Watch Photography Hacks

Discussion area for watch books, tools and other related items.
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cel4145
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Watch Photography Hacks

Post by cel4145 »

How about a thread for watch photography tips and tricks?

I'll start it off. I use Zeiss Cleaning Wipes for my glasses:

[img]https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com ... L1000_.jpg[/img]

IME, these work much better than drug store eyeglass cleaning wipes. And anyone into photography knows Zeiss as a long respected lens manufacturer. Their wipes can be used on camera optics, and they get a 4.8 out of 5 rating at B&H Photo.

When I clean my glasses, I also use the wipe to clean off my phone camera lens. But that's not the main watch photography hack here. The wipes are great for giving my watch a quick wipe down before taking a wristshot. Since the wipes are designed not to damage optic coatings on camera lenses, I feel it's a safe assumption that the chemicals in the wipe won't hurt my wristwatch.
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uvalaw2005
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by uvalaw2005 »

If you're trying to minimize glare/reflections off the watch crystal, buy a piece of 20"x30" black foam board at Dollar General for $1, and hold it up behind the camera (or angle it between the watch and the light source to control "flecto" effects).

[img][/img]

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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by tommy_boy »

A light box works wonders for sparkly stuff. Mine is made of fabric and collapses for easy storage.

The trick for me is to control the background color and apply a ton of light (the higher color temperature the better) IMO to the exterior.

I got the box/cube and different color drapes on flea bay for around $35, as I recall. Here's a search term: "36" Photo Light Cube Tent Photography Studio Lighting Box Backdrop Background."
Just my $0.02 USD as always.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by BostonCharlie »

Not much of a hack, but I take my ensemble wristshots using a mirror and then flipping the image. We have a mirror hanging on the wall by our door that I set in an overstuffed chair in our living room, where the light is good in the afternoon. It results in some artifacts. I think these are from two, offset reflections: one from the glass and one from the mirror. You can see them around the blue G-SHOCK lettering in this one:

[Update: sorry -- the image has been corrupted; TODO]
Last edited by BostonCharlie on Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by norsairius »

A bit of ambient light from the background in a mostly dark room helps a lot to get in-focus lume shots. For example, I go into a bathroom but leave the hallway light on and set my watch on the counter further away from the door. Some samples I've taken using this trick:
20190321_023633902_iOS.jpg
20190312_004059068_iOS.jpg
20190310_222512480_iOS.jpg
20190323_175338761_iOS - Copy.jpg
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cel4145
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by cel4145 »

For Android users (not sure about iPhone) who would like a user-friendly photo editing app for their camera photos, I have really enjoyed Photoshop Express. Easy to crop. Has a ton of different filters which are very easy to apply. And it has a touchup option that works very well. For instance, in this photo, there were a few stray white flecks on the black bezel which I removed in about 30 seconds before posting the photo online:

[img]https://i.postimg.cc/PJLHNPDC/dryden-re ... edited.jpg[/img]

Now if there were just an arm hair removal tool, the app would be perfect. Maybe an AI-enabled version of the app will be able to do that one day :)

But seriously, I end up using Photoshop Express on my PC where I also have Photoshop CC 2019. Undoubtedly, Photoshop CC 2019 is far more powerful. But Photoshop Express works well for a quick crop and edit of the image before I post. Even when I use my digital camera, I still use Photoshop Express for doing most photo preps before loading on the website.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by TheJohnP »

Just a suggestion, perhaps some "before" pics would help give more context to the tips and give more weight to the "after" ones.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by cel4145 »

If anyone is in need of free image hosting for posting to MoT, I've been using PostImage since the Photobucket fiasco a couple of years ago. PostImage is free to use.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by cel4145 »

TheJohnP wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:44 pm Just a suggestion, perhaps some "before" pics would help give more context to the tips and give more weight to the "after" ones.
Building off of your suggestion, I have been trying to remember to mention the Photoshop Express filter (when I use one) in my WRUW thread shots. It's not a before and after set of photos, but it can help others to see what kind of post-processing is being used.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by Brice »

[mention]cel4145[/mention] the Zeiss Cleaning Wipes are wonderful. The studio where I shot the video and pictures for the Time Locker Kickstarter launch gave me a box of these wipes. I now always carry a few with me when I go shoot pictures of the watches.

