silver victorinox watch ad white background

A Dying Art Form

Product photography of anything made out of metal, plastic, or glass that is designed in a CAD program is essentially a dying art form. Photographers working with these types of subjects have been increasingly losing out to CGI shops. If you are a client, it makes total sense. We live in a fast paced world and traditionally product photos had to wait.... for the products to actually exist. With CAD models, a digital version of the product can be handed off to a CGI shop for texturing and rendering. It's now possible to produce marketing materials without having to wait for a physical object to be photographed. That's truly revolutionary. Not necessarily cost effective however, but you know what they say about speed, quality, and cost.

Why I Still Shoot It

The move towards CGI kind of saddens me a bit, and economically it doesn't make much sense for me to shoot and market these kinds of images anymore - but I still do. Why? Because I enjoy it. That's why. I enjoy the challenge of dealing with a difficult subject. I also realize that while I might not be able to compete with the time line benefits CGI rendering might bring to a client; I do bring something CGI shops can't render up. Artistic Vision. I have a weird knack for being able to glorify an in animate object. The artistic vision for the image you're looking at is human. Not CGI.

How I Shot It

This watch was shot shot on a special rig that I spent a few weeks designing that was specifically created for photographing watches. I know, it sounds crazy, but watches are very intricate, highly reflective in a zillion and one directions, and all around difficult to shoot. Contrary to how the image appears, it was actually shot from overhead. It's actually lying on a clean sheet of glass that's above a lightbox pointing at the camera. I worked with a print shop to create specially designed reflectors that create the silky smooth reflections you see. I have a few stylized reflectors that can create very stylized curvaceous zebra like highlights that I've used on a few womens watches where that kind of look compliments the watch design.

Like any good looking photo of a watch, mine is also a composite. You can't really create this kind of look in one shot, you can get close, but thats it. Just close. The reality of shooting a watch is that you have to light it many different ways to make each part come to life. The catch, however, is that you mess up the other areas. The watch face is a prime example. To light it in a manner that really brings out the texture, you wind up making other areas of the watch look really bad. This forces you to shoot these elements separate, all with lighting tailored just for them. In photoshop I merged all the images to make this shot come to life.