This is what you will learn when you commit to Shoot Products Like a Pro, the online course.

Module 1 is the introduction, then you get to start working on the following topics.

Interested in the high level  Workshops instead? Click here


Module 2: Space & Mindset

The results we achieve are a direct reflection of the space we shoot in and the clarity of our minds.

In this module I’ll cover how I feel about shooting – from the moment I walk through the door, to the kind of space I want to work in that day and how maintaining an organised approach pays off on set. We’ll look at two different situations: the one-off shoot and the repetitive shoot. I’ll explain what kind of mindset is required for each situation.

You’ll learn to:

  • Understand the importance of space and mindset, and how the approach to your day and shooting has a major positive impact on your results
  • Understand how to think about two real working situations that require very different approaches
  • Recognise the importance of working from a Key Visual
  • Produce more effective set diagrams

Module 3: Setup And Kit

It’s not important what kit or setup you have.

Photography is all about light, and how you use it. You should not be bullied or pressured into having any particular setup in order to take great product shots.

In this module we’ll be looking at different types of lights and how to use them, and I’ll cover camera types, computers, capture software and backups.

You’ll learn to:

  • Appreciate the differences between tungsten, LED and flash lighting and apply that knowledge to choose the right route for you
  • Understand the importance of always shooting into image capture software
  • See why I have varied lighting adaptors available to me
  • Understand that it’s only necessary to start with a basic kit
  • Not get caught in the ‘camera rat race’

Module 4: Good Quality Digital Files

A good quality digital file is the key to a great quality shot.

Without the correct digital file, no amount of post-production is going to save your shot. Maintaining good working practices and having a set of rules in place will ensure you hit the required standard every time.

In this module I’ll show you how to create and edit files that will do your work justice.

You’ll learn to:

  • Appreciate the levels of control you have when using capture software
  • Neutralise the colours in your shot
  • Understand the benefits of shooting RAW
  • Control the ISO to gain maximum quality
  • Understand sharpening, exposure adjustment, file saving and backup
  • Control highlight and shadow details
  • Use simple tools in Photoshop to maximise your files
  • Adjust Levels and Curves, and a cool sharpening technique
  • Use a colour calibrated monitor

Module 5: Framing, Lens & Focus

I want you to be comfortable with the idea that position within the frame will affect the product shape, and that focus can be used to accentuate different parts of an image.

You’ll learn to:

  • How to control, minimise or maximise product shape distortion
  • How certain tools can help you be in charge of your product’s shape
  • To easily know which lens to choose
  • To get creative results through lens position and framing

Module 6: Hard and Soft Light

Nowadays I don’t consciously think about what kind of light I need or how I’m going to create it – the decision making process is automatic.

But it’s taken many years to get here, so I’m going to teach you the principles of lighting – so that it becomes fast and instinctive for you too.

This module is about understanding the difference between soft and hard lighting, why it’s important, and how to create it.

You’ll learn to:

  • To appreciate the terminology and discern the difference between the fundamental building blocks of lighting – hard and soft light
  • To understand what hard/soft lighting looks like, and the principles of how to create it
  • To recognise how hard or soft light will have a different effect on products
  • Understand how hard light changes to soft light by applying a series of simple steps, using different lighting modifiers and diffusers

Module 7: Direct, Bounced and Fill Light

I want you to be comfortable with the idea that position within the frame will affect the product shape, and that focus can be used to accentuate different parts of an image.

You’ll learn to:

  • To understand the core principles behind Direct, Bounced and Fill lighting
  • Practical ways to create all three types in the studio
  • To appy this essential knowledge to your own lighting setup to immediately give your product photography a technical and creative boost

Module 8: Using a Light Tent

(But only if you really, really need to!)

That might sound a bit controversial, as it’s often the first thing that’s recommended for shooting products.

Personally, I choose not to shoot with a light tent. However, I can understand why some photographers might need them as a working vehicle for getting results that might be otherwise impossible.

