Monday, August 10, 2009

PAM Zero and another off-camera flash example

So you've read this earlier post about wristwatch photography with off camera flash techniques and you're ready to give it a go. But now that you have all your gear, how do you set up? How do you prevent hot spots on the watch from harsh light, how do you prevent reflections in the case and where do you put your strobes? The truth is that there are a million ways to achieve more or less similar results, but here's an explanation that might help you find what works for you.

Panerai PAM00000
Panerai PAM00000 - click for a larger version

To achieve the results shown in the above photo, I positioned a large piece of foam board (2) above the watch. This already prevents things in the room from being reflected in the case and crystal, but it serves another purpose. As you can see in the setup picture below, the foam board also functions as a reflector. The strobe (1) on the camera's left is pointing upwards to produce an even and soft light that is bounced off of the foam board and onto the watch. Because you don't point your strobe directly onto the watch, you won't get a so called "hot spot" either.

After taking a few first test shots I noticed that the strobe on the left was showing in the left side of the case. To prevent this I placed a small piece of white cardboard against the strobe (1).

Next - to make the watch look more three dimensional - I positioned a second strobe on the right side of the camera and I placed a milk white piece of acrylic/plexi glass between the watch and the second strobe (3) to function as a diffuser. This also prevents reflections on the right side of the case, because the lit up acrylic is reflected in the case and bezel instead.

Finally I changed the angle of the strobe on the left a few times and I put the watch at an angle too - until the light on the nine was a bit brighter than it was on the rest of the crystal. In my opinion this makes the watch look more realistic.

Below are two more photos that I took using this setup. The position, the angle and the output power of the strobes was different for the photos below, but both the technique and the setup were more or less the same.

Panerai PAM00000

Panerai PAM00000

The camera was in manual mode and I used an aperture of F16 and the shutter speed was set to 1/30th for all the photos. Note that even with F16 the depth of field is relatively shallow. This is caused by a) the length of the lens (105mm) and b) the distance between the lens and the subject. You can read more about this here.

Related posts

Wristwatch photography strobist style
Lighting setup for a PAM326 wristwatch
Camera settings and depth-of-field for wristwatch photography

Photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Feedback is appreciated!

1 comment:

  1. thanks for sharing Martin. I will buy my flash for my SLR.