Zenith Watch Post-Production 2: Clean-up and Final Touches

As a professional photographer, the aim is always to capture the image as accurately as possible. At the end of the shoot, there should be minimal retouching left to do – only minor adjustments that will add subtle enhancements.

In this photography class, Karl adds the finishing touches to the inner workings of the luxury Zenith watch. Working through the image, he identifies unnecessary distractions, removes unsightly dust and scratches and smooths tonal transitions on the chrome metal of the watch.

Using essential tools such as the Clone Stamp, Filters and Unsharp Mask and techniques such as Burn and Dodge, Karl makes small but important adjustments to the image, adding the final punch and clarity to the smaller details of the watch. He clearly explains each part of the retouching process and his workflow, ensuring your understand each step.

At the end of this class, you’ll understand how to identify retouching requirements and how to use essential Photoshop tools for best effect.

In this class:

  • Product Photography: How to retouch a luxury watch
  • Photoshop retouching tips for product photography
  • Product retouching workflow
  • How to retouch shiny metal surfaces
  • How to use Photoshop Clone Stamp tool
  • How to use Burn and Dodge for product retouching
  • How to remove dust and scratches in Photoshop
  • Gradient tool: How to create gradient lighting in Photoshop
  • Photoshop Unsharp Mask

To see the initial stages of this retouch, check out Zenith Watch Post-Production 1: Focus Stacking and Compositing. You’ll also want to watch the original Zenith Watch Product Shoot.

To learn more about the tools and techniques used throughout this class, visit our Post-Production section.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Shiny curved metal is pretty much like glass where little imperfections quite often distort the light in unpredictable ways. It kind of “beats” me where the fine line should lie dividing the retouch from natural imperfection…because natural imperfection is what makes things look…natural. To be precise where that fine line which should divide the amount of retouch to be applied from what things tend to appear to the eye without any correction.

    1. Yes that’s always a tricky decision between real and too much retouching but with objects such as this it must be appreciated that many of the things that you can see in the photo that are ‘real’ are not actually ‘real’ they are ‘hyper-real’ and by that I mean that you wouldn’t necessarily see them with the naked eye because they were too small. It is only the process of enlarging the scale of the subject through photography that we can see them at all which is another reason why when we take a model and put her face at 5m high on a billboard then of course some level of retouching will be required because what we would be seeing wouldn’t really exist to the naked eye.

      1. It’s a rather complicated matter to go deep into, Karl. It obviously touches upon such a subject as both innate and developed sense of measure to be applied in terms of retouch for the final product to look more “alive” than artificial. You quite obviously did some research into the techniques of the Masters (meaning great painters of the past) who were dealing with the same dilemma all the way in terms of playing with light. The only difference is that they were using different “tools” for achieving their goals.
        But it is the same “thing” that catches our eye whether we look at an old painting or at an “artsy” photograph with some retouch applied.
        Thank you for being there to answer, Karl. Your sense of measure has undoubtedly been inspiring for many folks who are your subscribers and that’s the reason why I have subscribed too.

  2. Masausuki

    It was an amazing work on product photography! I wonder if I have to do the retouch work this much deep into every photos I take for product shooting. But I will definitely come back to this video in the future.
    Have you ever considered to add “Watch again” function or any history page of watched video on the site?

    1. Hi, the retouching level that you take it can either be to perfection so that you know the client can enlarge the image to several meters wide or if you know the image is only ever going to be 10cm then it is not necessary. We are currently working on a ‘bookmark’ feature so that our members can bookmark their favourite chapters and their position in watching them.

  3. I absolutely loved this course from the lighting of the watch to the final image!!!The thought process and execution throughout all three of these zenith watch sessions, has been of great knowledge value for me. I am amazed and inspired by the length detail you go through in producing such an amazing image. I can’t wait to attempt a project based on this courses teaching!!

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