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Pugwash's "How to photograph watches" - part two

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(This article first appeared on Tea-Are-Sea and is reprinted here by request)

So, did you all take a nice pic of your watch lesson one style? Great, because today, I felt inspired by a new trader. He sells lots of Panerais, which don't appeal to me yet - but I'm sure they will one day, and his pics are all a little blurred with the reflection of the camera in the sapphire.

So, jjs_swiss_store, this one's for you. :D

The Stock Shot

So, instead of the planned composition and lighting and stuff I was going to do, I've decided to show you how to do a simple sell-your-watch stock shot, just like this:


Once again, I've got my expensive, flashy camera and lighting kit out and ... used it to take pics of how to do it without the good stuff.


What you'll need for this lesson is a camera, a watch, a table, some printer paper, a table or spot lamp and, er ... um, a pillowcase or similar. Oh, and maybe a few CD cases or similar to sit stuff on.

Put a few CD cases on the table, put some paper on top and place the watch in an interesting pose, maybe like the one above, or similar. Don't do it face on to the camera, but use an interesting angle that won't show reflections of the camera on the sapphire.

Then, get anything like a book or a mug to curve the paper up behind the watch. This is your basic white background that shows off best the watch. Black can be used if you have it, like a t-shirt or something, but expect a call from Neil's lawyers claiming you're cramping his style.


Next, put the lamp next to the still life with watch you've created, turn *off* the flash, set your timer to ten seconds (you may or may not need the camera set to Macro) and press the button!

Take a few pictures like that, making positional changes here and there and then take the camera to your computer. Leave the still-life there, as we'll be coming back once we've seen how terrible the pictures are.

Firstly, we forgot to clean the watch. Oops, out with the cleaning cloth and polish up that beauty. Secondly, the shadows are harsh, almost was bad as the flash, but they're at funny angles and the light is too strong and ... relax. We've got this covered.

What we need is some way to diffuse the light. Something to make it less harsh, like a lampshade, or ... a pillowcase! Excellent, now look at the pictures you took and see what pose works best. Next, move the camera back a bit, creating more white space around the watch, and as before, set the timer and everything. Now, hopefully your timer will give you ten seconds to be a lighting rigger.

Click the button, and move over to the lamp and gently put the diffuser (pillowcase, carrier bag, whatever) between the lamp and the watch and wait until the pic is taken. do a few more shots like this, making adjustments as you see fit.


Once this is done, upload the pics to your PC and check out the quality. Better, eh?

Now, feel free to take shots from different angles like the back or of the crown, if you want to show people all the specifics. However, less is better. Two or three good shots of a watch should be enough to convince anyone of the quality.

If you want, you can crop the picture down to a better composition, but we'll go into that in much more detail about that another day.

Feel free to post pics of your watches here or in eyecandy to show off your new learned techniques.

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