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Maybe the time has come to make a thread on ''the making of'' pictures.
Below I numbered a few tips and tricks to make some nice pictures.
If anyone has something to add on this thread, please do so, we are all here to learn from each other..

Tips and tricks to make great Photo’s…

get a tripod, they are cheap and give great result
clean up your watches/objects before taking pictures ( if possible)
try working with daylight, it gives the best results
Use a light box against difficult light reflections, a white plastic bucket will do fine
If the light is no good, try white sheets of paper to capture ‘’more’’ light
Clear the background, remove all distracting objects
Try shooting from angles, then you have less reflections
If you are taking pictures of watches, make them smile, 10 past 10.
Make sure that your white balance setting on the camera matches that of the light source to avoid yellow or blue tint on the picture(if that feature is on your camera)

I would like to thank Chip for sharing his thoughts with me on this one..
 

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Great tips Gerard! I wanted to add a couple more suggestions to this impressive list...

• Use glycerin if you want to give the watch a "wet" look...It stays put, forms nice round droplets, has higher refractive index than plain water so it "pops" more on a photograph. But beware..it gets all over everything..including your camera gear, so pack a special towel for cleaning up.

• Without moving the watch, widely "bracket" your exposures - from as much as +2 to -2...this will create different images, some very dark, some very light. By using the "masking" tool in Photoshop, you can pick though the images and combine them to make one "perfect" image. Doing this allows you to get a much better detail in both the shadows AND the highlights. This is the way almost all professional studios get the killer shots. I do this using early morning daylight (so there aren't shadows on the dial) down at the beach. What you will find is that the darker exposures are good for keeping reflections off the crystal to a minimum, while the overexposed images are good for showing details of the case, crown, etc. I will try to add more to this post later to show an example of how this is done, but if you understand how to use Photoshop, you can probably do this on your own....*

• Shoot using a LOT of depth of field (i.e f22 or so...), this will make sure ALL of the watch is in focus, and then using Photoshops "blur" you can throw the band, etc out of focus exactly as much as you like later on....

• Try to use a polarizing filter to further reduce reflections. In my studio I actually have studio flashes that have polarizing gels over them to create polarized indoor light, then when I use a polarizing filter on the lens, reflections are cut to nearly zero. I still prefer to use daylight though....

• Of course, don't forget to set the time to the industry standard of 10:08:38 to allow the logo, watch model to be seen clearly on the dial.

• Although they ARE expensive, for anyone who is watch-crazy enough to be reading this, I would suggest a dedicated macro lens. I use a Tamron 90mm 2.8 on a Nikon D70, and this is a pretty good set up... But as someone who really digs using older equipment, you could easily get a dedicated macro lens on a 35mm camera on eBay for pretty cheap and get just as good results. I have a $250 4x5 Speed Graphic from 1958 that can take pictures WAAY sharper than my Nikon....So it's not a matter of having the latest/greatest gear...much more a matter of....

• ....PRACTICE! This is the #1 best way to get better. The first time you try, you'll see so much dust, spots, fingerprints, reflections, etc. etc. that you'll be embarrassed. After just a couple tries, you'll be shooting like a pro no doubt.

OK, well here's two images that were done this way. The silver Bathys was done by a professional graphic artist. The UV Bathys was done by me (and in fact it's still not really done yet, maybe about 80% done..). Each image already has 3-6 hours of work in it.
You can also see how the artist made the cool fake "shadow" as well...I've got to ask him about that!



Compare these to a "plain" image using tripod/macro lens/daylight and no retouching....


So you can get a nice image without all the retouching, but it lacks that final "jump off the page" look.

Now that I've let the cat out of the bag, go look through WatchTime, etc and look very carefully at things like the dial ring, the numbers, the shadows, and I think you'll start to see the little touches that have been added later on....I'm looking now at this Breguet ad with Winston Churchill - look at the areas at the periphery of the dial and you can see the retouching..it's just too perfect - the crystal would cause small distortions and reflections that have all been removed. And of course, look carefully at that shadow...it's not real..it's the Breguet "B"! Tricky bastards!

Hope some of these suggestions prove helpful. Let's hear more since learning is a lifetime thing....

* ALL the women (and men too btw) we see in magazines, fashion, Playboy bunnies, etc. are extensively retouched in this way (besides all the hair/makeup/body makeup). They do stuff like "blend" away every blemish on the model's skin then go back in and ADD back in moles, fuzz, beauty marks...exactly as many as the client wants to make her look (cough) "natural"....