The purpose of this module is to explore the options of using a light tent, what we can do with it, then look at the result and ask the question of whether we need it, or whether it’s better to do something else.

You’ll learn to:

  • To construct a light tent shot with a focus on how to achieve a professional result
  • To reflect upon the intricacies of the process required to maximise the opportunities
  • To evaluate the pros and cons of using a light tent
  • To decide whether or not a light tent is the best approach for you

Module 9: Glossy and Matt Products

One of the most important challenges we face as product photographers is to reproduce the quality of the look and feel of a real three-dimensional product in a two-dimensional picture.

We want to give the viewer all the information they need to think they know a product – even though they may never have actually seen or touched one before. The surface material and texture of the product must be truthfully represented by our choice and approach to lighting.

Building on what I showed you in modules 6 and 7, we’ll now explore two very different types of material finishes – glossy and matt.

You’ll learn to:

  • Apply and manipulate our hard and soft lighting techniques to develop simple and effective approaches for glossy and matt object photography
  • Apply that knowledge to ‘trickier’ gloss material surfaces using my main super-top-tip from this module
  • Easily light a matt object quickly
  • Understand that your lighting choices should be driven by your creative exploration and knowledge of the basic lighting principles, enabling you to create new and exciting work every time you shoot

Module 10: Metallic and Transparent Products

In this module we’ll push on and develop some crucial lighting skills, because it’s these surfaces that will give you the greatest challenges.

When photographing metallic and transparent products I think about the visual metaphors that best describe the materials. For metallic objects I think of darks and highlights; contrast and hard edges. When considering transparency as a concept I imagine depth of tone and rich light movement – transparency needs to glow from within.

I’ll take you step by step through the process of shooting two of the hardest products to photograph – the chrome kettle and the glass bottle.

You’ll learn to:

  • To describe metallic and transparent objects to help focus your mind on the lighting challenge ahead
  • To improve your results when shooting metallic and transparent materials
  • Some instant top tips on how to successfully tackle a shiny round metallic product with my personal setup
  • To adapt your lighting of a transparent object for both dark and light environments

Module 11: Cut-outs and White Backgrounds

Today’s creative industry requires product shots that can be used across multiple marketing platforms, usually requiring cut-outs.

This course is designed to help you become a flexible, intelligent creator of images that are 100% fit for purpose. So I’m going to take you through some approaches to make sure you know the pitfalls to avoid when setting up and shooting for cut-out.

In this module I’ll take you through how to shoot for cut-out, and against white and black backgrounds – ready to go straight on your website.

You’ll learn to:

  • Set up a product to shoot with no unwanted reflections
  • Establish easy techniques to control how your product’s edges will ‘see’ it’s environment
  • Understand what you need to think about when shooting to go against white, dark or coloured backgrounds
  • Use my cheeky lighting hack to deliver great cut-out results against light or dark backgrounds when you don’t know at the time of shooting
  • Shoot cleanly without a shadow or reflection and put the shot immediately on your website

Module 12: Surfaces: Shadow & Reflection

Using a shadow or a reflection as a grounding device makes for a much more dynamic shot.

A great surface will work with the product and can aid and improve the photograph’s visual communication.

Here we’ll look at creative use of shadow and reflection. We’ll explore how to integrate a product onto a surface using a shadow or a reflection.

You’ll learn to:

  • Appreciate how shadows and reflections add great value to your image
  • Use lighting techniques from my own sets to create shadows and reflections creatively on both white and black backgrounds to add strong impact to your images
  • Control the length and shape of your shadows
  • Use Photoshop techniques in conjunction with advanced shooting approaches to get great results using a black shiny surface

Module 13: Our Champagne Celebration

In this final module we’ll bring together everything you’ve learned and see what we can create.

Everything you see in this module has been shot live for the first time – I’ve never created this image before before this shoot.

You’ll learn to:

  • To understand and appreciate all the processes I go through when setting up and shooting an image
  • To be confident that you know everything you need to conduct a professional shoot in front of a client

Don't just take my word for it...

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