Product photographer Rob Grimm is looking to add work to his portfolio, and enlists the help of photoshop touch-up artist Aaron Nace.

This tutorial is two in one.  The first is the product shoot itself, and here Rob shows his lighting, product, and camera set-up.  He then brings in the model, and again shows his behind-the-scenes techniques in specifics.

Aaron then gets the images and immediately gets to work on them.  Aaron shows you standard workflow in product photography and talks in detail about how he edits the images and brings them together to make a single coherent “advert”. 


Basic Information

Website: PHLearn

Title: Pro Hipster Watch

Run Time: 2:30 hours

Difficulty: Advanced

Price: $34.99 (on sale for $24.99, or get the bundle that includes 100 Bokeh background images for $29.99)





The Download is a zip file that comes with all of the image files Aaron works with, and is 1.4 gigabytes in size.

  1. Brushes
  2. Lighting Diagrams
  3. Support
  4. Tutorial Images
  5. Video Tutorial (in 4 parts .MP4)


Technically speaking, the tutorial is everything you’d expect from a professional production; the video is high definition 720p, the audio is clean, and the narration is well-spoken and clearly understandable.

Part 1 – the Shoot:


The tutorial is delivered chronologically for the entire shoot.  It starts with Rob and Aaron offering an introduction of their planned shoot and what they have in mind, and then you join Rob in the studio as he talks about his lighting and product set-up.  He offers tips and insights into lighting technique and product positioning and model posing.  I felt that overall this was the simplest part of the tutorial, but Rob still did a great job of talking about the specifics of the shoot.  One feature that he included is that he shot images of the model and product starting with no lights, and then added one at a time until all lights were on – I felt that this was very beneficial as it showed how the lighting directly affected the subject, and did so in a clear and concise way.

Part 2 – the Processing


After Rob is done he sends the images to Aaron for editing.  These are included in your purchased ZIP file, and contain the backgrounds, several variations of the wrist watch product and the model.  Aaron offers a lot of great tips along the way, and does a tremendously good job of speaking to the basics such as hotkey shortcuts and common functions and tools.  He gives pointers to help with efficiency and overall workflow, and of course speaks to the higher functions of Photoshop for the advanced user.  Whereas I found Rob’s segment to be insightful, I found Aaron’s to be particularly helpful, and I felt that he did a great job speaking to all levels of users; while he was using more advanced methods in CS6, I felt that he taught in a way that every level of user would be able to follow along.

One aspect that stands out to me is how both Rob and Aaron delivered the content.  They spoke in a personable and likeable way, and did not have the tendency to speak from a soap box, so to speak, as some other photographers incidentally do.


Final Thoughts & Conclusion

Both segments of the tutorial are very easy to understand and offer a lot of great tips for every aspect of the shoot; from using colored and polarizing gels on light sources to Photoshop blending techniques that allow composites to look natural.  Rob and Aaron are talented in their respective trades, but they are also great teachers.  The video, I believe, has “replay-value” in that it offers so many great tips and solutions to commercial photography problems.

This tutorial is unique in that it highlights product photography, which can be very challenging due to the usually small size of the product (in this case a wrist-watch) but these techniques can be used in many variations of our work, like creative portrait, real-estate, architecture, or (perhaps) even landscape.  Further, I feel that the tutorial inspires to build up a photographer’s portfolio, which is always a good idea, and gives a creative solution for doing so.

Pro Hipster Watch Tutorial on PHLearn