How to photograph Pocket Watches | Macro Photography Tutorial

hi guys i’m ben from adaptalux and i’m
back in the kitchen today to bring you another macro photography tutorial today
we’re looking at pocket watches I’ve got a couple to try out today and see
what kind of shots we can get from them so let’s get started for those of you that have been to see us
at the photography show you’ll probably recognize these watches we use them
quite a lot to to demonstrate the Adaptalux Studio and that’s because there’s
quite a lot of nice detail on those bit hard to see in this in this light with
this camera but they present an interesting challenge because there’s a
lot of engraved detail on here and the surfaces are reflective so lighting them
is a bit of a challenge but that’s what we’re going to look at
today and we’re gonna get some really interesting results equipment wise we’ve
got a pretty simple setup we’ve got the Nikon d5600 and the Tamron 90mm
macro lens on there now technically we’re not gonna be shooting macro it’s
more close-up photography but you probably noticed by now that I use those
terms pretty interchangeably we’ve also got the Adaptalux Studio for lighting
obviously and a couple of different lighting arms we’ve got the two whites
and then I’ve also got an amber and a green there to try I’m also going to be
sort of demonstrating the difference between using the filters to add color
and using the colored lighting arms themselves so we’ll have a look at that
and for a surface I’ve got a piece of white card just to have a white surface
and then we’ll be using the iPad again to get a reflective surface if you’re
not seeing the the coins video where we use the iPad to reflect the
coins you can check that out as well but for now let’s get started setting this
up the initial setup is a pretty simple and
then we’ve got the the silver pocket watch on a little bit of white paper so
that we’ve got a nice flat background surface to shoot on and our lighting is
sat behind the subject on the mini tripod so that we can bring the lighting
arms around the front and position them exactly how we’d like them it’s just two
white lighting arms for the time being with some white diffusers clipped onto
the end there but something that you can immediately notice along with the
reflections on this very shiny pocket watch of the diffusers you’re gonna be
seeing reflections of all of the other lights that are going on in the kitchen
so these ones over here you’ll be able to see like an orange glow coming
off the top of the pocket watch so if I shield that you’ll be able to see it
disappear and come back and we want to try and reduce that as much as possible
so you can take really fine control over exactly where your light is coming from
where those reflections are gonna be on the watch and exactly how you want your
lighting to be so I’m gonna go and turn off the lights for the kitchen and we
should just be left with the Adaptalux Studio with the two diffused white
lights we get a pretty representative shot so I’ve just been taking a look at
these two different pocket watches we’ve got one that’s silver and got some nice
engraving on it and then this brownie brass colored one now neither rumor B
there are particularly nice watches I don’t think this one’s even silver it’s
just some coated metal or something like that but they’re worth interesting to
look at but we can do a few interesting tricks with this lighting to take it
from a standard sort of white representative shot just to something a
little bit more interesting so the first thing I’m going to do is set up this oh
well I like the silver one better so we’ll set up the silver one
then we’ll have a look at some color filters color filters are different to
the diffusers in that they they’ll not only diffuse the light but they’re also
going to add some color obviously so we’ve got yellow pink red green orange
blue and we can just change these out by snapping one of the white diffusers off
and then just clipping a color filter on and you can see immediately how that’s
changed the look of the photograph where you’ve got some a very light blue color
under the shadows of the ring on the top of the watch there and it also changes
that reflection in the silver as well so it’s really interesting to play with a
few of these and just see if you can find a look that makes your jewelry or
watch or whatever it is that you’re shooting look just a little bit more
visually interesting with just a touch of color now if you’re wanting to sell
your jewelry online or something like that you might not want to be adding too
much color but for the purposes of having a bit of fun with some macro
photography I really enjoy just making things look a
little bit more interesting so I’m gonna play around with this just a little bit
more and see what I can get so you can see there how quickly I can
change out these color filters for all sorts of different colors and different
effects on would otherwise be a pretty plain colorless image and if that’s what
you’re going for that’s absolutely fine you can do that with the with the
diffusers but I’m going to try something a little bit more subtle now because
these are more of a wash but I want a nice subtle pinpoint of light and to do
that I’ve added a green lighting arm here which you can see but it’s a little
bit bright and overwhelming at the minute so I’m going to connect to
bluetooth and change the brightness levels on the Adaptalux Control Pod I’ll
show you how to do that now so I’ve connected the pod to my phone just by
pressing the button on the top of the pod and and then it will come up with a
screen similar to this one where you can select the lighting arms and you can see
that we’ve got the two white ones on here at 50% but you can just select one
and change the brightness so you can take one away altogether or bring it
back in a little bit and then the interesting thing here is that we can
very finely control those extra lighting arms so if I just wanted a few percent of
the green light just to add a very subtle highlight in there I can do that
very very easily I’ve also plugged in a few more arms
which can show you can see there’s a blue one as well so I can bring in a few
percent of the blue and just one or two percent of the green maybe and then I’ve
got another white lighting arm with an orange color filter on there so I can
add three different highlights of color in there just at the tap of a button and
obviously you can go a bit more crazy and take away the whites and add in a
lot of blue or a lot of green or obviously take them away and you can
do this to your liking just by playing around with the app and the brightness
levels of the arms that are plugged in using the app to change the intensities
and brightnesses using the color filters and the diffusers and the colored arms
all in combination can create some really interesting effects and just take
your creativity to that next level where usually this this type of shot on this
type of subject would be quite plain a white white shot on a white background
with a white subject it’s not going to be the most striking image so adding
some color I think is really really cool to play around with so I’ve had fun
shooting this silver pocket watch starting off quite plain with the two
diffused white lights and then progressed into some more interesting
colors and color filters and things like that but I just wanted to change things
up a little bit have a look at the other pocket watch which is got a bit more
color to it but before we get to the color I just wanted to mention the iPad
why am i why am i shooting on an iPad if you didn’t see our video about coins
definitely go and check that out because we use the iPad as a surface to get some
reflections from the coins so that’s a really interesting little trick that you
can use if you’ve got screens lying around at home and you don’t have a
surface to shoot on for the pocket watch itself I wanted to
highlight the color that’s already there so instead of adding crazy blues and
greens and things like that I’ve added a third white lighting arm and all I’m
gonna do is snap this orange color filter onto that white lighting arm you
can see that it just adds a lot more visual interest to this type of shot
where you would usually have a quite a plain white reflection on there you’ve
actually got a highlight of a color and you can use this for highlighting the
gold on wedding rings or putting a pinpoint of the color of a jewel on on
some jewelry so it’s a really interesting little technique that I like
to use just to add a little bit more of the color that’s already there so that’s
it for tips and tricks on using the Adaptalux Studio to shoot pocket
watches it’s quite a tricky subject to shoot using more traditional lighting
methods like a like a lightbox or something like that because you really
need that flexibility to control where the the highlights are going to be
landing on on a reflective subject like this and of course you’ve got the the
colors and the color filters to have a play around with and get creative with
as well but let me know what you think – today’s shoot in the comments down below
and if you liked the video make sure to give it a like whilst you’re down there
we’ve got lots of we’ve got lots of ideas for different subjects and
inspiration for you guys so make sure to subscribe for some more tutorials like
this one but until then I’ll see you next time you


  1. Richard W in London December 29, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Can you do a demo using the UV and Laser arms please?

  2. Pedro Venancio February 9, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Very Nice Ben and was nice one video with UV and Laser arms like Richard London request.. amazing.

  3. Annie Crooney July 12, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Your enthusiasm is contagious.

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