Watch Photography Tips?
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  1. #1
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    Based on what I see in here, I know there are a lot of really fantastic photographers on the forum. I would like to see a thread of commons sense tips on how to produce good images of watches. I'm an average snapshot photographer with a good quality consumer point-and-shoot camera with macro features. I find it really hard to get decent shots that have sufficient detail, aren't too dim or too harsh, etc. Finally found the sticky threads, which need studying. Thanks.
    Last edited by paulie485; September 19th, 2011 at 03:07.

    Paul

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  2. #2
    Member curiousMan's Avatar
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    Count me in - especially I'd like to know how to avoid reflections, except shooting from angle

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    Re: Watch Photography Tips?

    I'm no expert, but some things that I've found to help are:

    You first should decide whether you want a real shallow depth of field, or a deep depth of field, and set your aperture accordingly.

    On a wrist shot, you need to have a fast enough shutter speed to freeze it, while still having enough light to show it. The sun is too harsh; try a bright, overcast day. As a last resort, you can crank up the ISO to allow a fast enough shutter speed.

    On a non-wrist shot, use a tripod, to allow you to use native ISO and a slow shutter speed.

    Soft light is the key, and enough of it.
    Mark
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  5. #4
    Moderator at Large stuffler,mike's Avatar
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    Re: Watch Photography Tips?

    Post moved.
    Kind regards
    Mike


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  6. #5
    Member jose-CostaRica's Avatar
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    Re: Watch Photography Tips?

    hello paulie485, may I know what camera you have? that could be helpful if someone else have the same camera, well there are lots of tricks you can do to avoid reflections on the crystal of the watch, for example if you have a fluorescent desktop lamp you can "filter" the light trough a thin white shirt or small blanket which will soften the light therefore the reflections will be softer also but that will not eliminate reflections due to the nature of the crystal... so if you really want to get rid of reflections I recommend you to get a Circular Polarized Filter, that will reduce significantly reflections. but let´s start by knowing your camera, I have a point-and-shoot also which allows to attach extension tubes in order to use filters and some other cool stuff ...

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jose-CostaRica
    hello paulie485, may I know what camera you have? that could be helpful if someone else have the same camera, well there are lots of tricks you can do to avoid reflections on the crystal of the watch, for example if you have a fluorescent desktop lamp you can "filter" the light trough a thin white shirt or small blanket which will soften the light therefore the reflections will be softer also but that will not eliminate reflections due to the nature of the crystal... so if you really want to get rid of reflections I recommend you to get a Circular Polarized Filter, that will reduce significantly reflections. but let´s start by knowing your camera, I have a point-and-shoot also which allows to attach extension tubes in order to use filters and some other cool stuff ...
    Hi, Jose,

    I have a Panasonic Lumix with 14 megapixels. It is the waterproof shockproof version. I don't think there are any polarizing filters that fit it, but maybe I am wrong. It does have quite a few different settings to work with. In think one of the big factors will be getting used to taking advantage of ambient light and not relying on flash. Thanks for any tips you can give. I also need to study the sticky threads. :)

    Cheers, Paulie

    Paul

    _____________
    Currently onboard:- - Sea-Gull 1963 Airforce Chrono Reissue - Magrette Regattare Bronze
    Halios Laguna - -IWC Aquatimer - -Omega SMP - - Omega DeVille Prestige
    Seiko Sumo "the Big Orange" - - Assorted Vostoks- - - Omega PO "The Grail"
    - -WUS Chinese Forum Design Project Gone but not forgotten: Anonimo Sailor Diver Tissot T-Touch - - Omega X-33 - - Bathys 100 Fathom
    Science Experiment: Pulsar Quartz Alarm (convinced me I will never have a career as a watchmaker)

  8. #7
    Member DragonDan's Avatar
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    Re: Watch Photography Tips?