So if your girl don't look like dat...no blame 'er! NOBODY really looks like that!
 

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Thanks for the tips, but...

I have been trying to find good info about photographing watches on so many sites, so much of the info seem to be false fixes. I want to shoot a black face diver straight on, without reflections or shadows in or on the face.

Many people have told me i have to have a lightbox, so I made one.

Well, I should have noticed that all the photos i liked had White of Silver faced watches, not dark or black!

Why you ask, does that make a difference? Well, with light colored dials you can get a nice photo, with a dark face the crystal turns into a wonderful mirror. and you see everything going on. Lightboxes are not a Cure all.

Does anyone have a way of shooting a dark faced watch without reflections?

Thanks 200m
 

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For photographing my KHS Shadow Blue Mk II watch with Tritium tubes in, there's a good challenge - the exposure needs to be long enough in a dark environment that the tritium tubes show up, but there needs to be enough light to expose the rest of the image properly.

I have available my Canon 20D, a non-macro lens, my canon speedlight, and a tripod. I waited until about 02:00, so it was as dark as it's going to get, and used to following setup:

Self-timer, because I didn't have a cable release.
ISO 100 - I'm doing long exposure anyway, I may as well get the best capture possible
Long exposure noise reduction - turned on in custom functions. Same reasoning as above
30 second exposure, f/4.5 - I would have liked to have used f/17 or up, but the camera didn't have timings for beyond 30 seconds. Since the face was pretty much flat on to me, with no external light sources to get glare from, and I didn't care about the background, I got away with it, I think. Now I have a cable release, I could try again for a higher f-stop and longer time.

On the Speedlight, I used second curtain flash. Second-curtain flash is where the flash fires at the end of the shutter being open, instead of at the start.

Why did I use this technique with my watch? There's a tritium tube in the second hand. With first-curtain flash, the second hand would be exposed correctly, and then it would be invisible to the camera, except for the tritium tube. It would continue to tick throughout the exposure. The hand would appear, and the "ticks" would appear in front. With second curtain flash, the "ticks" where the hand has been appear behind it, like the outline of a cartoon character it sleft behind when they run away really really fast. See the full sized version and you can see the ticks left behind by the second hand as it goes.

It looks odd using first-curtain flash.

Unfortunately, my photo looks odd because it also looks blue. That's just my lack of other skills. Bringing up more light meant that I lost the green tritium tube in the bezel, due to the reflection off the metal surround, so I left it looking "cool blue". I suspect that I'll re-do this one, now I have a cable release.

The final image is below. It's a link to the flickr page, so click on it to go there, and click "All Sizes" above the image to see the high-res version.



I hope this was helpful, and if not, I hope someone else can point out what I did wrong :)
 

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Hi,
Ref; the unwanted relections.... might be worth trying a polarizing filter??? I have not tried tis yet but it may do the trick.

Steve
 

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Hi,
Ref; the unwanted relections.... might be worth trying a polarizing filter??? I have not tried tis yet but it may do the trick.

Steve
That it could well do. i haven't got one, but I'll borrow one and give it a try.

In the meantime, I got a new one, and took a photo... :)
 

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This is the new one - serial number 42 of 199 (yes, I know where my towel is). It's a Titan Commander Pro, again from KHS. It's all Titanium, and looks awfully good with my suit. :)

For this one, I angled it back, used f/10 instead of f/3.5 and manually fired the flash on 29 seconds. The flash was away from the camera body, up near the ceiling to create a big general whiteness, and managed to avoid reflections on it. The added depth of field was really worth doing, and had I been more awake, I'd have attempted at f/14 or higher, and manual shutter with the remote release.

The touching up was adding some fill light in Picasa, but that's all I've done. I should have tweaked brightness/contrast too.
 

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This is the new one - serial number 42 of 199 (yes, I know where my towel is). It's a Titan Commander Pro, again from KHS. It's all Titanium, and looks awfully good with my suit. :)

For this one, I angled it back, used f/10 instead of f/3.5 and manually fired the flash on 29 seconds. The flash was away from the camera body, up near the ceiling to create a big general whiteness, and managed to avoid reflections on it. The added depth of field was really worth doing, and had I been more awake, I'd have attempted at f/14 or higher, and manual shutter with the remote release.

