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Posted by Will Heller

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Want to show off your watch collection to all of your friends, but don’t know where to start? Taking pictures of your watch can look good and be better – Here are 5 tips that are sure to help you step up your wristwatch photo game!

1: Be Aware of Your Wrist Position

While a wristwatch photo is primarily of the watch itself, the angle and position of your wrist can largely impact the ultimate look of the photo. There are no strict guidelines as to how you should position your wrist, though there are certain positions that generally tend to look better than others.

Ultimately, you want your wrist to look natural, as though you’re simply raising your watch to check the time. There’s no need for extreme angles  or anything that feels uncomfortable.

In this photo, the wrist is straight and in a natural position.
In this photo, the wrist is bent downward in an unnatural and uncomfortable way.

2: Always Pay Attention of Lighting

Like any photo, a wristwatch photo can be made or broken by different lighting conditions. Here are a couple of factors that you should always keep in mind.

  • Glare: Whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, there are often bright light sources, such as overhead lights or the sun, that can cause intense glare and wash out parts of the watch.
In this photo, there is no excessive glare.
In this photo, however, the dial is completely washed out by the glare of a fluorescent light.
  • Hard vs. Soft Light: This one can be more difficult to notice, but there are some telltale signs that can help you see whether you’re in hard or soft light. In hard light, such as direct sunlight, shadows become very harsh, resulting in a very sharp, high-contrast photo. In softer light, such as in the shade or cloudy weather, the shadows become much smoother and more even.
This picture was taken in direct sunlight. Note the glare on the left side of the bezel and the sharp shadow on the wrist.
This photo was taken in the shade. Neither the glare nor the shadow are present.

3: Know your Background/Environment

In many cases, you’ll want to showcase your watch in various different locations or settings. In that case, how you show the watch within that environment can affect the photo’s outcome.

Sometimes, the simplest backdrops can be the most effective. If your goal is simply to showcase the watch, then it can be counter-intuitive to use busy, complicated backgrounds.

When photographing your watch in front of a large, distant landmark, the background becomes a much more important part of the photo than in the last example. In many cases, you’ll want to offset your watch from the center of the photo in order to make room for whatever it is you’re trying to showcase in the background.

Maybe you want to showcase your watch as a part of your outfit as a whole. In this case, one reliable option is a wide, top-down photo that shows your torso, legs and feet.

4: Nail the Focus

One aspect that can most quickly make or break a watch photo is, simply put, whether or not the watch is in focus. When taking a close-up photo of a watch, the camera will often need to shift focus in order to focus on the watch. In most cases, your camera is capable of doing this automatically, but sometimes, you will need to tell the camera where to focus (half-pressing a shutter button, tapping on a screen, etc).

As a guide, if the watch appears blurry in the photo, then it is not in focus.

5: Get Creative!

This post is by no means a definitive guide to photographing your wristwatch. In fact, there is no definitive guide! If you have any other ideas for how you’d like to showcase your watch, then allow that creative energy to flow!