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In this thread: https://www.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=390209 there has been a discussion about photography and equipment. Is good equipment equal to good photo's and vice versa?

The answer is complicated, but here is a tutorial I wrote some time ago about taking a 'good' watch picture with a point and shoot camera.

There are three important factors:

1. Technique
2. Post processing
3. Equipment

If you can master 1. and 2. you are 80% there and your pics will look badass! But, these two are the hardest and take time to learn.

If you know how to take a pic, you can take a good picture with any camera. Buying the best Socanikson D3472 Mark XVII doesn't mean you will get the best picture. You really need to know the basics first.

In this tutorial I will show you how I work. This is totally my opinion and style and is not the only or the best way to take a good picture.

So for a nice watch pic.. what do you need?

1. Camera

You can use any camera that is available to you. You have to ask yourself: "What do I want to do with this photo?"
Don't be fooled by megapixels. More on megapixels can be found here

For this tutorial I used a Sony DSC-W30 6 Megapixels

2. Light

You need light!!! Most point and shoot camera's have small sensors and cannot absorb as much light as most DSLR's can. This results in grainy looking pictures if there is not enough light.
For this tutorial I only used natural sunlight. But be carefull! Too much light can do more damage than good to your picture.

3. Reflection board

What is the most important part of the watch?? That's right! It is the dial. If you look at a watch, you always look at the dial first. This is the biggest part of the watch plus it tells the time. The most important thing in photographing your watch is to make sure your dial is sharp.
This is also the hardest part, because on top of the dial is the crystal. And even with the best chief double AR, it can be pita to make that crystal dissapear.
But!!! There is a very easy solution. Make a reflection board. For a white dial use a white board and for a black dial use a black board. In most cases, a black t-shirt, piece of paper, or anything that is big enough to make the reflection dissapear will do. For this tutorial I used a black t-shirt.

This is how it works:




4. Post processing software

The icing on the cake is a good pp software and ofcourse knowing how to use it.
This kind of software is expensive, but here at RepGeek we are experts on how to get expensive stuff for less ;)
I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop in combination with Mulletgod's actions. Make sure to have installed Mulletgod's actions!

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The three main areas when making a picture that you can adjust are ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. Please not that you cannot adjust them on all camera's!

On the Sony I used (these are automated values):

ISO100
F 5.2
1/125 s

Straight out of the camera, I only adjusted the size:



For reference, here is a picture I took without the reflection board (shirt in this case ;))



Let's edit the pic!

First, I start Lightroom and import my pictures. When this is done I click on the picture I want to edit and adjust the white balance. Auto WB works on most of the pictures. If not, just play around with the settings.



If I'm happy with the WB, I'm off to the DEVELOPment room. Here you can adjust almost everything.

Now I'm going to adjust the contrast and make the picture a bit sharper by adjusting the clarity.



There is still a lot of blue in the picture that should be black. To fix this, you can adjust the blue saturation and luminance.



You can play around with all the settings. When the pictures looks ok, I'm going to crop and export it and open it with Photoshop. Do not resize the picture!

To keep the proportions when cropping, hold SHIFT.






Open your picture in Photoshop. To make the watch pop out, I use a Mulletgod action: Contrast without colour loss. You can also try the other actions, but I usually leave it like this.

Next step is to resize the photo. For the web, I always resize to 800 pixels wide. Now the picture is smaller you can adjust the sharpeness. I also use a Mulletgod action, called: Sharpen your pencils.

If the picture is too sharp, you can adjust the opacity of the sharpened layer or you can remove parts of the layer:



Now your picture is finished. To top it off, I usually make a small border.



Let's look at the original picture again:



Do you see the difference :)

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Last tip: don't forget to set your watch at 10:10 when making a picture. It makes the watch lookst 10 times better.

For reference, a picture of my watch taken with my Canon 5D + 24-105L

 

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This should be a Sticky |>
 

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Good write up, but don't go over board with the post processing crap. A little contrast/brightness adjustments here, a little curves adjustment there is all you need.

I think your original pic of your IWC is better than the processed one. Au natural.
 

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Good write up, but don't go over board with the post processing crap. A little contrast/brightness adjustments here, a little curves adjustment there is all you need.

I think your original pic of your IWC is better than the processed one. Au natural.

agreed...great informative writeup ! :)
but there's just a bit too much post processing done to the picture...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You guys are right. I wrote this about 1 / 1.5 years ago. In the meantime I got a bit better with post processing ;)
 

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Great capture!

 

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I kinda like these few taken with a Casio 10.1 megapix Exilim. :)





 

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That IWC is so beautiful that you could have taken a picture with a first generation phone camera and it would still inspire awe.

Great work, though. You really know how to bring out the best features.
 

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I hope you don't mind if I took a stab at the original image!

It's hard working with a few pixels!


 
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