Luxury Watch Product Photography

In this product photography class, Karl demonstrates how to capture a professional-level image of a luxury watch.

Watch as Karl builds up to the final shot, walking you step-by-step through his creative process, from selecting suitable props to lighting the shot, plus the simple post-production required to finish it off. He also shares valuable insights into photographing a product like this, revealing a number of industry secrets that all contribute to the beautiful final image.

Luxury Watch Product Photography

Luxury Watch Product Photography

In this class:

  • How to photograph a luxury watch
  • 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 questions about this photography workshop, please post them in the comments below.


  1. Hi Karl! One of the most difficult things for me with watch photography is to get the face well lit. Either mine gets too dark in some areas, or I get a soft light area close to the edge. I see how you overcome that in this video, maybe because you scrim is very close to the watch? Is the angle of the scrim of any importance? I mean if the face of the watch would be angled differently (vertically), would you then change the angle of the scrim? Thanks!

  2. Hi Karl,

    What if I am shooting 3 watches at once, and one has a metal face with a rubber band, but the other two are more of a matte black with rubber bands, should I use the scrim above all 3? Or do I have to shoot them individually? I want to try and shoot all 3 as a grouping, if possible.

    1. Hi, I’d always try and shoot as much together as I can for the realism of reflections/shadows etc – however you may need to light each one differently and then layer the 3 shots together in post and use masks. This is straightforward as long as your products and your camera don’t move at all during the shooting stage.

  3. Hi Karl

    Thanks for the material which is very practical and concise.
    my question is about the lens which you use for the product shooting , you usually have a fixed focal lens occasionally with a extension tube to achieve 1:1 ratio or close up framing, from the perspective of a professional photography, can customers accept cropping in post production after shooting with a wide angle lens?


  4. Gary Stasiuk

    Hey Karl
    Question about hilights and metalwork. I’ve shot a few rings before and an issue that seems to pop up often is control over the the hilight burnout at certain points. It seems quite easy to get points that go beyond 255 white. I can’t imagine that is too acceptable even if it is only at minor points, but depending on the level of reflectance it does seem a little inevitable. Are you still getting a little bit of this happening in your final result or have you pulled it below 255/255/255 everywhere?

    1. Hi Gary, generally speaking with jewellery you will have many specular highlights that read 255 so this isn’t a problem as they are a direct reflected image of the light source from a mirrored surface.

  5. Hey Karl, Shako here!
    Always amazing work.
    Three questions here.
    1. I am being hired to shoot watches in a a 7 x 8ft office space. I’m not sure if I can fit a scrim, but possibly fit a silk sheet of diffusion that maybe acts like a scrim, would that work the same?

    2. I need to deliver high end e-commerce photos of different angles. Would this setup be the most versatile, systematic for that type of job, I love the fact that the retouching is so minimal. I need something that makes it easy to shoot as much and spend less time in post.

    3. Would it also be practical in post to just replicate the same image and just mask in a flipped version of the straps, instead of using curved card? Or using the card and NDA filter the best and most consistent approach.

    Huge thank you for your time and lessons!

  6. That was fabulous! By far the best tutorial I’ve seen from a start to finish effort. Thanks! Quick question — It looks like the watch crystal is still on the face of the watch. Do you ever request jewelers remove the crystal? It looks like the scrim/light set up alleviates any possible glare, but just thought I’d ask. Thanks again! Going to give this set up ago!

    1. Hi Caeccles, No I’ve never done that but it could be useful although often you need a little bit of face glare in the shots.

      1. Thanks! I did zoom in on the Omega and I think with the straight-on shot not having a crystal would have been noticeable because you would lose that gentle slope (upper right). I might remove it on my very much less expensive Timex for the macro shot, tho, see if that makes a different. Thanks again!

  7. derrick_connell

    Another great live session.

    As I live on the West Coast of USA, the timezone can be tricky, but I am looking forward to attending a live session in person.

    Is there a module on the use of fresnels. I use snoops right now but it seems like the fresnel is a better choice.

  8. Charliestephens

    Hi Karl, just curious as to the size of your scrim relative to the watch as it pertains to the extent of gradation. In other words how small a scrim could you have used to get the same end result?

    1. Hi Charles, because watches are often curved and beveled I find it much easier with a bigger scrim. If you can’t go big then you have to go as close to the product as possible but I find that I often need big and close I’m afraid.

  9. Hi Karl,

    very informative as usual. One thing causes me quite a headache and that is trying to get that result in my small studio. The ceiling height is only 2,75m and I do get a lot of spill light when shooting with a bare bulb flash. The light bounces in all directions and is reflecting from ceiling and walls. My solution would be a big cone that does not restrict the circle of light onto the diffusion material but hinders light to spill upwards. Do you think that helps?

    1. Hi Peter, you simply need to rig up black velvet or fabric curtains around your studio walls and have some black foamboard panels that you velcro to your ceiling. Once you are working in a black box you have total light control. You can paint your studio black but this makes for quite a depressing space and sometimes you want to use the white walls so it’s best to have the ability to switch between them.

  10. Hi Karl, your tutorials are amazing!
    I have a little question about product/jewelry/watch photography, i saw that one of the biggest problem in this kind of photos are the unwanted reflection that we have on the metallic/gold surface. How do you manage this problem usually? It’s all a post production clean up work? (like the reflection of the edge of scrim in this live, in the left side of the watch)
    Many times i had the problem of the black reflection caused by my own camera on the product and obviously i can’t hide with a white paper flag

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