Watch Photography

This studio watch photography tutorial will break down the fundamentals of commercial still life photography: lighting, composition and styling.

Instructor: Martin

What you'll learn

Course description

This watch photography course will break down the fundamentals of commercial still life photography: lighting, composition and styling. A special emphasis will also be on setting up the studio, equipment and materials needed, and post-production editing. I recently had the pleasure to photograph watches for a leading watch manufacturer. Twissic is a family-owned watch business with over 30 years of manufacturing experience. In the end, I created two interesting images that the client can use as marketing material. Both images were well-received by the client and my photography community. I have also just realized an in-depth watch photography tutorial that will guide you through both images.

Concept 1: The Sunrise

Time is often insignificant outside of our planet. It is only in our world where it has any meaning. We often associate the sunrise with a new day or the passing of time. In this setting, the watch represents time on our planet. I laid the watch across a curved sheet of paper as if it were wrapping around a planet. Behind it, the light created a sunrise effect. To achieve this, I placed a large whiteboard behind the subject. A large studio light beamed through the board and onto the subject. This created a soft, diffused light. Some of the light rays crawled up from under the board, contributing to the sunrise effect.

Another light source was cast overhead, this time with a more narrow focal point. This helped illuminate the backdrop, whilst engulfing the strap and base into darkness. If you study the final image, you will notice that the gold outer ring of the case remains visible, but the straps have disappeared from view. The brand, Twissic, is still clear and in focus just below the escaping light. I will go into detail on how I set up and edited this photograph in my tutorial. The videos will break down the entire process needed to recreate this watch photography result.

Concept 2: Transmission Gears

The second photograph and the theme behind it came about in a less orthodox way. I was in a scrapyard with my father, and we stumbled across a pile of used, metal gears. These are most likely from old vehicles. I made the connection between the watch photography and gears, and how they symbolize the internal components of the piece. The owner of the junkyard was happy to sell several of the gears for almost nothing. I purchased two of them, they weighed 15 kilograms at least.

The way the gears turn both symbolize the passing of time, but also how the clock is mechanical in nature. The setup for this shoot was straight forward and I will show you how to do it yourself in my tutorial. I cleaned and scrubbed the gears to remove any grit. This also allowed the camera to capture the goldish-copper tones of the metal. Further, the black watch strap would have not contrasted well if the gears were left in their original state. The image really packs a punch when it comes to the finer details. It is easy to notice the raw, worked leather against the smooth, mechanical jaws of the gears.

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Course Includes

  • 7 Lessons