted to add some shine to the surface of the product as this would allow me to get a more specular light and enhance the shape of the bottle.

Product photography techniques

Adding a shiny effect on a matte surface.

Having captured the small bottle separately, the next stage would be to choose the best splash shot and combine that with the black logos and bottle shot. You can watch the full post production process here.

The final image:

Clinique product photo

The final Clinique advertising image.

To learn more about product photography, read my top tips for product photography here. You’ll also find a selection of product photography classes on our website. I’ve put together a selection of classes below which I think you may find useful.

If you have any questions about this shoot please post in the comments section below.


  1. Is there an Bowens mount equivalent of the picobox? I wish I could get this size of softbox.

  2. Karl, great solution. Sometimes we get set on getting it all in one shot yet it is almost impossible to do. Good to see you giving us options when to pull the plug an have a different solution.

  3. … great course, thank you so much for this!

    I agree that the little bottle looks totally “dead” without the gloss. But what would be a solution, if the client wouldn’t want that matte product to look glossy?

  4. I have to say all three courses have been amazing. Looking forward to the final composition selection process .

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