Advise needed for improving watch photography


bluebirdy

New Member
Dec 7, 2014
1
0
0
Singapore
#1
Hi guys, first post here, a complete newbie to the world of photography as I started my company and need to take portraits of the watches I sell.

Bought a Canon Powershot S200 for $299 as recommended by TK FOTO at Funan and also a small white box for $49 for my photography sessions. Recently felt that wasn't enough, I set the camera to MACRO mode and shoot my product, sometimes there will be reflections and some parts very dark. Sometimes when I take photos, the pictures look a bit yellowish, then I have to take again. As these product pictures will be posted on my website for my customers to see and I'm selling luxury watches, I would want the highest quality photos for my customer's viewing pleasure.

Is my camera too lousy for what I need? What cameras do you guys recommend for my kind of photography? Budget can't exceed $1,200.

A sample of a recently taken picture, I realized that when i put the watch quite far inside the white box, and use the zoom function of the camera, it would look slightly more professional.

As I have just registered, seems like I cannot post links, so please bear with me and replace the [dot] with a full stop.

Pic of watch taken zoomed in. (looks a bit grainy, but more proper as the whole watch is more focused. looks more professional to me besides the grainy part)
i42.photobucket[dot]com/albums/e347/guolongx/IMG_0620_zpsbd696f3d.jpg

Pic of watch taken without zoom(holding the camera close to the watch.)
Seems like this will cause more reflections and the edges of the watch not that focused. only the dial is focused.
i42.photobucket[dot]com/albums/e347/guolongx/IMG_0616_zps2067e2d8.jpg

My wish would be to take something like this..(Taken from internet)
i42.photobucket[dot]com/albums/e347/guolongx/116234sunbeam_zpsf96497c6.jpg

As you can see, the third picture is the same watch as the first, but they can capture the beautiful reflective sunbeam dial, while in my picture, I only can capture lines on the dial.

Oh and also, I'll go Japan during CNY period, many of my friends say that buying camera in Japan will be cheaper, so probably going to buy there. My budget for my next camera cannot exceed S$1,200.

Thanks in advance for your advise!
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
21,903
46
48
Punggol, Singapore
www.foto-u.com
#2
can simply just recommend you a more high end camera and probably will blow your budget, but that won't help you.

let me be very blunt to tell you this, the main issue is your don't have the knowledge and skills to do watches product photography, having camera, lenses and gears along won't do the trick.
just like you give a set of professional carpenter tools to your neighbour Ah Seng, you can't expect him to make you a chair that won't wobble. but a skilful carpenter can make do with any tools available to him to make some furnitures are more usable.

there are plentiful of photography tutorials can be found in the internet, and here is a DIY watch photography tutorial found in Youtube.

take a look, they don't need awesome tools, but the know how and right tools are the key.

[video=youtube;JkQSBguKBv8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkQSBguKBv8[/video]
 

Last edited:

JacePhoto

Senior Member
Oct 1, 2007
6,484
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38
New York City
www.flickr.com
#3
Petalpixel featured a photographer shooting high end watches using an iPhone. Lighting provided by two other iPhones.

You may want to google that for reference.
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
21,903
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48
Punggol, Singapore
www.foto-u.com
#4

kandinsky

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 26, 2008
3,014
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#6
Is my camera too lousy for what I need? What cameras do you guys recommend for my kind of photography? Budget can't exceed $1,200.
Like others have mentioned, what you need is not a new camera, but better skill and understanding of some fundamentals of photography and lighting. Good news is that all these you can gain by experimenting, reading and learning from others. They have suggested some useful videos and links, check them out. Borrowing books might help too. If you're the kind who learns better from people, can consider spending some of the $1200 budget on attending courses. Here's one example I found: http://www.pss1950.org/courses/product-photography

Here's some advice on photographing watches from a book, I find it interesting that the author actually recommends against using a light tent for watches.





From The Art and Style of Product Photography By J. Dennis Thomas
http://books.google.com.sg/books?id...graphy composite&pg=PA211#v=onepage&q&f=false

...sometimes there will be reflections and some parts very dark. Sometimes when I take photos, the pictures look a bit yellowish, then I have to take again.
Even pros with $XXXXXX cameras can't always avoid this. Not to say it's impossible to get it right in camera, but for various reasons, sometimes images are composited (combined). Just saying so that you are aware that you may not be able to recreate some shots you see if you don't know how to edit your images, because the lighting, is in that sense, manipulated.

Here's one example:


Four of the 17 images that were combined in Photoshop.



The enhanced image above was created by compositing seventeen photographs taken with different lighting arrangements. Then additional work was done in Photoshop to remove dust and imperfections, enhance the face and the feel of the metal, and add the background glow.

via: http://www.quindry.com/photoshopexpert.html
 

Last edited:

Shizuma

Senior Member
Mar 19, 2012
2,557
25
0
#7
you can also shoot through a zebra reflector to minimize the reflection of yourself or the surroundings in the reflection of the watch. Mask up a stiff white A4 card with masking tape to make zebra strips. spray the card with black paint carefully.

When the paint is dried, unmask the card, then you have a zebra card. carefully cut a hole the size of your lens and insert your lens through it.

the zebra stripes will give a sexy bright and dark reflection off the surface of the watch if it is shiny.
 

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