02. Perfume Product Shoot

Chanel No5 is one of the most well-known perfumes in the world, an icon in its own right. For this product photography class, Karl aims to create a series of images that are as elegant and beautiful as the perfume itself.

For this, the first of the series, he opts for a more simple shot. With meticulous attention to detail and precise control, he demonstrates how to perfectly light this bottle to accentuate the key features. He also reveals a number of essential techniques that can be used to elevate the shot.

This photography class is a must-watch for anyone interested in product photography as it provides a solid base of knowledge — recapping the basic principles before building to more advanced techniques that can be applied to a range of different products.

Chanel Perfume Shot

In this product photography class we cover the following:

  • Product photography: How to photograph a perfume bottle
  • Product photography tips
  • How to photograph with multiple studio lights
  • Lighting setups for product photography
  • Using reflectors and flags
  • Minimising reflections in glass objects
  • Creating a composite image

To see the post production for this image, click here.


  1. Super tutorial! I really enjoyed the bit with the iphone. Seems like a bit of a faff but works really well.

  2. Another great tutorial Karl. What I love about your explanations is not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’. You also mentioned buying a larger than one thinks sheet of perspex. What is the size of the sheet you used? It looks about 1×1.5m.

    1. Thanks Ted yes this one was about 1×1.5m a bigger one would have meant I could have moved it a little further back.

  3. Neat shot Karl. Have a question here, for minute details also you were trying to work on lights and reflections, why couldn’t you opt for fixing it in photoshop ?
    Like the label glow, couldn’t that be fixed in post ? We could have eliminated the pico light altogether. Please share 🙂

    1. Hi Vishwas, quite simply when you artificially create this in post it looks artificial. The more post work you do the more it looks like post work is done. The more work you can do in camera the more real it looks. Finally and probably equally as important is I can not only make it look more real by doing it, I can also do it quicker than I can in post.

    1. Hi Ryo, I’m sorry I don’t understand what you mean can you tell me what time in the video you mean and I can check to see what I said.

  4. Hi Karl, my previous question about the mirror of Hasselblad camera, had some meaning, although not well explained. Why don’t you use a light source through the viewfinder of the camera to light up the subject and project the shadow needed to shape the reflector?

      1. … my thought, exactly 🙂 That’s what i do for cutting the shadows. The only problem is, the light gets darker and it’s getting harder to draw the lines.
        Great tutorial, Karl – thank you!

  5. I know the torch on the iPhone is the beam of light but how do I access the torch on my iPhone? Until recently, I was an Android user.

  6. I found the flashlight that you are calling a torch. I think what Ryo, up there, wants to know and I want to know is how does the camera not see the paper cut out. Look at about 18:40. I heard what you said was the reason the camera doesn’t see the paper cut out but I don’t get it. I know or think you said it’s the perspective of the way the paper cut out is sitting in relationship to the camera lens is why the camera doesn’t see the paper? Sorry I know you are busy so if anyone wants to jump in feel free. I just need you to explain that again. Thank you.

    1. Hi Gina, the reason why the camera cannot see the paper is because the bottle of perfume is blocking the paper (which is just a projection of the bottle) from that perspective. If the camera or the bottle or the paper were moved, it wouldn’t work.

  7. Hi Karl, Firstly great work. I’m a big fan of your work. I was just wondering, in one of your whiskey tutorials earlier you taught us how to bounce light via reflector card, placed behind the bottle and then we bounce lights through the liquid to create the glow. Why didn’t we use the same method in this shot? is it because of the camera angle or some other reasons. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Sourajit, simply because back then I hadn’t thought of this new technique, it was only when I was thinking about the physics of light and perspective after having done a project on image projection for the BBC that I realised how much easier it would be to do it this way!

  8. Answering to Russel: I’ve already tried but the results are far to be the same. The transparent surface thickness creates a double reflection of the object (like in a mirror) and, moreover, the glossy effect is quite different.

  9. Ok I watched and watched this tutorial over and over again and I finally got. It finally dawned on me that what Karl is doing, with the shadow behind the perfume bottle, is the same thing I do when I’m trying to hide my shadow when the sun is behind me when I’m out doing Landscape Photography. I totally get what Karl is doing. I’ve been doing the same thing all along but just never in a studio. Great learning experience with this tutorial.