The touching up was adding some fill light in Picasa, but that's all I've done. I should have tweaked brightness/contrast too.
Very nice. What's the difference between this and the MKII?
 

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Hey all, I am new to this forum, but I figured I would comment on this thread... as I LOVE photography. So far, the comments have been interesting, but I thought I would throw out a few modifications and extra suggestions.

When people talk about shooting at an angle, and how it reduces reflection and what not... something even more important is that if you use a flash, that its light wont bouce directly into a lens. Most often this will take anything shiny, and turn it black.

And when shoot really tight apertures... you really should look into using just the right amount of depth of field that you think the shot can get away with. If you have it, try using a depth of field preview and you will get an idea of what is in focus. Why do this instead of just as closed tight as you can? Diffraction. At a certain point, any camera starts losing quality in its photos due to the light just not hitting at the right angle. Each format is different. Life Fourthirds, APS-C or 35mm. But you just need to look up your format.

Oh, and if you are using a tripod... turn of image stabilization if you have it:)

And now back to your regulary scheduled program.
 

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How do you take lume pictures in the dark? I have a Canon Powershot A620. What setting do I use?

Thanks.

whachudoing,

Set your camera to manual mode (M) and shoot away. Once you set your f-stop adjust your exposure accordingly. Play around, increase exposure until you get what you are looking for.

krw:-!
 

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The thing to remember re angles and shootign anything with a reflective surface is that at the end of the day, you're looking to sculpt and photograph JUST the reflection - that will let the rest of the image fall into place.

So, get the the watch into position, hands as they should be, etc...then start to look through that viewfinder and examine how the REFLECTION of the white diffusion material - be it paper or a milk bottle or whatever - is acting on the watch. Move just the paper/diffuser from there, closer, further, up, down...move the light behind them further, up, closer, down...see how it reacts.

Some really cool links...

...How to take it one step further: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/08/on-assignment-shoot-your-shiny-new.html

A DIY watch photog whose work, done with minimal fuss, always thrills me
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mingthein/sets/72157594566793600/

Chris
 

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This is the new one - serial number 42 of 199 (yes, I know where my towel is). It's a Titan Commander Pro, again from KHS. It's all Titanium, and looks awfully good with my suit. :)

For this one, I angled it back, used f/10 instead of f/3.5 and manually fired the flash on 29 seconds. The flash was away from the camera body, up near the ceiling to create a big general whiteness, and managed to avoid reflections on it. The added depth of field was really worth doing, and had I been more awake, I'd have attempted at f/14 or higher, and manual shutter with the remote release.

The touching up was adding some fill light in Picasa, but that's all I've done. I should have tweaked brightness/contrast too.
nice watch nice picture glad to hear you know where your towel is:-d am using mine to keep warm as i type... keep up the good work
 

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rikrose,

That is really a cool watch. And you did a great job photographing it!

Ever since I saw it I can't get it out of my head.:p|> Is there a place that sells them in the US?

I think I have been seriously bitten by the KHS bug.:-!



This is the new one - serial number 42 of 199 (yes, I know where my towel is). It's a Titan Commander Pro, again from KHS. It's all Titanium, and looks awfully good with my suit. :)

For this one, I angled it back, used f/10 instead of f/3.5 and manually fired the flash on 29 seconds. The flash was away from the camera body, up near the ceiling to create a big general whiteness, and managed to avoid reflections on it. The added depth of field was really worth doing, and had I been more awake, I'd have attempted at f/14 or higher, and manual shutter with the remote release.

The touching up was adding some fill light in Picasa, but that's all I've done. I should have tweaked brightness/contrast too.
 

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rikrose,

That is really a cool watch. And you did a great job photographing it!

Ever since I saw it I can't get it out of my head.:p|> Is there a place that sells them in the US?

I think I have been seriously bitten by the KHS bug.:-!
Read this post...great advice. However photos of my watch with my Casio Exilim 7.2 still are fuzzy. Any advice?

Thanks
 

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few shots I just took with the T1i. Available light, without flash. I have to play with the White Balance settings some more. For now I just left the camera in an AWB mode. Images came out looking like a saturated sepia toning effect, which I kind of like for its warm colors, but it wasn't my intention. The light source was a halogen floor lamp. I have to experiment with the WB on this camera...I'm still learing the settings.

I think I made few mistakes here, including the WB setting and the fact that I forgot to disable the Image Stabilization on the lens while taking shots with a tripod mounted camera...not sure what this caused...

