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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A while ago I spent a few days writing a long and detailed Guide To Photographing Watches. It's since been posted on several watch forums and many members seem to have found it useful so I'll post it here, too, if no-one minds and hope it helps some members here capture the beauty of their beloved timepieces. :thumbup1:

It's designed for beginners but others may find the odd useful tip, too. It talks you though equipment, basic technique, lighting, set-up, shooting, post-processing, uploading to the net and finally posting on a forum. I hope it helps a few members get into a fun hobby and for others to stay in it and maybe even improve the photos posted daily on the forum.

A Guide To Photographing Watches

If you need to find it in the future there's a link towards the bottom of the right sidebar menu on my blog.
 

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Nice write-up. Thanks for sharing. :thumbup1:

One suggestion though:
(not sure if it is my monitor or your WB settings), but that 18K Yacht-Master looks too red, IMO.
It looks more like rose gold which we of course know, Rolex does not make.





Not to say that this image is perfect as it was shot outdoors and hand-held,
but as one can see, the metal is more yellow:

 

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What camera body do you have, Mikey? And what would you feel to be affordable?
Doh! Nikon D3000. At this point i have an 18-55 VR AF-S lens and a 55-200 VR AF-S lens. I also have a Neewer 0.45x Super wide angle lens w macro that i understand fits onto the 18-55 but i've never tried to use it. I also have a Canon EOS Digital Rebel with a Canon 100mm EF USM 1: 2.8 Macro lens that i haven't used in quite a while now because i like the ease of use that comes with the Nikon. Under $300 would be 'affordable' at this time of year.
 

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IMHO, your writeup does a disservice to the beginners by impressing on them the "need" to use manual mode. I believe this is prevalent on the internet as a holdover from the pre-digital age (maybe even the pre-autofocus age), and there is a perception created that to be a "serious" photographer, you will only use "M" mode, when nothing could be further from the truth with today's cameras. "P" mode stands for "Professional" these days, as M mode carries a significant risk of a totally blown shot.

Beside which, at this level, most people are just going to set the settings where the built-in metering says to, anyways, so why not let the camera do it and have one less thing to worry about? I think the time would have been far more valuably spent discussing exposure compensation, and how the camera wants to make everything "grey" - and therefore the need to dial in a bit of +EV for light subjects, and a bit of -EV for dark ones.

Lastly, f/8 - f/16 is going to put practically all the cameras your readers are using into diffraction with no additional DOF benefit. f/4-f/8 is sufficient for m43 and APS-C sensors, compact cameras can shoot wide open and have sufficient depth of field in most cases (and a HUGE exposure advantage because of it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
IMHO, your writeup does a disservice to the beginners by impressing on them the "need" to use manual mode. I believe this is prevalent on the internet as a holdover from the pre-digital age (maybe even the pre-autofocus age), and there is a perception created that to be a "serious" photographer, you will only use "M" mode, when nothing could be further from the truth with today's cameras. "P" mode stands for "Professional" these days, as M mode carries a significant risk of a totally blown shot.

Beside which, at this level, most people are just going to set the settings where the built-in metering says to, anyways, so why not let the camera do it and have one less thing to worry about? I think the time would have been far more valuably spent discussing exposure compensation, and how the camera wants to make everything "grey" - and therefore the need to dial in a bit of +EV for light subjects, and a bit of -EV for dark ones.

Lastly, f/8 - f/16 is going to put practically all the cameras your readers are using into diffraction with no additional DOF benefit. f/4-f/8 is sufficient for m43 and APS-C sensors, compact cameras can shoot wide open and have sufficient depth of field in most cases (and a HUGE exposure advantage because of it)
Hmm.. I think many who use that guide have just bought a DSLR and are confused as to how to use it. Point and shoot cameras can produce fantastic images and for the most part you'll use them in Auto mode with auto-focus. If you want the best results from your DSLR that's not the case. If you want to just use your DSLR as an expensive point and shoot then that's fine but that's also what the guide is aimed at helping you avoid.

P stands for Program mode, not Professional mode. I think if you speak to most pro photographers you'll find 99% of them produce macro or close up images using manual focus. Why? Because then I, the photographer, get to decide exactly what part of the image is in focus and not the camera.

The guide is meant to help both DSLR users and point and shoot users but it's those who are trying to get to grips with their first DSLR that really need the help so the emphasis is there.

But if you ever want to return the guide for a full refund then just let me know. :001_rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Doh! Nikon D3000. At this point i have an 18-55 VR AF-S lens and a 55-200 VR AF-S lens. I also have a Neewer 0.45x Super wide angle lens w macro that i understand fits onto the 18-55 but i've never tried to use it. I also have a Canon EOS Digital Rebel with a Canon 100mm EF USM 1: 2.8 Macro lens that i haven't used in quite a while now because i like the ease of use that comes with the Nikon. Under $300 would be 'affordable' at this time of year.
Well, I'm not well up on aftermarket so I'll recommend from those I know. For the money you're talking you can get a new Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro Nikkor which is a very versatile and tack sharp little lens that is designed for macro photography. I think you'd find that a very useful lens for what you've described. Be sure to get a sturdy tripod and a cable release, too, though. This type of macro photography depends on everything being perfectly still.
 