  10. Thanks a Karl, the best thing I love about your tutorials are your honest answers ☺️. Eagerly waiting for more videos.

  11. Hi Karl, I have a question. Every time I use black perspex in product shoots like this one, I keep on getting a lot of dust showing up in the photo even though i try to keep the shooting surface as clean as possible and I noticed at minute 25:57 of this video that it is showing up there too, but when you switch to the actual photo taken it doesn’t show up. So I was wondering how do you deal with this dust spots? is there something I’m doing wrong?

    Also I was wondering how do you keep the surface clean? or do you also have to deal with it on post? I find really annoying that even though I try to be really careful on keeping everything clean, I keep on getting dust in the picture that sometimes its even from the cleaning cloth I used. I have to spend so much time in post cloning out this dust spots.

    Also I’d like to thank you for these great courses, I’ve learned so much from these. I started following you from the Broncolor youtube how to videos about a year ago and now I’m glad I signed up for this. Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Miguel, first you have to make sure you studio is as dust free as possible, you can even get these machines that suck dust out of the air. Second use microfibre cloths as they don’t leave dust from the cloth, then the meths to clean. Arcylic can also become very static which attracts dust so there are ‘de-static’ devices that you can use to zap the acrylic to remove the static.

        1. Hi,

          You can use an old sheet of fabric softener to remove dust from computer and TV screens, and you can also soak a microfiber cloth softener to reduce static build-up on plastic surfaces.

          Do not wash with water
          Erase the traces with a damp microfiber cloth.

          To erase a scratch on altuglas or plexiglas, the altuglas or plexiglas is repolished with polishing paste and felt.

          If the scratch is not too deep, you can also scrub the altuglas or Plexiglas with slightly wet felt powder sprinkled with cigarette ash.

          Rub in circular motions.

          This work is unfortunately slow and laborious.

          Be careful, do not rub dry.

  12. Hi Miguel, I have always the same problem although I try to get the environment dust free as much as I can. The main problem, to me, is that perspex (methacrylate) very soon is going to be scratched, even though I try to take care of it. I’m trying to search for opaline black glass which is much more heavy, but much easier to be cleaned and scratch proof.

  13. Hi Karl, instead of using a pico light to light up the label, provided that, as in this case it isn’t transparent, I use to make another shot with a front light and I’m going to past the new image onto the product by Photoshop. Do you think is it a wrong way?

  14. Dear Karl

    Can we use black color glass sheet instead of Archilic sheet and what is the difference between both sheet.

    Best Regards

    1. Hi Rukesh, you can but the reflection isn’t as clean. Usually with black glass you get a double reflection.

  15. Hey Karl,

    Another incredible session. I love your creativity in doing the paper cutout!!
    In regards to the polarization, what did you use for that? What filter? I usually see ones that are screwing on the lens, but you used something different… Thanks!

  16. By the way, I haven’t been as excited about photography as I am right now in years, so THANK YOU!!

  17. I think the idea to shine a light through the lens is a great idea.
    If it’s do dark, you can also stick a LED light on a UV protection cover that you can temporarily screw on the lens. Less hassle and more precise if you do this often.

  18. Hi Karl,
    Great tutorial as always! If I may ask, how have you constructed the plain ‘wall’ on rollers you use please? Is it a couple of sheets of MDF skimmed or painted. But I cannot see how you have allowed for the ‘wall’ to remain upright and on wheels. Have you used a frame behind? What would you suggest on how to build one of these please Karl. I have just secured a small studio space but the walls are not smooth (breeze blocks painted white) and as you mentioned a smoother surface to a paper gives a better finish.
    Kind regards

    1. Hi James it has an entire metal square frame and then an internal stud work wood frame and then MDF panels on both sides painted. I wen’t to my local metal work shop with a basic design and they built the whole thing except for the MDF panels which we attached.

  19. Great Work. I like watching your videos.
    Even on the same type of shoots you mention small things that are so new that make a huge difference. It is those super small things that make the product pop.



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