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- Chapter 1 – What Tools and Equipment do you need?
- Chapter 2 – Mounting a Basic Outdoor Shoot
- Chapter 3 – The Importance of Light Box
- Chapter 4 – Taking Photos Using your Light Box [You are here]
- Chapter 5 – POST PHOTO EDITING: The Basics
- Chapter 6 – Frequently Encountered Problems
- Chapter 7 – Key Points
Now that you already know the importance of your light box, we will dig in deeper with how to use it in the actual photo taking. In this chapter, you will be taught of the step by step process of taking photos of a timepiece in a light box. But before you get too excited, you need to undergo first some pre-shoot preparations so that the actual photo taking will run smoothly. Prep work is as much importance as the actual taking of photographs. In watch photography, the notion about prevention is very important. Spending a bit of time and effort on the pre-shoot will save you a lot of hassle in the actual and post shooting. The pre-shoot stage can make an impactful difference in your output as well as in the post editing stage. You must take your time in the front end because it can save you so much time in the later stage.
Before anything else, it is highly advised to wear light colored clothes during the shoot, preferably a white shirt. Since timepieces have a shiny and reflective nature, the color of your clothes will reflect and can be captured in your takes. Now that you are wearing a light colored or white shirt, the next step for you is to position and set your equipment like the tripod, light box, and the camera itself. Above all, don’t forget to place your memory card in the camera. You do not want to waste a great take and get a prompt that you haven’t inserted your memory card. Also check whether the time shutter release mode of the camera has been enabled. Setting the timer is necessary especially in macro photography because every movement can affect the photographs. So when you set the timer, you can focus on keeping your hand still. There is no need to press the button of the shutter release which is quite a movement that can make the photos look fuzzy. In addition, when you set the timer you can easily and conveniently adjust the camera after clicking the timer button. This is helpful especially in times that you need to assure that there is no reflection captured in the camera. There are also cameras that have a remote control handy to release the shutter.
Dust is the Ultimate Villain
In watch photography, your greatest enemy is the dust. Before starting your shoot, you need to clean your subject first. Cleaning a watch is not limited to what is visible to your eyes because a watch can appear perfectly clean yet in the lenses of the camera it is the opposite. To save you some work in the post-photo editing, consider giving your watch a much needed bath. First step is to simply rinse your watch with water. Afterwards, wipe it with cotton or micro fiber until dry. If the watch has a leather strap, do not rinse the band with water and just wipe it with a moist cloth. Assure that the watch is dry before starting your shoot because water spots will take your time in editing. After washing and drying the watch, keep your hands off the surface of the watch to avoid leaving visible residue that can be captured by the lenses of the camera. Also keep in handy some important materials to clean the watch such as a can of compressed air, a pair of gloves and a brush. Before the shoot, give your subject a quick blast of air using the can of compressed air. If you do not have any, you can use a hair blower instead. Then use your brush to keep off unwanted specs.
What is the “10:10” Rule?
After finishing the prep work, it is now time to place the timepiece inside the light box. The 10:10 rule is very popular among watch photographers. This is the technique of positioning the hands of the watch in 10:10 basically because it aesthetically looks good in the photograph. If you look at watch catalogues, you will notice that the time is set at 10:10. This is because at this position, the hands won’t obscure the details of the dial. Below are some examples of exemplary watch photographs following the 10:10 rule.
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Image Credit: tagheuer
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There are also circumstances that you will not apply the 10:10 rule. This is really up to the photographer and the unique details of the watch. Be objective in choosing the hand positioning of the timepiece. Be cautious with the details of the watch and make sure that they will not get distracted by the positioning of the hands.
To capture the watch with hand positioning of 10:10, set the time a couple of minutes before so that you will have plenty of takes with the hands in that position.
Now that you are done with the prep work, time to place the watch inside your light box. Position the watch with the face forward. If your light box is open, you can place an addition white board in the opening for greater lighting effect. Before clicking, give the watch a final blast of air to assure it is dust free. Then you can start clicking all the way.