[mention]uvalaw2005[/mention], I use a polarized filter to reduce reflections on the watch glass. I will give a try to your technique too.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by deckeda »

The Tenn and Two podcast recently did an episode on watch photography, https://tennandtwo.com/2020/02/11/episo ... ndwatches/

There are many ways to do all of this of course, and take it as casual or serious as you like. One challenge I think we're all aware of is how to position three things together at once, without any of them moving:



1) The subject
Regarding the first, yeah clean it. Google "rocket blaster" --- it'll blast away small and loose dust and hairs you'd otherwise spend far too much time trying to wipe away.

You want to blast away the loose stuff prior to wiping, so that you don't risk grinding dirt into acrylic crystals or other soft areas.

91% isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean watches and lenses. A little bit on a Q-Tip goes a long way. If you opt for a lower-percentage it'll take more time to absorb into the Q-Tip or evaporate.

KIM wipes are good to have around also. They are not soaked in anything, so they can be used to dry off surfaces safely. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=kimwipes&gcl ... veyyf2z8_e

The 1-ply (green) boxes are fine.


2) The lighting
Look near windows inside your house. That's a natural softbox. Outside, similarly look for overhangs. Stay out of direct sunlight, but obviously heavy shade isn't going to do you any favors either.

The small "light boxes for eBay" mentioned earlier are good because again, they'll diffuse the light before it hits the watch. You need to feed them good light from outside the box if they don't come with it.


3) The camera
It can be hard to hold the camera or phone at the best angle and still hit the shutter. Any cheap gadget that helps speed this up means you'll take more pictures. Tripods etc.

Josh from the Tenn and Two podcast episode uses a large softbox for his images, usually with a reflector on the opposite side of the subject (standard photo technique for even lighting). Sometimes that "reflector" is merely a white shirt. Get creative, resourceful!

The cameras on a tripod and he uses his phone as a remote screen and to fire the shutter. Think about it ... doing like that means not having to squat down or peek up on tippy-toe to see the back of the camera. Especially if trying for one of those "pocket shots" where it looks as if someone else took the picture of you with your hand in your pocket.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by BostonCharlie »

I have been using an old iPhone 5 for my photos (my real phone is Android). It beats every digital camera I have, dedicated or smartphone, for wrist shots. It has no phone service, so it's just a camera with wi-fi to me.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by Elkins45 »

I bought a clear frosted oval wastebasket and cut a hole in the bottom. For top down photography of small objects like watches and pocket knives it’s perfect. You get excellent diffusion of even harsh direct sunlight. Place the object of a flat surface, set the waste basket around it and shoot thru the top.
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by zer »

While I do use a regular camera mostly, I've found some success with using my iPhone 11pro camera, specifically on the 2x zoom lens. For some reason, it puts more emphasis on the subject of the pic and actually creates a a clear distinction between foreground and background. Below is an example, I actually used this as a listing photo a while back!
Image
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Re: Watch Photography Hacks

Post by Miggyd87 »

zer wrote: Mon May 29, 2023 5:38 pm While I do use a regular camera mostly, I've found some success with using my iPhone 11pro camera, specifically on the 2x zoom lens. For some reason, it puts more emphasis on the subject of the pic and actually creates a a clear distinction between foreground and background. Below is an example, I actually used this as a listing photo a while back!
Image
I'm not super knowledgeable, nore do I pretend to be any sort of expert, but your iphone 11 pro has more than one camera lens correct? This 2x zoom forces the iphone to a different lens yielding your results. If this is attempted with most single lens phones, all the act of zooming is doing is digitally moving towards your object, and cropping the background.

This will yield worse results for single lens phones, with fixed focal lengths.
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