Product photography behind the scene video: Post production part.

A recorded LIVE broadcast from the product photography masterclass you can find at Alex’s blog. Here is a post production part with some explanations what I did. Hope you will find it interesting:-)

Mouse Over to see Before and After retouching

Product photography retouching, video.

Product photography retouching, video.

Thank you for looking. Any feedback and suggestions are very welcome!
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All the best,


23 comments to Product photography behind the scene video: Post production part.

  • Tom Bako

    Genia you are the one who makes Alex look good. Sorry Alex but true. You are a great retoucher. photography here is 20% – retouching is 80%. Sorry I try not to hurt your feelings.

    Keep up the good work Genia and Alex. Alex needs to work more on lighting techniques. Product photography is harder than any other type of photography there is and also very under appreciated.

    Warm Regards, Tom

  • Thank you, Tom:-) Yes, we both should work more on techniques and English:-). I am at the beginning of the retouching path too:-) But we very like a challenge of product photography, therefore we are here.

  • Tom,
    Thanks for the good words about Genia’s work. I agree with Genia that we need to improve our techniques, endlessly. However, it looks like you may not have enough product photography experience, saying that it is only 20% of photography in that shot. It just may look so to you:-)
    Not sure if you watched our video how we shot this watch, but multiple exposures (this is what we used here) is a very common way to get a great product shots in a short time.
    In any case, I appreciate your comment:-)

  • Tom Bako

    Alex & Genia, Thank you for posting my comments I wasn’t sure if Alex would be offended but he is a good sport. I like that he is committed to doing good work and that you are helping him and yourself achieve a higher level of discipline in the business of professional product photography. I am from the old school of film and we had to do 80% to 90% in-camera on film using 4×5 sinar and hasselblad. We would have to do multiple exposures and masking in-camera, when digital came along I switched to to a canon 10d my first digital camera and no photoshop experience, then I realized that photoshop was necessary because images looked like crap. Poor sensor technology, dynamic range not like film, image sharpness big problem, etc., but good for me because no more trips to the lab and wasting time. Now I shoot only digital and use photoshop. My point is that many photographers rely on photoshop instead of learning proper lighting techniques so they can make many mistakes from lack of knowledge and spend forever on computer to make the image look good. That does not make them a professional photographer. Any half decent photoshop user can fool the eye by fixing bad lighting.I think perhaps some photographers are just learning and are using their customers for practice? Maybe they are “weekend warriors” with a day job for main income? Anyway both of you keep up the good work. Thanks for your time, Tom

  • Tom,
    He-he, you sound so wise that I feel like a student here:-))
    Everything I know about photography I’ve learned while shooting, not reading or listening or watching. Yes, I am using our customers to learn and practice and experiment, and I’ll never stop doing that: I do not know other way to learn things.
    And speaking of “weekend warriors”, I know few with the photos far better than many of the professional full time photographers has. Sitting whole days in studio, does it make you a good photographer (talking about images, not a business side)? I am doubt, but may be its my luck of experience:-)

    Truly, I was not offended by your comment, you just sound like one of those “I know everything” guys, and I thought it was from luck of knowledge. Apparently I was wrong:-) Seriously, it will be really cool to see your work.. not to judge, but to learn. However, I can’t find anything online about you.

    All the best,

  • Tom Bako

    Alex, You are a good guy and the way you’re learning by trial and error is the best way sometimes to learn because you remember not to make the same mistake twice. Some guys were fortunate enough to work for a large studio and watch the Pro’s work, others worked very hard and spent many hours learning their craft without help. The internet has allowed many bad photographers to learn a few techniques and all of a sudden they are professionals, very silly indeed. There are only a handful of great product photographers and there are too many mediocre ones, too many copy kats.

    The word “professional” has been abused by many amateurs and semi-pros and even by so called Pros who are in this business Nikon and Canon have seen to that ( great marketing to sell 10,000 cameras). A true professional photographer can use an inferior instrument (low end camera) and still ‘light’ his way out of a paper bag and create beautiful, powerful images. As for weekend warriors being better than full time professionals it depends on what your perception is of a professional.

