Luxury Watch Photography

In this live photography workshop Karl demonstrates how to photograph a luxury watch to advertising standards.

Watch as Karl builds up to the final shot, showing you each live image and explaining the changes and reasoning behind his creative decisions.

He demonstrates the step-by-step process, from selecting suitable props, to lighting it and the simple post production needed to finish it off. He also shares valuable insight into photographing a product like this, revealing a number of industry secrets that all contribute to the beautiful final image.

In this live photography workshop we cover the following:

  • Product photography: How to photograph a luxury watch
  • Product photography lighting tips
  • Photographing and lighting shiny surfaces
  • Achieving a gradated light with a point light source
  • Using reflectors and flags
  • Useful post production techniques for product retouching

If you have any question about this photography workshop, post them in the comments box below.


  1. That looks amazing! One question on the large scrim: what is the minimum size you need for a shot like this? Do you have any advice on determining scrim size based on the shape of the object? Also, how would you manage scrim size for smaller studios?
    Ok, that was three questions, not one…

    1. Author

      Hi Kryn the bigger scrim is always easier to work with as with a smaller scrim you would need to be careful of the position of the scrim as you can get issues with the edge of the scrim showing in the product and/or the gradient light cutting of early. I would make the scrim as big as you can fit into your studio. We have an example of how we make the scrims here this example is using tracing paper and so we have made it double sided. If using the Lee Filters 216 diffusion roll you will only need to add to one side of the frame as if is much thicker and stronger than tracing paper.

  2. Thanks Tim!
    Second question (I’m watching this in stages…)
    Why not use a white paper reflector instead of silver for fill of the bottom of the watch? Isn’t a Matt white reflector more diffuse and less intense than silver? That way you don’t need an ND gel on top of a silver reflector. Is there another reason for this construction?

    1. Author

      Hi Kryn, the white card may work but would not reflect the light in the same way and would lose some of the sparkle and the ND filter over the silver allowed and Karl to carefully control the amount of light reflected back onto the watch. A slightly matter silver card may have also worked it is a case of trying a few things out and seeing what looks best.

  3. I’m glad I’m not Thomas!! I totally get why you wanted degradation of light on this shot. This is why I am learning from you. Your a master at lighting. I dont believe in making these mistakes when I can avoid them through education from you Karl. I love the eloquence of your shots.

  4. Hi Karl, Great workshop once again, please help though?? I have 4 images I want to layer on top of each other, I can’t seem to drag them onto each other like you do at 1hr 15min. I try to place them but it just moves them what am I doing wrong please? I am using Abobe Photoshop CC, opened them as RAW files first, then into PS. Thanks in advance. Rgds Gary

    1. Hi Gary, do you get the layers one above the other or is it that they just don’t line up with each other?

    1. Hi Gary, it’s a good result but there needs to be more light under the lower part of the strap and I think there is a faint shadow on the background in the top left. As for the layers moving around that is strange. Usually as long as the image is exactly the same size and not cropped when you drag one layer from one image into another then they would snap to the corners or centres (in PS cc at least anyway) otherwise lower the opacity and move the layer carefully whilst you can see through it. Alternatively use the ‘load images into a stack’ command and then say ‘allign layers automatically’ and that usually works well.

  5. Hi Karl, thanks for the critique and the instructions on aligning the layers, I will give it another go. And I will check out that shadow top left. Thanks again.

  6. Hi Karl,

    As much as I would like to replicate your gray backdrop when my space allows, do you have a recommendation for another option such as fabric or some other option?

    Thanks, Kevin

    1. Hi Kevin, for this type of photography I would insist on a very flat surface, even a smaller piece of MDF or firm card that can be painted the correct colour would be best. Fabrics or paper backdrops just form too many ripples for this type of work.

  7. Wow you make things look easy! I know you have done this again but it is now on my to do list when I get home!

  8. Unbelievable image! As I mainly do Jewelry Photography these days you make it look so easy when I dare say it’s one of the hardest types of photography there is. This video shows how much you have mastered bending light to your will, thank you for the insight and wisdom.


You must be logged in to leave a comment.