shooting watches.

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by bluerangeriii, May 8, 2007.

  1. bluerangeriii

    bluerangeriii TPF Noob!

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    i work for a online store photographing the products we sell.

    im currently updating our watch inventory. we usually use nixon's ftp site but they havent updated it with their new watches.

    im trying to make a make shift tent or something so that the watch doesnt reflect the environment. when i use the tent it makes the watch flat and have no shadows and it becomes unappealing. the face of the watch is reflective so i need to bounce white light on the numbers to see them. but it adds a white cast on the glass. i dont have access to a polarizer. i use black tape to tape the inside of my tent to add some shadow detail. (idea is that the watch reflects the black tape and adds some dark lines and detail) the company only has one strobe no soft box i have reflectors. the pictures come out decent but not as good as i want it to be. does anyone have any ideas? remember my department doesnt have a budget for extra stuff so i can only make things to enhance the photos.

    or just give me an over all on how to light a reflective watch and ill try to duplicate it. thanks.

    PS i know where the hands should be.
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    lol funny I see this, i've been shooting watches the last few weeks and i'm shooting another one on Friday. It's 4x5 transparency, so I can't show you the results.

    You don't need a light tent. You need a set, watch, softbox, a gazillion fill cards, a gobo, and a tripod.



    I'm assuming you're shooting from the top, down onto your subject.

    You need to set up your set how you want it, and set up your camera on your tripod. SET THE WATCH TO 10:10. Lower the softbox so it's on top of the watch, VERY CLOSE, so it almost gets in the way of the camera, and angle it towards the camera so the back of the softbox is touching the table behind the watch. That way, you don't get any black spots on the back end of the band from a space between the table and the softbox, and at least half the watch's incident angles are illuminated. If you're getting glare off the crystal, cut out a black peice of paper, or anything that will go and cast a shadow on ONLY the crystal and jerry-rig it so it stays there, that way, you get no glare and you can see into the face easy. Use fill cards to find the incident angles of the rest of the face of the watch and illuminate them with the fill cards. Use a fill card to light the other side of the band too. Push in the pin if it isn't already, meter, shoot, adjust.

    It's probably really hard to understand what I'm saying without images if you have never done them correctly before. Or I'm really doing that bad of a job explaining it.
     
  3. RVsForFun

    RVsForFun TPF Noob!

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    ...for a do-it-yourself light box. You can build one yourself in about an hour for $15 or less. There are loads of posts on this website about it...search for "light box".
     
  4. d1a1s1

    d1a1s1 TPF Noob!

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    OK, why "10:10"?
     
  5. RVsForFun

    RVsForFun TPF Noob!

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    ...the watch looks like it's smiling!

     
  6. d1a1s1

    d1a1s1 TPF Noob!

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    What if its a digital watch?
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Forgive my laziness. I have my light tent set up to shoot knives and I use it every day. I didn't want to change it around and then have to readjust it since I need to shoot some knives this afternoon. But I did take a quick shot of one my watches just to point out a couple of things. In the first place, this shot isn't lit well. I undertand that. But it is shot in a light tent and it is interesting. Secondly, you don't have to lose all reflectivity in a light tent. Note that the dial is in half shadow. Actually it is reflecting the corner of the light tent and the black background. This shot has two strobes lighting the tent in a fairly shadlowless way and I just added a third strobe shooting straight at the watch from the open front of the light tent as an overpowering fill light. Note the hard reflection from the case itself. That's what we call a baddie. I wouldn't show this image to an art director.

    If I were shooting the watch for a magazine cover or a full page ad I would work with reflectors and gobos and all the things Switch talks about. But for web photography, which I do every day, I recommend putting things into a light tent so can cycle products through quickly and efficiently. If you want a non reflective environment just shoot from straight above with the strobes on either side lighting the tent. If you want some shadow and modeling, turn one strobe down or move it and compose at an angle to the subject. If you want the thing to look like it is not in a tent hit it from the front like I did with a fill light. I set this shot up and shot it in 1 1/2 minues. At any rate here's the quick shot I made to illustrate these points.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    fmw pretty much summed up what you don't want your watch to look like unless you're shooting about 100 of these in a day. you also want separation between the watch and the set. fmw's wristband is almost as dark as the set cloth and recedes back and blends in with it, that's not good. same with the glare, you don't want it.

    You know what, When I shoot my watch on Friday, I'll try and remember to take a picture of my set so you can see just how wacky it can get, and try to illustrate what i'm trying to say.
     
  9. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Right. A lighter background would offset the black wrist band. A gobo would control the reflection from case and an umbrella or softbox would soften it. I was just trying to illustrate that you can make a light tent shot interesting with set design and composition and that you can still have reflections in a light tent. You can also not have these things as you desire. Light tents don't make uninteresting images by definition. I'm willing to bet you wouldn't have guessed this was a light tent shot by looking at it with all the reflections and glare. I just threw a black leatherbound book in the tent, placed the watch on it, added the fountain pen and turned on a third strobe. One exposure at f22. That's it. About 90 seconds from start to finish.
     
  10. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Set it to 7:07 and turn it upside down :mrgreen:
     
  11. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Yup.

    I'll be spending at least 45 minutes on mine simply becuase it needs to be perfect.

    :lol:

    time doesn't matter on digital watches.
     
  12. d1a1s1

    d1a1s1 TPF Noob!

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    I was thinking "59009" at first..then realized...wrong medium!
     

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