    Our industry has been inundated with so called PRO’S, give them a half decent digital camera and 2 months of photoshop and bingo I’M A PRO. Some PRO’S were never PRO’s but they are pretty good business people. Many sell to an uneducated buyer who is only interested in the bottom line $$$$$$$. So for them if the photo looks good enough it is GOOD ENOUGH. Any professional worth his weight in salt knows the difference. It’s easy to fool the uneducated eye. That’s why some people buy Zirconia diamonds instead of real diamonds because Zirconia looks good enough …….but it’s not the real thing. A digital camera and photoshop doesn’t make a professional photographer just like a hammer and tool box doesn’t make a skilled carpenter. I’ll send you some photos before and after for your personal viewing.

    Thanks Again, Tom

  • Tom,
    Would be glad to see your work, thank you. you can send them to

    Speaking of who to call professional: IMO, any guy with camera who makes his living from photography called a professional (it’s his profession, right?). Regardless of the quality of the photos he made. If he found a spot on a market, his photography “professional enough” to support his live. There is no good or bed, IMO: both words is very subjective.

    There are expensive, not expensive and cheap photographers, and this scale somehow can be used to separate “good” from “bad” professionals (still not 100% accurate though).
    This is how I see it:-)

    100% agree with that not a camera or other gear makes a good professional.. only the end result matters.

    Thank you,

  • Typo fix . . .

    That’s a remarkable transformation!
    I’m no purist, I approach product photography from an image editing background myself.
    I love my Canon cameras and I love Photoshop (since v 2.1)
    When you get the image you need – you win.
    How you arrive at sharp, beautiful contrast, well lit images is relevant only for discussion purposes.
    Rock on.

  • Viktor

    Hi both,

    I’ve been watching Alex’s videos through LinkedIn and I think your lighting techniques are pretty decent. Not a lot go that far to get the perfect image. Obviously, there is always something to learn but you look like the type who never stops. I would definitely give you a job if I had to based on what I saw.
    For the retouching, you post a 20 minute video of which 10 minutes is removing dust… suggest to cut that part out for viewing and just tell viewers how long it took. Plus if you make selections during cloning rather than just brushing around forever, that makes things faster as you don’t go over the areas you don’t want to. The rest of the steps were kind of obvious, still, the end result looks pretty good!


  • Adrian

    Hi Alex,

    Great videos! I find your work and replies very professional.
    Thanks for sharing!


  • GOOD ENOUGH is good enough everything here is based on this concept good enough to be sold no more no less
    I looks like product photography is too easy if a guy with “half decent digital camera and 2 months of photoshop” can compete with “real pro”
    unlike film days (camera+film system) PS now can actually create or at least transform an image not just capture that has already been created


  • It looks like product photography is too easy, but it’s not, regardless of a digital camera or photoshop.

  • David

    Just going through some of your setups and behind the scenes videos and noticed the feedback!
    So who is Tom Bako and why is such a Professional photographer so invisible to the online community.
    I would like very much to see strong opinion backed by equally strong images, we might all learn that little bit more.
    Alex I appreciate knowing how you work and find it a useful experience, so please keep posting and let me know when the Drink Splash master class will be available as I always like to compare techniques.

    A big thank you to you and Genia.


  • Thank you, David:-)
    Tom Bako is a really great professional photographer. I don’t know why he don’t have an on-line portfolio, but he sent us some of his work.
    We are planning master classes now on-line and live, we’ll announce them soon.

  • Thank you, David.
    Tom is a solid, “old school” photographer. We have some of his work in the comments of this post:

    Atlanta photographer: Mastering jewelry photography, my experience with a shooting cone

    I’ll be announcing Atalanta masterclass in a few days, and also we are working on a video from the last shots as well.

  • Tom Bako

    For the most part the value of my work is judged by my clients because they are the ones who pay for my services. I like to engage in forum talk but also like to protect my identity where possible. That is why I keep my online presence quiet for now.

    On a forum like this you can have a great difference of opinion regarding some comments. Some comments are outrageous, some intelligent and some are plain silly, depending on the person commenting and their experience base. Commercial photography is not about pretty pictures or flashy web sites, it’s about running a business and doing specific assignments for clients who determine the parameters of what you shoot.

    The majority of professional photographers only put the absolute best work on their web site which is a little deceptive in my opinion. I think there would be more respect in the industry if photographers would show not only the good….but the bad and the ugly. But, we live in a world where everything has to be perfect even though we know it’s not.

    Example, when hiring a wedding photographer ask to see all the images they take from a specific wedding not only the select proofs. Because of the digital environment some photographers take between 800 and 3000 images and then select the best 75 to 150 images for the bride and groom to view – how hard can it be to select 75 or 150 images with this shotgun approach to photography. If you had to pay for film and processing you would see the calibre of each image taken being more thought out.

