Wrist shots, the “selfies” of the modern watch enthusiast, are the perfect way to document your watch journey, whether for your social media or a personal photo album. With photo technology more available than ever, and powerful cameras and editing software built into our devices, it’s easier than ever to capture our wristwatches on the go. Taking full advantage of these modern technologies, here are our tips for improving your wrist shot game!
A Clean Watch
We’ve been there—You find the perfect background, snap a picture, and go about your day. Only to realize all too late, sifting through your photos at home, that your watch was covered in fingerprints. Our watches can be serious dust and fingerprint magnets.
If you plan on taking part in some watch photography, bring along a microfiber cloth or a soft fabric for any necessary dusting. If you’re empty handed, your t-shirt or a tissue should suffice. Take a few seconds to clean your case, dial, and steel bracelet as needed, before taking out your camera or phone.
Once you’ve found the ideal place to take your wrist shot, take a moment to observe your surroundings. What, besides your watch, do you want featured in the picture? Are there other items, people, or specific events to capture with it? How far do you want the perceived distance from your backdrop to be? You have full creative freedom in working with your setting, and having a specific intention will help in determining the angle and focus of your wrist shot.
We found some trees by our office, which we chose as our background. I wanted to get as close to the trees as possible, to give the effect of being in the woods. The Hamilton Khaki Field watches are perfect for outdoor adventures, and I wanted to contrast the slate blue dial with the bright green leaves.
It’s time to take your wrist shot! Here, you want to make sure that your lighting, angle, and focus are all spot on. In this digital age, there is no cost to taking extra photos, so give yourself lots of options. It can take several tries and plenty of patience to get the perfect shot.
Lighting: This part of the process will take some trial and error, since light will hit your watch differently depending on your location, time of day, or position from indoor lighting. Until you find the perfect position, light hitting your crystal can cause an intense glare, blocking your dial from being visible in the photo. And if there is not sufficient light, your photo can come out too dark, making your watch and background difficult to see altogether. It is always better, when possible, to find a natural light source rather than using the flash on your phone, as it will also reflect a glare off the crystal.
Some watches are easier to photograph than others, and for the purpose of this blog, we tested out the beautiful, but notoriously reflective Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic with an iPhone SE 2020 camera.
The strap we featured is our DASSARI Aviator Crocodile Embossed Leather Strap with Rivets in dark brown, available on our website in 20mm, 21mm, and 22mm sizes.
Angle: The next step is to test out some camera angles. There is freedom in your angle of choice, depending on if you are featuring other objects or your watch exclusively, and how much of your background you want visible.
Something to use as a guide, and by no means an explicit “rule”, is the rule of thirds in photography. Imagine your photo as a 3×3 grid, with vertical and horizontal intersecting lines making 9 boxes. When applying this principle, the 4 middle intersecting lines are the points of interest, where you would ideally place your subject.
Focus: Lastly, we want to make sure that our watch is in focus. Modern phones and cameras are great at capturing a focused subject and contrasting it with a blurred background, giving a beautiful depth of field effect. Test out your phone’s portrait mode, or a camera lens with a lower aperture to use this effect in your wrist shots.
After you’ve taken your wrist shots, you can add some spark to them through an editing software, many of which are free and already on your devices and social media platforms. Here are some quick features to play around with:
Auto Enhance: This is an intelligent feature that automatically enhances your photos. It’s perfect if you are on the go, or don’t feel like sifting through the manual editing features.
Exposure: Choose how much light exposure you would like in your photo. You can brighten and darken your wrist shot as needed.
Contrast: Add or reduce definition between colors and textures in your photo.
Saturation: Intensify the colors in your photo. Perfect for making your wrist shot “pop.”
Cropping: Improve the angle of your photo if needed, or modify your wrist shot for specific social media platforms. In many programs, you can also straighten your photo or change the perceived viewing angle.
Check out the final result here on Instagram. Even though the iPhone SE 2020 camera got a nice clear shot, editing added detail, color, and brought the wrist shot to life in a new way.
Quick Tip: There is no shame in asking for help taking a wrist shot. After all, that is what our friends, family, or significant others have signed up for, though most likely unintentionally. Having someone to hold the camera opens up the possibility of other creative angles, or to show more of your outfit in the shot. At the same time, it never hurts to have another set of eyes when taking pictures.
This being said, go out and take some wrist shots! After all, practice makes perfect, and the more photos you take, the better a watch photographer you will become.
If you have any wrist shot tips and tricks of your own, share them with us in the comments!