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Author Topic: Watch photography setup tips  (Read 2175 times)

Brian Hirschfeld

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Watch photography setup tips
« on: February 17, 2015, 06:32:45 pm »

I'm thinking about getting into some watch photography since its one of my other passions and would be fun to be able to photograph some of the technically amazing watches out there. I know pretty specifically the set up I was trying to replicate (see below). I've sort of come up with a little portable set up that I will detail below, any thoughts or advice of gear or technique would be much appreciated.

I'm thinking about using a portable light tent (one of those ones with a zipper for the lens to go through to reduce reflections) and a small portable white infinity board as the back drop. I will use a clear watch stand which will be easy to photoshop out but beyond that I don't want to get into any major post production like one would for a advertisement etc. So aside from the light tent and white infinity back drop, I would get some strobes prob just with the standard reflectors and put one above and then one on each side of the set up.

Again any thoughts about how to get to results like these are greatly appreciated. Thanks,

Best,
BH
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2015, 07:11:14 pm »

These soldier images even, all have some to a lot of editing. While they are not the main hero shot, these too would also be used in adverts.
Light tents kill the metal look and make things flat.

Its "fun" when you start. After you get it right, I wouldn't call it fun :-)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 02:40:39 pm by Phil Indeblanc »
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Brian Hirschfeld

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2015, 09:22:01 pm »

My question is, these are all images from Auction houses (Christies) or of pre-owned watches (Betteridge), and these don't appear to be stock images and I find it hard to believe that they would photoshop pre-owned watches where the obvious goal is to show the condition, anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 04:12:54 am »

It looks like these are trying to mimic "stock" images.

Unless the watches are new/mint auction houses would have it in their best interest to show them as they are.
It can be that they create model inventories to have a "placeholder" image while the actual item on hand would have its own images.

Either way, they are edited.
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Balt

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2015, 09:46:48 am »

They generally are images of the actual item. Just taken and edited by a pro... :-) Christies, Antiquorum etc will not show you a placeholder image when bidding on a particular item!
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AFairley

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2015, 12:00:49 pm »


Light tents kill the metal look and make things flat.


When I was shooting jewelry and the like I would tent the objects but also use additional direct lights outside the tent to create hot spots on it to get highlights and some relief on the objects.  You also can differentially light the tent.
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2015, 01:07:34 am »

Any sample images of how they result?
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orc73

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2015, 02:27:28 am »

as said before they don't show much emotion. if you need images to show the condition of those watches. if you want to share your enthusiasm about watches, I believe a product shoot tent is not the way.
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ACH DIGITAL

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2015, 12:26:16 pm »

There are two type of watch images.

-Advertising ones that are all different from each other, with different styles depending on the art direction purpose and of course dedicated lighting for each set up. On these type of images you can not have a preset lighting set up.

-Then (like the screen shots you have) the catalog images. For these you can have a preset lighting set up of your own with worse or better results depending on your knowledge and dedication.

The Rolex one is a very good example of catalog image, is frontal, surely shot ins a tent (bought or created with defuse light panels and have 4 lights, 2 on the sides , 1 on top and 1 below. These 4 lights should go like 25 degrees in angle to the watch. Meaning they are not exactly on the sides or on top but closer the the camera. Like when your doing repos.

The retouching process is different for advertising, which is closer to photoshop illustration and the catalog which is lighter more toward cleaning stains, dust and blemishes. Here you can go as far as you want depending on the needs. Like brand catalogs need to be pristine, whereas Christies have too be more real.

My thoughts..
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Watch photography setup tips
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2015, 01:30:08 pm »

No help people guess into your specific question on why....Calling up and ask (which ever you're interested in) them as an interested buyer should get you the right answer.
I agree that the items should be represented with honesty. When I worked at an auction house, it was clear to not overly clean the pieces. Maybe the couple auction houses you list only deal with mint condition, as some do. Regardless, these images are edited to be "new" looking.
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