    One year I shot 20 weddings and the company that hired my services would give me 10 rolls of 120 film for medium format, I had to come back with 95% usable wedding book images. That takes skill. I found that I didn’t like the hectic pace and the money I was making from it. I am not a wedding photographer but I tried it out as an experiment. If I was to start out today I would charge no less than 3500. for an 8 to 10 hour wedding and deliver full res images on photo cd with a small proof album. I would also hire an assistant for 200. for the day – any amateur or semi-pro would be fine to use in this capacity for gear selection and crowd control,not shooting.

    As a working product photographer I produce work for graphic design firms, small to medium ad agencies and the majority of my work is on location. Whether I deliver 1 image or 10 or 20 images each has to be properly lit and captured in camera. That’s where the skill comes in.

    I use photoshop to clean up images. Years ago you would have to hire a professional retoucher. Now you have professional photoshop retouchers to fill the gap. I have a fairly good grasp of photoshop and how to use it for what I do but using it can be a cop out for taking bad shots and then trying to make them look good in photoshop, that can take a lot of energy and be a waste of time. Unless the assignment calls for some special effect you should always try to capture the image in camera, again that’s what separates the Pros from the amateurs.

    Proper execution of lighting and composition are the keys to creating high quality images. Whatever equipment you use should be in good working order and you do not need lots of megapixels unless you are producing sizeable wall hangings which I do not. All of my work is reproduced in print and for the web with some banner advertising.

    To finish off, I consider myself primarily a capable product photographer, by that I mean when I’m asked to do an assignment I do it according to customer specifications and budget restrictions. I think Alex and Genia are doing good things for the photographic community at large and I hope
    it pays off for them. Free is good but getting paid is much better IMHO.

  • You are the Photoshop GOD! I can capture the image, but what happens next is the most important part, your information is very helpful! I am not sure I will ever be able to do the detail work you demonstrate. I feel like I should outsource that part because I don’t have the ability to create the same effects you have in your blog.

    Either way, Thank You for such a great resource!
    Kevin Thompson

  • …But you said “Now I shoot only digital and use photoshop.” So does this now make you less professional? And if the only thing you’re gaining from switching from film to digital, is less lab time…it would seem , you’d stick to you guns and continue with the “film”discipline. I’m no pro but , I see photoshop as a wonderful tool, and as an Artist someone can say “Oh! that’s not real art , because it’s done on a computer!” Implying that the only way to create genuine art is with a pencil or brush in hand. Photoshop is simply another tool/medium is all. It’s wonderful to be classically trained but it’s also wonderful to just create without qualifying yourself . If I draw as square with a paint brush ,you with a marker ,and another using a computer , what the hell is the difference?

  • Tom Bako

    @Eve Harlowe, The difference is simple – one is a brush, one is marker and one is a computer they are just tools just like film. This subject has been talked to death and I have had ‘one on one’ conversations with Alex about pros, amateurs and everything in between – He knows what I mean and what my intent is by the comments I have made on this blog – Ask Alex. I shoot digital and use photoshop, also you have to read the context of my comments in their entirety throughout the blog to understand what the discussion was about. If you don’t know ‘what the HELL the difference is’ then that’s your problem. You can create art out of campbells alphabet soup and laquer it on a plaque and hang it on your wall, call it art and your an artist – so what’s your point? Have a nice day – I like your work BTW.

  • Oh Tom… LOL! You’re a funny dude ! I’m really glad you enjoyed my work , it’s a labor of love. I’m well aware of the difference between the mediums “I” mentioned…funny your point of view suddenly seems very much like my own. I’ll remember in the future, before commenting on posts to search the archives and read the back story so as not to offend, you cheeky bastard :).

  • Tom Bako

    @Eve Harlowe

    Thank you for being open and honest it’s quite refreshing. BTW I also dig your name, I can see it in lights “Now Appearing on Stage EVE HARLOWE” True as true can be, it really does have that thing, that Hollywood……you know thing. Your Good – sincerely wish you much success in all you do. Be Brave, Go Strong. :-)

  • @Tom Bako

    LOL! Thank you! I’m confident my name will be in lights before it’s all over. And all the best to you as well Tom. It was an unexpected pleasure chatting with you.

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