Watch Photography

Background

I'm a member of the Pro Club on the Photigy Product Photography website.  They held a contest where you needed to submit 3 photos of watches in order to be selected to receive a "free" watch from Nick Cabana (https://www.nickcabana.com/global/).  The catch to this contest was that you get to keep the watch but you need to make an image for them.  This is a good way for a company to get professional images and now I have a new watch!

Technical Details

Below are photos that show the "Behind the Scenes" set-up for making this image.  I've always used strobe lighting in previous watch images I've made.  But, for this assignment, I decided to try to make an image with Westcott LED lights.  I used 2 Ice Lights and the Skylux LED.  I set and propped the watch on a copper plate surface to make an interesting refection.  The best thing about using continuous lighting for product photography is being able to reposition the lights and actually see what the image will look like before snapping the shutter.  This saves a bunch time rather than continuously experimenting with positioning the lights to get the look you want.  I used 2 Ice Lights and 2 small silver reflector cards to get the highlights I wanted for the face and brushed gold casing.  I also placed a 4x4 foot diffusion panel above the set and lit it with the skybox with no reflector.  This gave me the high-key almost blown out look I wanted in the background plus highlights on the casing and fill light for the band.

I shot this with a Nikon D810 with a Nikkor 85 PC-E lens (1/3 second at f/14 ISO 64) while tethered to Capture One Pro 9.  Using live view helps get the focus nailed, set white balance,  and position the lights exactly for the look you want.  I made a few different images while moving the Ice Light a bit to capture smaller reflections and different versions for compositing in Photoshop.

The final image was made from 3 exposures and masked to make sure the small gold details on the watch face all looked good.  The final step was a bit of retouching some flaws and dust and then the image was sharpened for final output.

Watch BTS

Please use the comments below if you have any questions or want more information.

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