Macro Product Photography
Photographing shiny objects is hard, and working with small sets amplifies the difficulty. When working with reflective items like this watch, what you see is not so much the object, but more what is reflected in the surfaces. This means that all of the lighting on the set must be flawless, and the surrounding area must be clutter free or else you wind up with a reflection of a coffee cup or a camera hood in your photograph. For this image, I used a plexiglass “tent” over the watch for the clean highlights and gradients, a grey card (that can be seen in the reflection at 6:00) and a black card with a hole in the center for the camera. The cards are absolutely necessary, as the negative reflections give the product its shape. For sure there is a lot of Photoshop dickery in this image, the watch was removed from its background and placed on this black montage for a cleaner, more dynamic photograph, but besides that, the image was very clean out of the camera. Good lighting is everything with products, especially luxury items.
Focus was a major issue in this shot, and macro is always an immense challenge for depth of field. I used a micro Nikkor at F22 and shot in RAW.
This shot took a couple of painstaking hours to stage. I constructed an armature to hold the watch in place as it was suspended from the top of the light tent by fine monofilament. The lighting system was basically custom made specifically for this shot, all reflectors hand made, and all light modifiers as well.
I love this sort of work although I do not live in a market where I can ever shoot products for a living. If given the choice, this is the kind of thing that I would shoot, and food of course.
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