Photographing the beauty and intricacy of a watch is a challenging task. There are myriad factors that can make or break a shot, from finding the perfect lighting to choosing the right composition. But fear not, we've gathered some expert tips and techniques to assist you in creating stunning watch photographs that truly shine.
Watch photography is a tricky business. You’re photographing a naturally reflective item traditionally made of various reflective materials with many different facets. At some point, you’re going to get to a point where you’ll need to rely on post-production editing rather than altering your setup.
Thankfully, there are many different tools and options available for editing your watch photos. When you’re actually photographing the watches there are many problems to overcome but there are almost always solutions available.
These fixes apply to all forms of watch photography, but it’s worth a special mention to those selling watches through an eCommerce store. Often eCommerce stores require the product and only the product to be visible. That requires a completely white background. Where that’s not possible in production, you could always use a background remover tool to do the heavy lifting for you.
You can make life considerably easier for yourself by getting as much right as possible during the photoshoot itself. The following tips should help you have a successful shoot and minimize your post-production requirements.
A tripod is considered necessary for taking sharp and well-composed images of watches. A tripod's stability ensures that there is minimal camera shake, resulting in crisp and clear images. A tripod also allows you to keep the watch in the same position when capturing multiple images for focus stacking or compositing. You can take your time with a tripod to perfect your shot and capture the fine details of the watch.
Including accessories in the shot can improve the overall look of the watch photographs. When product staging, consider using elements such as a wooden watch box or a leather strap to make your composition more visually appealing. The right accessories can also add depth and interest to an image while complementing and emphasizing the watch's unique features. Experiment with various accessories to find the best fit for the watch.
The hands should be symmetrical and centered, preferably at 10:10 or 1:50 (industry standard). If you're looking to achieve perfection, consider using a loupe or a magnifying glass to ensure that the hands are perfectly positioned. The more detail-focused you are the more professional an image you'll achieve.
When framing the shot, use the rule of thirds. This requires you to place the watch at the intersection of two lines (potentially imaginary) for a more visually appealing composition. Take note of the negative space in the shot and use it to create balance and highlight the watch. Experiment with various angles and perspectives to find the best composition for your shot.
Remove any dust, smudges, or fingerprints from the watch with a microfiber cloth. Clean the crystal as well as the band, and use a soft brush to remove any debris from the crevices. A clean watch not only looks better in photos but also shows your attention to detail and professionalism.
Playing with ISO settings can assist you in achieving the desired lighting and mood for your watch photograph. A low ISO setting (eg, ISO 100) results in less noise and a sharper image, whereas a higher ISO setting (eg, ISO 800) can add more grain and texture to the image for a more vintage or dramatic look. Have a play with various ISO settings to find the optimal balance of noise and sharpness for your shot.
To soften the light and minimize harsh shadows and glare, use a softbox or diffuser. Adjust the angle of the light source as needed to avoid unwanted reflections on the watch crystal or band. Diffused light not only creates a more aesthetically pleasing image but also highlights the watch's details and features. If you’re new to photography entirely, consider reading up on a product photography lighting for beginners guide.
Finally, keep practicing your watch photography skills. Experiment with various techniques, accessories, and lighting setups to develop your own personal style and vision. Analyze your shots to identify areas for improvement, and make an effort to learn from your mistakes. Join online watch photography communities and share your work to receive feedback and connect with others who share your interests. You can create stunning watch photographs that showcase your creativity and expertise with patience and dedication.
Watch photography can be a difficult but rewarding endeavor. Take your time, practice, and develop your setup, before you know it you'll be creating beautiful photographs. Follow these tips and techniques and stunning images will soon follow.
Looking to up your post-production game? Try using Pixelcut’s incredible suite of photo editing tools.