My Top Tips to Perfect Your Watch Photography.

I spent a lot of frustrating hours when it came to photographing products like watches. Finally, I had enough and bought several books and learned the ins and outs of product photography. You would think that it would be easy. Well, I learn not so fast. So here are my top 10 tips to perfect your watch photography.

  1. The composition is Key.
  2. Cleanliness is Next To Godliness.
  3. Having a Tripod is a Most.
  4. How to Use Artificial Light Properly.
  5. Close up or Not.
  6. Natural Light.
  7. What ISO Should You Use?
  8. Use Accessories.
  9. Movement.
  10. Practice, Practice, Practice.

The composition is critical for any image.

In all photography, the composition is key to creating a great image. Make sure to fill the frame and have no distractions in the background or foreground. I’ve spent hours doing some product photography and was in a hurry and ignored the foreground. I discovered later when I looked at the first image I downloaded and noticed something in the foreground that did not belong. It was cat hair. It was in every shot I took. I was not happy, to say the least. Basically, to have a good composition in your photo, you will take many different parts and combine that so it’s pleasing to the eye.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

It seems like something simple when you think about it. You have to make sure everything is clean, including your equipment. It’s not just about the watches. Imagine spending hours photographing everything. When you download the images, they are no good because you failed to check your camera’s sensor, and all the photos have several spots that would take hours to remove in Photoshop. So take the time to check and clean all of your equipment before you start. Make sure the surface you are photographing the watches on is clean.

Having a Tripod Is a Must.

Using a tripod should be obvious, but I spent hours when I first started photographing products to put on eBay without using a tripod. It was during the beginning of eBay. There was not much help on how to photograph products to display on eBay. I had a friend who had some watches that she wanted to sell on eBay. I was getting so mad the pictures did not look good at all. Plus, my friend was paying me to take the images, so I did not want to lose out on getting paid, plus I did not want to let my friend down. I tried everything I could think of, like changing the f-stop to increasing the ISO, but nothing worked. So I got out my tripod connected it to my camera, and that was it. That’s all I needed to fix my images.

Use The Proper Light Bulb.

If you’re going to use artificial light, make sure to use light bulbs like the ESDDI Softbox Bulb Photography Daylight Balanced Bulb for Soft Box Lighting Photo Studio Lamp more info, they are the way to go. Look for a temperature rating of 5,000 kelvins. Don’t make a mistake I made starting out. I figure I could make changes to the camera to solve my lighting issues. What I learned was your locations change all the time when doing product photography. Sometimes your client has everything you need, then sometimes you need your own lighting equipment. Plus, most locations have all kinds of different types of lights, lighting everything. That can be a real pain to try and figured out what settings would work best. So make sure you have the proper lighting equipment.

Close Up or Not.

Close up or not will depend on what your client wants. If it’s your decision, then it’s an easy choice. I have learned over the years to photograph products with as many different perspectives as I can. Having more options is always a good thing.

Natural Light.

Natural light is always better than using artificial light. So if you have a choice go with natural light. I know you probably won’t be outside. So if possible, photograph the watches close to a window that lets in a lot of light. As I wrote earlier, when it comes to artificial light, use the proper bulbs.

What ISO should you use?

If you can’t decide what ISO to use, try auto ISO. I would suggest between 400 ISO to 800 ISO. Of course, if you’re using a lens that lets in more light, you can use a lower ISO.

Use Accessories.

If you can, I would always use accessories when photographing watches. Make sure and use accessories that show off the watch, not the opposite. I have seen a lot of images where the accessories were a huge distraction. The person you choose for a model could become the biggest distraction, trust me!


Don’t forget when photographing something that has movement. Sometimes in photography, it helps to show its direction. I like to photograph watches that depict different times on the watch.

Practice, Practice, Practice.

This should be a no brainer. If you want to be great at anything, it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of practice, practice, practice. I don’t just mean taking pictures. Practice on paper, practice in your mind, how your day will go while you’re setting up your day to photograph some watches. Over the years, I have learned that sometimes it will take a lot of effort to be good at something, and sometimes it comes easy. So take some time to practice, practice, practice.

In Conclusion, I hope these tips can help you with your photography. Remember not to get frustrated and be patient trust me, sometimes photographing static things can be as hard as photographing something flying by you at a hundred miles an hour.

By Michael Vance Pemberton

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