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"How to photograph watches" - part three

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    "How to photograph watches" - part three

    The next step

    I'm now going to assume that you've done the first two parts and are familiar with your camera and have taken a pile of photos, some of which you're secretly really proud of. If this is where you're at, I hate to say it, but that's it. You can now photograph watches. You're on your own, you don't need my help, you take perfectly good pictures and don't embarrass yourself when posting them to the replica forums.

    This was what we set out to do, right? Increase the average quality of photographs on the forums? Well we've done it, and for that I thank everyone that put the effort in. We're done. Carry on, you don't need me any more.

    Pardon? You want more? But you're taking pictures of watches. You understand about the importance of light and stability and you may even have bought a light-tent and tripod. What more can I do for you?

    Oh, okay, let's see what we can do.

    At this point, we're no longer in the crappy camera and pillowcase phase. If you don't have a tripod and a light-box, you should go and get them, even if that means a desk tripod and making a light-box out of translucent folders like I did.



    This, however, will be the last tutorial for the cheaper cameras. After this, you'll need a camera that can take filters as we're going to use the miracle that is the Polarising filter. That's for the next lesson, though.

    Today, we're doing the last lesson on basic setup that will allow you to take perfectly lit pictures. We're going to discuss White Balance. Go get your camera manual and check how to set the white balance on your particular camera, as you'll need to know how to do this to avoid this kind of picture:



    That picture was taken with default white balance settings and indoor lighting. You can fix that in software, as described in my basic Picasa tutorial, as I have done here, although I used iPhoto on the Mac.



    Obviously, if you used your camera's white balance setting beforehand to set it for indoor lighting (usually a picture of a light bulb) your pictures would be lit as follows:



    There you go, basic lighting explained. Read about how to set up your white balance. It's very important, and it's different for every camera, so you're on your own at this point.

    That's it for the simple stuff. You have it all.

    Here's a checklist of how to take a picture the Pugwash way:
    1. Clean the watch[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    2. Light the scene[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    3. Set the camera's white balance[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    4. Make sure everything is in focus and framed[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    5. Stabilise the camera[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    6. Turn on the timer[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    7. Press the button[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    8. Stand well back[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    9. click[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    10. Import the picture into the computer[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    11. Check the levels, colours, etc.[/*:m:36kkw8ac]
    12. Crop, scale and export[/*:m:36kkw8ac]


    If you follow this routine, you'll get useable pics every time. You'll be taking photographs, not snapshots.

    Thank you for taking part in these basic lessons. I hope some of you will be interested enough to go past this and start trying the hard stuff. If this is you, here's a sneak into the next lesson, just to keep you interested:



    #2
    Very Nice mate!! Kudos!

    Chris
    Life is Long, but in the end the Journey is the Destination!!!!!

    Comment


      #3
      thanks pugsy

      its great info

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the great info. It helps to have someone who knows what they are doing.

        Thanks
        RAH

        Comment


          #5
          How to....part 3

          Very informative. Hope to get going on my first picture taking undertaking tommorow.
          Thanks for the info. Very nice of you.

          Comment


            #6
            thanks for the input, the problem with my pics is the light and the color of the light which is usually a bit yellow

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ohmycocker
              thanks for the input, the problem with my pics is the light and the color of the light which is usually a bit yellow
              That is exactly the problem I'm talking about. You may be able to set your camera to your setting of white. If your camera has a custom white balance setting, you can put a piece of paper in front of the watch, tell the camera that it is white and then every pic will be perfect for that lighting.

              Otherwise, you have to fix it with the "Temperature" settings in Picasa/iPhoto once its on the computer.

              Comment


                #8
                thats good ...thanks Pug...the first thing I need...a good camera ..
                Cheers,
                Moggio

                Watch List 2011

                PAM 026k, IWC TopGun Concepta, IWC Portugese Concepta
                HBB King Tourbillion Black Ceramic



                * Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves *

                Comment


                  #9
                  Part 3

                  Pugwash:
                  Which method do you find produces the most accurate photo color wise - Setting the white balance correctly b4 taking the photo, or fixing the photo with software?

                  Can you tell the difference???

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Part 3

                    Originally posted by bigdoggy
                    Which method do you find produces the most accurate photo color wise - Setting the white balance correctly b4 taking the photo, or fixing the photo with software?
                    Do everything possible in the camera. Every modification with software causes a decrease in quality. It's all about Dynamic Range and the GIGO Principle.

                    Originally posted by bigdoggy
                    Can you tell the difference???
                    Yes, I can.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      White Balance

                      How (in your experience) accurate are the Auto White Balance settings on mid price - $350/$550 digital Cameras?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: White Balance

                        Originally posted by bigdoggy
                        How (in your experience) accurate are the Auto White Balance settings on mid price - $350/$550 digital Cameras?
                        They can be ok, but I don't really trust them.

                        Most cameras in that price range will have manual settings. I advise you to use them whenever possible.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Don't use the auto setting if you re taking photos indoor.

                          Set it to Tungsten or Fluorescent manually. My cheapo $100 canon has this settings. I usually use it for ebay pictures.

                          The canon A series is affordable with lots of settings to play with. You may check them out.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Pugwash, do you have any tips on where to get one of those acrylic watch stands that i've seen in your photos?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by koopia
                              Pugwash, do you have any tips on where to get one of those acrylic watch stands that i've seen in your photos?
                              No. I bought some on eBay, and when they all broke, Narikaa took pity on me and mailed me some. eBay is usually the best place to get them, though.

                              Just remember, they are not made to last forever. Get more than you need.

                              Comment

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