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Discussion Starter #1
So I've decided to try and create some sort of a setup for watch photography, something simple and nothing fancy or over the top (to be read expensive) mostly for watches that I'll end up listing on ebay or just trying to be a wannabe pro.

I want some suggestions and, most importantly, pictures/examples of what you guys use. What type of fabrics do you use for your backdrop ? Do you prefer harder materials such as wood ? Do you just hang a piece of fabric to a wall or do you have some sort of frame that holds the fabric ? What colors and textures do you/do you not use ?

At the moment I'm just fishing for examples so that I see what fits my needs.

I know that there are kits and tents out there but at the moment I think I just prefer something simpler.

For now, I'm mostly leaning towards using some type or types of fabrics but I'm not sure what to stay away from and I've also seen that some colors are good while some don't blend very well. I guess lighting and the watch itself influence this.

I think I'd also like to have some frame that I can hang the fabric and create an "L" shape but I'm not sure if I can find this somewhere, so I might have to make one myself...

As for lighting I'm planning on using natural sunlight for now, to keep it simple...

So share your experiences, examples, knowledge, opinions and I'll greatly appreciate them! Links with various products to give an idea are welcome. Thanks in advance.
 

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I went to the local Fabric Mart and got some black, white, and grey cloth to use as backs. Try not to get fabric thats reflective or shiny. For small stuff I just use one of my shirts.
Different colored paper or foam core is good too. You can also use white foam core as a reflector.
I try not to use back drops/colors that will distract.
As far as hanging the back drops, I just tape them to the wall or drape over a box. Or just lay out and shoot straight down.
 

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Great idea for a thread!
 

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As a semi-professional photographer with over $10,000 worth of photography and lighting equipment, I can guarantee you that a light cube setup is going to be the easiest, and most effective way to photograph something as complicated as a watches. Photographing watches is tricky as they are highly reflective, very irregular objects.

With a light tent, you can just place it outdoors in shade or sunlight and you'll end up with a very clean pictures with nondistracting reflections.

Neewer 24x24 inch/60x60 cm Photo Studio Shooting Tent Light Cube Diffusion Soft Box Kit with 4 Colors Backdrops (Red Dark Blue Black White) for Photography https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GKGGICC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_6MPExbVAS1ZC6

 

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I asked this same question and got several of the same answers. I should start by saying my pictures are still sub par. However, I purchased a light box with 4 lights from Amazon. The best method I have used yet was from Ron...handle is O2fac7 or something like that. He takes beautiful pictures. He told me to put a black shirt in a show box put the watch in. Put it by a window with natural light. Find the direction with the least amount of reflection. Take the pictures on a tripod. Load into Picasa...edit and that's your free set up. Here is a pic taken of my explorer II using this method.

The he light box is probably great but here are the problems I have had with the light box (and I'm sure this all novice idiocy but hey your a novice). I can't get my white balance to match the artificwl light (even when setting the light balance). The light box is so sensitive that reflections from my camera ruin the picture. For example my camera has a red dot on it before I take a picture. The red light is captured in every pic the backdrops get linty and the lint shows up in the pics. I can usually get this out in editing but still annoying.

I have been experimenting with the light box but overal the set up for under $75 seems to be a little more complex than the shoe box method. Damasko was taken in the light box.
 

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I asked this same question and got several of the same answers. I should start by saying my pictures are still sub par. However, I purchased a light box with 4 lights from Amazon. The best method I have used yet was from Ron...handle is O2fac7 or something like that. He takes beautiful pictures. He told me to put a black shirt in a show box put the watch in. Put it by a window with natural light. Find the direction with the least amount of reflection. Take the pictures on a tripod. Load into Picasa...edit and that's your free set up. Here is a pic taken of my explorer II using this method.

The he light box is probably great but here are the problems I have had with the light box (and I'm sure this all novice idiocy but hey your a novice). I can't get my white balance to match the artificwl light (even when setting the light balance). The light box is so sensitive that reflections from my camera ruin the picture. For example my camera has a red dot on it before I take a picture. The red light is captured in every pic the backdrops get linty and the lint shows up in the pics. I can usually get this out in editing but still annoying.

