How To Shoot a Perfect Watch using only an iPad
Last week, I wrote an article about shooting a watch using only one light, and I promised to write a Part 2 of this series on how to shoot a watch using more Photoshop work. So, I was in my studio preparing to do the 2nd part of the article and I brought my iPad for pegs and music. I was getting ready to shoot but something crazy hit me, what if I shot the watch using only my iPad (like I did a year ago for other products), could be something, right?
So, here is a step by step and behind the scenes tutorial on how to photograph a watch using your iPad. So instead of 2 Parts of my How to shoot a watch, it will be a 3 Parts Series.
NOTE: for this tutorial I did not remove the battery, but normally when shooting watches you want the time to be 10:10 (also when you’re driving :) ).
What you will need:
- A Camera (as always)
- A Tripod
- A Shutter release cable – or a shutter release iPhone app like ioShutter or Triggertrapp.
- iPad, Smart Phone
A Step-by-step of the actual shoot:
1. Find a dark space where you can shoot without any ambient light whatsoever. Since you’ll be shooting a long exposure any ambient light will contaminate the scene and damage the photo.
2. Setup a background for your subject. Here are some ideas that you can play with
3. Place your camera on a tripod and compose your shot.
4. Pre-focus on your subject. After focusing switch your camera to manual focus. The actual shoot is done in complete darkness so it will be hard for the camera to focus.
5. I was shooting with a Nikon D3 and a Nikon 60mm 2.8 Macro Lens. Shooting in bulb mode would be optimal because you can control the shutter speed of your camera. And since the only light in the scene is coming from light painting the duration of the shot only depends on how fast you light paint. I was shooting at around 15-25 seconds and playing around f3.5-f5.6 depending on the depth of field I wanted.
6. How to Expose: The Longer you light paint the more exposed the subject will be. The faster you move the less exposed it will be. You can also play around with the ISO and brightness of your iPad (or iPhone or Nexus or Windows phone or …) screen.
7. Turn the room lights off click the shutter. Light Paint on the parts that you want lit. To get the nice look on the glass make sure you light paint opposite to the camera. Since you are using a relatively large light source, you can get some really nice results. The trick is to make sure you don’t have any “hot spots”. Swipe as if you are trying to shoot the iPhone through the reflection on the glass of the watch.
8. Check your shot and repeat the process if you need less or more exposure in some parts. Light Painting is really a trial and error technique so don’t worry.
All shots are 90-95% straight off the camera. I used Lightroom to bring back some contrast using levels. And a little bit of Photoshop to clean the dust using spot healing and the clone tool.
The fact that you can control the color of the iPhone’s screen means that you can have some fun with it.
So, there you have it. Shooting a watch like the pros with zero budget.
Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years. You can follow his work on his web page, follow him on Flickr and if you happen to come by Cubao, Quezon City (To Manila, Philippines) he gives a great workshop!