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Doh! Nikon D3000. At this point i have an 18-55 VR AF-S lens and a 55-200 VR AF-S lens. I also have a Neewer 0.45x Super wide angle lens w macro that i understand fits onto the 18-55 but i've never tried to use it. I also have a Canon EOS Digital Rebel with a Canon 100mm EF USM 1: 2.8 Macro lens that i haven't used in quite a while now because i like the ease of use that comes with the Nikon. Under $300 would be 'affordable' at this time of year.
I am not sure about 'under"...for for 'around' $300 pre-owned you can buy an EXCELLENT macro/portrait lens: Tamron 90mm f2.8
 

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I certainly didn't see the write up as a 'disservice' even though i am somewhat of a beginner at photography. There will be a few things i can use from the write up that will help me take better close up shots of not only my watch collection but other things as well. Thanks for the ideas on the lens too!
 

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P stands for Program mode, not Professional mode. I think if you speak to most pro photographers you'll find 99% of them produce macro or close up images using manual focus. Why? Because then I, the photographer, get to decide exactly what part of the image is in focus and not the camera.
Manual focus and manual exposure are two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Of course, with the tiny DOF in macro, you will want manual focus - many advanced compact cameras have this capability also. Personally, I use micro 43's cameras with "touch to focus", so i just poke the area on the screen I want in focus and it does it automatically.

There is little/no need for manual exposure in a still macro environment with hot lights. If you're using strobes, sure, but that is WELL beyond the targeted readership here. P mode (if your camera allows progam shift) or A mode, perhaps combined with exposure compensation to make whites white and blacks black, will allow the appropriate control and DRAMATICALLY reduce the chances of a totally blown shot.

Your composition and setup of the scenes has been fantastic (an area I am woefully inadequate at, and why I haven't posted any images), but the last two images you posted of your Damasko were seriously underexposed. Perhaps even you could benefit from listening to some advice and taking a more critical look at your images.

IMHO, kibi is the best watch photog around - every image he has posted is both creatively and technically excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The DC66 image, this one I think you mean:

Dial My Number.. « thirtyfivemill

is perfectly exposed. Had it been slightly under-exposed I would simply have tweaked the exposure in Photoshop but there was absolutely no need. I wanted low light and slightly moody and that's exactly where the image is. What you do need to keep in mind is that images posted on the web cannot be truly evaluated unless using the monitor they were originally edited on. Your monitor, which is likely not correctly calibrated, will show you something totally different to what mine shows me. That's one of the main drawbacks of critiquing images on the net and why I seldom do so.

Finally, when we look at an image without having first spoken to the photographer to understand what his goals and ambitions were with the image it's impossible to say whether an image is under or over-exposed, technically brilliant or completely flawed. If an image is completely blown out then fair enough but again, that could well have been the intention of the photographer. I know many photographers that are technically brilliant and very talented but I don't personally like their photography style but that's neither here nor there, it's simply my taste and doesn't make my work or style any better or worse, just different.

Your comments show a naivety and I don't think they provide good advice. I also don't think it's credible to critique the images of others whilst saying you won't post any of your own because they're not good enough.. Before I'd take it upon myself to criticise the work of someone else I'd want to be very sure I had the knowledge and competence to do so and be able to back that up.
 

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When items that are actually white appear grey, the image is underexposed by definition. Exposure is a fact, not a matter of opinion, and the vast majority of your images are underexposed.

Now, you may indeed be choosing that look, and that is fine, perhaps that's your personal style, as many of the the MM300 images are underexposed also. Generally, the Zenith images are great though.

As to my photos, some are posted here
http://500px.com/TroyGorrell

Anyway, back OT - to photographers getting started, it is kind of counterintuitive, but if your subject is light colored, you need to dial in some +EV compensation, and if the subject is dark, you need to dial in some -EV because the camera's meter is trying to make everything a middle grey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
When items that are actually white appear grey, the image is underexposed by definition. Exposure is a fact, not a matter of opinion, and the vast majority of your images are underexposed.

Now, you may indeed be choosing that look, and that is fine, perhaps that's your personal style, as many of the the MM300 images are underexposed also. Generally, the Zenith images are great though.

As to my photos, some are posted here
http://500px.TroyGorrell

Anyway, back OT - to photographers getting started, it is kind of counterintuitive, but if your subject is light colored, you need to dial in some +EV compensation, and if the subject is dark, you need to dial in some -EV because the camera's meter is trying to make everything a middle grey.
Yes but I'm guessing your monitor is not calibrated as very few of the images I've posted have been under-exposed. If they do appear grey in white areas then try calibrating your monitor and/or turn up the brightness/contrast. All I can do is to edit the images according to my screen which is a new Apple 27" Cinema Display calibrated using an X-Rite Eye-One Display LT calibrating device. If you're seeing a grey background in the MM300 images then you're calibrated totally differently to me as on my monitor they're bright white.

BTW, your link didn't work but I'm assuming you mean these: http://500px.com/photo/15845045
 

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Thanks for the advice, it's fantastic. I currently shoot with a D7000 (DX format by choice / $$) and have the Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro. A great lens for this kind of thing I'm sure. I'm new to the game but not new to photography so here's to getting stuck in! I would also be interested to see how shots come out with an 85mm 1.8 :)
 

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Link no longer working :(

A while ago I spent a few days writing a long and detailed Guide To Photographing Watches. It's since been posted on several watch forums and many members seem to have found it useful so I'll post it here, too, if no-one minds and hope it helps some members here capture the beauty of their beloved timepieces. :thumbup1:

It's designed for beginners but others may find the odd useful tip, too. It talks you though equipment, basic technique, lighting, set-up, shooting, post-processing, uploading to the net and finally posting on a forum. I hope it helps a few members get into a fun hobby and for others to stay in it and maybe even improve the photos posted daily on the forum.

A Guide To Photographing Watches

If you need to find it in the future there's a link towards the bottom of the right sidebar menu on my blog.
 
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