5 Tips for Better Watch Photography

by Brad Welch

I used to collect watches as a hobby but I’ve now sunk more time in watch photography more than anything else.

I collected many different watches, but my main fascination was for mechanical watches simply because of their mechanism. Despite the fact that they are not really that practical compared to other types of watches, it is still one of the best when it comes from a pure watchmaking standpoint.

That being said, watch photography has blossomed really well thanks to the fact that more and more people are into collecting watches, as well as some companies spending a lot of money in making sure that their product portfolio is well-represented. But, you do not have to be a professional photographer by heart to take better pictures of your watch collection.

Bert Buijsrogge, a renowned watch photographer, has imparted tips for the masses so that the layman can take amazing photos of their favorite timepieces. So in this article, I will go over some of the tips that he said.

Always Use a Tripod

The first thing that you need to do would be to spend some money on a really good tripod. That is because when you are taking pictures using your hands, you will introduce a lot of shaking and vibration and this can affect how sharp the photos will look after the shot.

When looking for one, make sure that you buy a tripod that has stabilizers so that even if you press the button, the camera will not shake.

It is also a good idea to turn on the MUP function of your camera (or the mirror lock-up for those that are unfamiliar with it). This will delay the shot after the press to ensure that no vibrations will affect the quality of the photo.

If you can, use a timer instead of manually pressing the button.

Add Some Accessories

Although you can easily take a picture of your watch, you’d want to add some accessories in the background to make the watch even more appealing.

For instance, if you are photographing a diver’s watch, you might want to add some sea salt either in the background or near the watch itself for dramatic effect.

Clean Your Watch

It should go without saying that you have to clean your watch before you do some photography with it. It is just so appealing to look at a watch that has dirt or grime in some of its edges and corners, not to mention that the watch face itself (or the glass covering it) is smudgy with oil and fingerprints.

As the first line of defense, just use a clean microfiber cloth as it can effectively remove the dust and mild dirt.

For more stubborn dirt, use a small amount of 70% Isopropyl alcohol and douse it on a cotton swab. Then, let the swab do its thing while wiping it with a microfiber cloth afterward.

Pay Attention to the Hands

There is one thing in common when you look at watch photos in magazines and all over the internet. You might notice that the hands of the watch are exactly past 10 minutes, past 10 o’clock, and the second-hand is either plus or minus 33 seconds. There is actually a reason for this.

The main reason why photographers set the watch that way is that this is the orientation that makes a watch look symmetrical and that is why they do what they do.

Set Your Camera ISO to Low

Most of the cameras nowadays have high ISO settings turned on by default. Although that will be great if you are just taking random photos, this will not bode well for your watch photography.

It would be best that you either set your camera to its low ISO presets or just use a tripod to stabilize the shot.

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