We have some amazing designers, jewellers and manufacturers here in Australia and the jewellery industry is a very vibrant one. Not the same can be said for the watch industry. Most timepieces are only imported to be sold in Australia by overseas companies, meaning the opportunity to photograph watches in Perth in particular is quite limited. When the call comes from Australian companies to shoot their new timepiece ranges, naturally I get quite excited!
Most people predict the work to be very similar to shooting jewellery. I always have to explain that it is actually harder and the digital work can take almost double the time.
In general the reason watch photography is time consuming comes down to three things. First reason is watches having a glass frame which reflects. Positioning the watch in a way that will produce a nice clean reflection takes time and a lot of patience. Secondly, watches have pliable rubbery bands or are made out of movable metal links. This means getting them to stand and face the camera is not easy. Finally, to ‘freeze’ the watch so the watch hands do not obstruct the brand name on the watch face requires shooting watches with the side pin pulled out. This would look strange shown in the final images so the pin has to be ‘pushed back in’ during Photoshop digital work.
There are of course many other reasons shooting watches is tricky, including dust clean up, reflections on the metal parts of the product, undesirable variations in colour, background issues, focus range and the depth of field etc, but these all occur with any small products made out of mainly reflective metals.