Any tips or tricks as far as working with available light such as halogen lamps? Appreciate your feedback.




 

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OMG!

Very nice pics, thankz for this!
 

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Tips for Great Pictures

Do you wish you were a better photographer? All it takes is a little know-how and experience. Keep reading for some important picture-taking tips. Then grab your camera and start shooting your way to great pictures.
Look your subject in the eye
Direct eye contact can be as engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person's eye level to unleash the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children, that means stooping to their level. And your subject need not always stare at the camera. All by itself that eye level angle will create a personal and inviting feeling that pulls you into the picture.
Use a plain backgroundA plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject. Make sure no poles grow from the head of your favorite niece and that no cars seem to dangle from her ears.
Use flash outdoorsBright sun can create unattractive deep facial shadows. Eliminate the shadows by using your flash to lighten the face. When taking people pictures on sunny days, turn your flash on. You may have a choice of fill-flash mode or full-flash mode. If the person is within five feet, use the fill-flash mode; beyond five feet, the full-power mode may be required. With a digital camera, use the picture display panel to review the results.
On cloudy days, use the camera's fill-flash mode if it has one. The flash will brighten up people's faces and make them stand out. Also take a picture without the flash, because the soft light of overcast days sometimes gives quite pleasing results by itself.
Move in close
If your subject is smaller than a car, take a step or two closer before taking the picture and zoom in on your subject. Your goal is to fill the picture area with the subject you are photographing. Up close you can reveal telling details, like a sprinkle of freckles or an arched eyebrow.
But don't get too close or your pictures will be blurry. The closest focusing distance for most cameras is about three feet, or about one step away from your camera. If you get closer than the closest focusing distance of your camera (see your manual to be sure), your pictures will be blurry.
Move it from the middle
Center-stage is a great place for a performer to be. However, the middle of your picture is not the best place for your subject. Bring your picture to life by simply moving your subject away from the middle of your picture. Start by playing tick-tack-toe with subject position. Imagine a tick-tack-toe grid in your viewfinder. Now place your important subject at one of the intersections of lines.
You'll need to lock the focus if you have an auto-focus camera because most of them focus on whatever is in the center of the viewfinder.
Lock the focus
If your subject is not in the center of the picture, you need to lock the focus to create a sharp picture. Most auto-focus cameras focus on whatever is in the center of the picture. But to improve pictures, you will often want to move the subject away from the center of the picture. If you don't want a blurred picture, you'll need to first lock the focus with the subject in the middle and then recompose the picture so the subject is away from the middle.
Usually you can lock the focus in three steps. First, center the subject and press and hold the shutter button halfway down. Second, reposition your camera (while still holding the shutter button) so the subject is away from the center. And third, finish by pressing the shutter button all the way down to take the picture
Know your flash's range
The number one flash mistake is taking pictures beyond the flash's range. Why is this a mistake? Because pictures taken beyond the maximum flash range will be too dark. For many cameras, the maximum flash range is less than fifteen feet—about five steps away.
What is your camera's flash range? Look it up in your camera manual. Can't find it? Then don't take a chance. Position yourself so subjects are no farther than ten feet away. Film users can extend the flash range by using Kodak Max versatility or versatility plus film.
Watch the light
Next to the subject, the most important part of every picture is the light. It affects the appearance of everything you photograph. On a great-grandmother, bright sunlight from the side can enhance wrinkles. But the soft light of a cloudy day can subdue those same wrinkles.
Don't like the light on your subject? Then move yourself or your subject. For landscapes, try to take pictures early or late in the day when the light is orangish and rakes across the land.
Take some vertical pictures
Is your camera vertically challenged? It is if you never turn it sideways to take a vertical picture. All sorts of things look better in a vertical picture. From a lighthouse near a cliff to the Eiffel Tower to your four-year-old niece jumping in a puddle. So next time out, make a conscious effort to turn your camera sideways and take some vertical pictures.
Be a picture director
Take control of your picture-taking and watch your pictures dramatically improve. Become a picture director, not just a passive picture-taker. A picture director takes charge. A picture director picks the location: "Everybody go outside to the backyard." A picture director adds props: "Girls, put on your pink sunglasses." A picture director arranges people: "Now move in close, and lean toward the camera."
Most pictures won't be that involved, but you get the idea: Take charge of your pictures and win your own best picture awards.
 
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