I did a shoot with my Original Grain watch the day I first got my camera. The photos turned out great and are still probably in my top 10 photos I’ve ever taken. But since then, I’ve learned more - more about composition, camera settings, etc… So I decided to take another crack at it!
This time, I wanted to share the process behind getting this shot.
It doesn’t take much to stage a scene. I made this with my watch (the subject), a bottle of scotch, and a whiskey glass I had sitting around the apartment. This time, I added a piece of black foam board (which you can get from any crafts store - I got mine from Walmart for $1 each) as the base and background.
I went with these objects as props because this watch is made of reclaimed wood from whiskey barrels. I’m not sure what whiskey barrels it comes from, but I really liked the textures in the cork and in the bottle design on the Monkey Shoulder scotch I had sitting around, as well as the colors - so I went with that.
I wanted to bring out those textures, so I laid the bottle down in a way that would show off the 3 monkeys as well as the cork, and placed the watch over the neck of the bottle to give it some structure. I originally tried laying the watch over the black foam that it came on in the box, but it just didn’t quite look right. I think having it around the neck of the bottle worked better anyways because it made the watch part of the scene.
When I started taking pictures, the whole scene seemed skewed. There wasn’t enough balance in the photos, so I added the glass of whiskey into the background. I chose this glass specifically because of the textures design.
I turned off all of the lights in the room and used my Aputure MC with the included diffuser as a single light source to illuminate the scene. I went with a warmer tone to compliment the tones in the whiskey and give the picture a warmer vibe overall. When lighting a scene, I recommend trying many different angles with your light source. When I lit it from a 6:00 angle, the light was very harsh. From 4-5:00 it cast bad shadows on the watch face because of the angle. From above, it had a really isolating, moody feel that I actually really liked, but I wanted a bit more from the props. So I settled on around an 8:00 angle. I also played with the height and decided on about a foot above the table by mounting it on another tripod.
Next, I noticed there was quite a bit of glare coming from either the watch face or the bottle, no matter how I lit the scene, so I added on my circular polarizing filter. I rotated it to block out most of the glare from the watch face, and fortunately, it also lined up with some of the glare on the bottle.
For the final piece of the puzzle, after taking a few photos, I decided to try adding in another diffuser. I set the Aputure MC light back a few more feet and put my diffuser about a foot from the scene. This time, it was perfect.
Even with only a single light source and a CPL, I knew I could shoot at ISO 100 and use a lower shutter speed since both the subject and camera were stationary. I tried a few different variations of shutter speed and aperture for different lighting and depth of field. Sure, I could’ve just edited exposure in Lightroom, but I find that getting proper exposure in-camera generally looks best.
The shot I ended up liking the most was at 1/4 f/2.0 and ISO 100, so I went with that and just added the Whiskey Barrel preset that I created the last time I shot this watch.
I hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful for your own product photography! Follow me on Instagram @whboggs and on Facebook at William Boggs Photography for more!
Original Grain watch: https://amzn.to/3r3co40
Shot on my Canon EOS R: https://amzn.to/37oppNG
Using the Canon RF 85mm f/2.0 Macro IS Lens: https://amzn.to/386dRxS
With this lens hood: https://amzn.to/38fjslk
Super cheap circular polarizing filter: https://amzn.to/3azJGSJ
Aputure MC Light: https://amzn.to/3qZUdfL
Light reflector and diffuser: https://amzn.to/3mkVwCk
Using this tripod: https://amzn.to/34jzwld
I love this paracord camera wrist strap: https://amzn.to/3r1anp0
I use this cleaning kit every time before I shoot: https://amzn.to/34i3xSs