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My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:48 am
by Mugea
Just like to share my „studio“ setup and some „MacGyver“ tricks. Hopefully, other will share their tricks. I’d be especially interested in some magic tricks how to take the perfect shot of watches with black dials.


Anyway: it started with my wish to have the perfect black background. Not dark grey, but just the perfect black. I experimented long – my father found and build the solution: a black box made of plywood with the measures 80 cm deep, 70 cm high and 42 cm wide (31.5” x 28” x 16.5”) – the exact measures aren’t important, what counts is the depth of the box absorbing all incoming light. The bottom of the box always will be black.

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Next I build a “light tower” to be placed in front of the black box. Some wood bars and a shower curtain (the cheap sort made of polyvinyl or what it’s called – this sort of shower curtain you don’t want to have in your shower. But perfect as a translucent material) plus a chipboard laying around were sufficient.

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Et voilà! Two low cost studio lamps and my studio was ready.

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Some helpers like a watch holder completed the setup.

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As my goal also is to avoid photoshopping work as best as possible, one challenge was: how to take pictures of case backs? Thought long about this –until I remembered my childhood:

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These arrows with suction cups turned out to be ideal! They are long enough to vanish in the dark and the suction cups are strong enough to hold a complete watch. Now a case back is no issue any longer.

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The resulting photo is the “before photoshopping” image – some light dark grey portions are present, but they are easy to remove.

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At work:

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The resulting photos are Okay, but I’m still not satisfied. Especially, the black dials still are a nightmare. Hope, somebody will tell, how to take good photos of black dialed watches!


Best regards

Martin

Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:15 am
by vintagehamiltons
I've been using this setup for years now. The DSLR has been replaced with a Canon G9.

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Some of my best shots

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My best black dial effort

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Bryan (Coronado) has some top tier skills and has a very simple setup and an old camera. I haven't been able to get the details from him though. :lol: Check out http://www.artdecowristwatches.com

Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:27 pm
by Mugea
Tom,

thanks for showing your studio. I also have such a light cube, but the results with using it were soso….

Your photos of the T-403 and of the Sherwood R (?) are fantastic! What's the trick with the mirror?

Regards

Martin

Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:11 am
by vintagehamiltons
Mugea wrote:
Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:27 pm
Tom,

thanks for showing your studio. I also have such a light cube, but the results with using it were soso….

Your photos of the T-403 and of the Sherwood R (?) are fantastic! What's the trick with the mirror?

Regards

Martin
It's done with a black acrylic riser similar to this.

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https://www.amazon.com/LimoStudio-Acryl ... ylic+riser

Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:22 am
by Mugea
Hi tom,

ah, that's interesting, thanks. I'll try it out.

Regards

Martin
P.S: Regarding black dials: Here’s one of my betters – not the real thing. Up to date I failed to get a true front image.

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please note: the "irritations" are due to compressing - in the high resolution photo the writing are sharp. What I'm not happe with: still, there are some reflections and shortcomings like that....

Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:19 pm
by diveboy
I've been inspired by this thread and purchased some new gadgets. Hopefully they will arrive in the next week and I'll post some results.

Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:20 am
by Nookster
Martin, your photos are awesome, very clear, very sharp. The trick for black dials is to get rid of any glare, which is hard to do.

The Le Coultre looks awesome.

Photos are trial and error. Once you find the right place, the right lighting, it's "game on."

Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:09 am
by stryfox
I have tried a few different things. My son is taking photography in school. I bought him some new lighting and tricked him into wanting to shoot my watches. I am curious to see if he comes up with better results than me.
I'll post what he comes up with.
I explained to him the ones for sale he can't alter the photo in any way except brightness and contrast.
For art type shots not watches for sale he can do whatever he wants.
Good for me and a good learning experience for him. He may even teach me a thing or two.

Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:03 am
by Nookster
Here is a K-475 I did. I think I got it right for a black dial. Taking off the crystal helps.

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Re: My "studio" setup and some MacGyver tricks

Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:03 am
by Mugea
Nookster wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:03 am
Here is a K-475 I did. I think I got it right for a black dial. Taking off the crystal helps.
Ha, ha, great! :lol: Yes, taking off the crystal helps a lot! But I prefer it to have the crystal in place – and that’s the challenge.

Here's a Zodiac Autographic I took photos of yesterday. The result ... hum, right direction, I'd say. OK, some photoshopping was necessary anyway.
Zodiac_Autographic_01a_1024x768.jpg
Zodiac_Autographic_01a_1024x768.jpg (72.88 KiB) Viewed 250 times
Regards

Martin