I have been experimenting with the light box but overal the set up for under $75 seems to be a little more complex than the shoe box method. Damasko was taken in the light box.
Here is one I just shot in a light box for comparison:
KA8A3913 (3200px - 85).jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When using a tent, do you guys have a tripor or just hold the camera or put it on something ? I severely need a tent as, often times natural light isn't enough and I have to increase exposure time and pictures come slightly... blured.
 

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When using a tent, do you guys have a tripor or just hold the camera or put it on something ? I severely need a tent as, often times natural light isn't enough and I have to increase exposure time and pictures come slightly... blured.
Tripod with very long shutter speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I severely need a tripod. The problem is that my picture taking area is a 1 meter/3 feet tall piece of furniture and if I was to use a tripod the camera would not close up as much as I need on the watches. I'd have to use some pretty big zoom in lens or some sort to get the similar close shots that I get now...
 

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I severely need a tripod. The problem is that my picture taking area is a 1 meter/3 feet tall piece of furniture and if I was to use a tripod the camera would not close up as much as I need on the watches. I'd have to use some pretty big zoom in lens or some sort to get the similar close shots that I get now...
What do you mean. The tripods go about 6 feet. I got one for $15 on Amazon. My issue is mine does get low enough. I use a stool that's about 6 inches below a window sil for optimal natural light. 3 feet would be perfect for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's not the height. The piece of furniture would be preventing me from placing the tripod as close as possible, although I guess I could try placing my "subjects" as close to the edge as I can...
 

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Well, as far as I am concerned a tripod, even a cheap one is the most essential piece of equipment you can own. You will only get "lucky good shots" without one. I have never used a light box and only shoot in natural light. I find it too difficult to maneuver the watch and cam into a position I want and the light box too restrictive to get what I like to call a more spontaneous shot. I am sure any professional photo guy would disagree with me.

The worst background you can possibly shoot is completely white or black. It completely sucks the color and contrast out of everything. I use shells, rocks, leather remnants and have even used sheet music and watch movement blueprints. Overall your background should not be distracting and should not really contain any more than 2 colors max.

I can't post any pics because my firewall here at work stops me from accessing my P'bucket but you can click my user name and see my started threads for LOTS of examples ;) .

My "setup" is completely free, I use a 60 USD software program and have for years, for editing - Corel Paint Shop Pro. I use a simple P&S Canon cam with filters (circular polarizer and several zoom filters in combo). As I said I use a room in my home that has lots of natural light and exposure. Lastly find a piece of black board to use as a reflector and hold it in your hand to position it perfectly. What you see through the lens is what you will get. A white reflector will wash everything out and a black reflector will saturate your colors.
 

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For watch still life photography, I usually shoot straight down, at a low angle or just blur out the background using big apertures. What I need is a nice big base.
Straight down


Low angle


Blur out the background
 

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I get best results when I use a light tent as another poster showed above. Here's mine. Sometimes light coming in a window is good.I do occasionally shoot without the tent but most often only when I am going outside. Shade is better than direct sunlight. An overcast day with solid grey sky is good. In my opinion the key to great photos is controlling reflections such that the dial is clear and that the steel of the case looks metallic. That look of steel is best when the colors are mostly shades of black white and greys, with just a bit of color to make it natural and not look like a B&W shot. I generally try to avoid too many colors of the environment around the watch showing up as reflections.



I like different textures or materials for background to add interest to the photo. I don't often have other objects in my photos, just the watch and some interesting surface it is placed on. Flooring tiles are cheap (I got most of mine for free). I look for interesting textures in glass, fabrics, canvas, rock, the hood of my car, fabric of a backpack, rusty sheet of metal, etc. This use of background material is a big part of the photo style that I usually use.

Here are lots of examples of various backgrounds I use. Most of these were shot in my tent.









































- - - - - - - -

Pure black can be beautiful. It can be challenging and doesn't work for all watches IMO. It all comes down to a great watch, good lighting, and the right angle of composition. Nothing else is in the picture to help out. But it is great when it works.



 

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Discussion Starter #19
Interesting shots. I like the idea of using tiles and various other materials as background such as wood. Do these tents come included with a series of colored backdrops or is it just white ?
 

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It is rare that I use a tripod because I am always moving for a different angle or setup. If I do I use my carbon fiber tripod with a ball head. Cheap tripods are flimsy and they transfer vibration way to much.

So here are some hand held shots for you using natural light. First one is just window light with a white card reflecting back. The second was taken on the trunk of my car.


 
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