    Hi, there are other similar threads in this photo section, although I can provide some simple tips. First: focus is paramount. This is helped by stability of camera. A tripod is great, although a bag of pinto beans works well too. Use of the built-in timer or a shutter release keeps you from bumping the camera while tripping the shutter - even mirror lock-up for DSLR cameras. Second: small aperture (large f/stops) to keep depth of field usable (This only applies if you are in manual mode). Generally speaking, f/stops between f/11 - f/22 work well (I normally shoot at f-11 to f/16). The idea is that the smaller the aperture (larger f/stop number) the more depth of field, which keeps more of the watch in focus. The trade-off is that small apertures let in less light, so you need longer shutter speeds.
    Third: composition. Make it interesting to look at, keep distracting things out of the frame, have a clear subject point.

    OR, if you're using an automatic mode - put it in macro mode, get close enough to organize a good composition, have plenty of diffracted/ diffused light, set the self-timer and let it do its thing.

    As for reflections, those are tricky to handle (I'm still working on it myself). Try having enough light to give you proper color reproduction, and have some black construction paper that you can hold in various positions to keep direct light off of shiny surfaces. A CP filter will work, although these have limitations and are probably not used with a point-n-shoot. CP filters work well on glass/ crystal so you can see the dial nicely, although they won't help with blown-out highlights on a shiny case.

    Most importantly: have fun and keep at it! Post some experiments you've set up and we can offer some specific tips.
    ~D
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  9. #8
    Member curiousMan's Avatar
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    Re: Watch Photography Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonDan View Post
    As for reflections, those are tricky to handle (I'm still working on it myself). Try having enough light to give you proper color reproduction, and have some black construction paper that you can hold in various positions to keep direct light off of shiny surfaces. A CP filter will work, although these have limitations and are probably not used with a point-n-shoot. CP filters work well on glass/ crystal so you can see the dial nicely, although they won't help with blown-out highlights on a shiny case.

    Most importantly: have fun and keep at it! Post some experiments you've set up and we can offer some specific tips.
    ~D
    would it be OK to hold CP filter in front of the point&shoot camera?

  10. #9
    Member jose-CostaRica's Avatar
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    Re: Watch Photography Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by curious1234 View Post
    would it be OK to hold CP filter in front of the point&shoot camera?
    YES it is ok! actually there are brackets that do that, they old the piece of polarized glass in front of the lens but for DSLR cameras only (cameras that chance lenses), I like to be graphic so here you have an example from the internet:

    Name:  1271379544687_hz_myalibaba_web13_3347.jpg
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    just remember that PL Filters have 2 grades of "polarization" into the glass... this means that one half of the glass has stronger level so it will saturate colors more than the other (in landscape photography this can be used to give deepness to clouds in the sky or to saturate and make more blue the sky), for instance a "circular" filter is obviously a round piece of glass which you can rotate as you like in order to "apply" that higher portion of polarization to your scene... oh boy I now I talk to much but I´m just trying to be as helpful as possible. So the objective of this is that if you hold a PL filter in front of your lens just make sure that the portion which is covering the lens is the one with that higher level of polarization...

    and here is a good example of a PL filter in action, the picture at the left was taken with polarization, you can see that reflections have been eliminated, the same applies to a watch:

    Name:  pl.jpg
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  11. #10
    Member jose-CostaRica's Avatar
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    Re: Watch Photography Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulie485 View Post
    Hi, Jose,

    I have a Panasonic Lumix with 14 megapixels. It is the waterproof shockproof version. I don't think there are any polarizing filters that fit it, but maybe I am wrong. It does have quite a few different settings to work with. In think one of the big factors will be getting used to taking advantage of ambient light and not relying on flash. Thanks for any tips you can give. I also need to study the sticky threads. :)

    Cheers, Paulie
    Paulie that is a sweet camera! ;) , DragonDan said it wright! you can use a mirror to reflect the flash to a wall or ceiling... but that will probably cast an undesired shadow also, specially if you are very close to the watch using macro. If your camera has the option to use it in full MANUAL mode, take advantage of that, you can also use semi-manual modes like Aperture Priority (Av), but basically what you should try is activating MACRO and sit the camera in a book or some other object if you don't have a tripod, also use the self timer, compose the image, half-press the shutter button so the camera can focus properly and then fully press it and leave the self timer do the rest. To avoid reflections as much as possible... well my friend play with angles.

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