Tutorial: How to Shoot a Studio Product Photo of a Gold Watch

Tutorials are available for photographers of all levels, but many of the tutorials you’ll find online have to do with grasping a basic technique or tackling an intermediate lighting scenario. The above tutorial falls much closer to the pro level.

Photographer Phillip McCordall — an award-winning still life photographer — put this tutorial together to show those interested in jewelry photography how to professionally photograph a highly reflective gold watch.

His final set up and the amount of time he puts into his work is awe-inspiring. Photographing a gold watch may not seem like a complicated task, but getting the lighting just right usually takes him an hour of positioning both black and white reflectors, tracing paper and, of course, his light source.

Here’s the final shot:


Every minute detail, down to the exact position of the watch hands (which he maintains is how you can tell a professional watch photographer from an amateur) is thought through. As he explains in a reply to one of his video’s commenters, that’s what makes a photo like this worth $6,000 to a client.

To see more of McCordall’s tutorials or browse through some of his award-winning work, head over to his YouTube channel or check out his website here.

(via Reddit)

  • Mike

    How to professionally photograph anything:
    -Work for money
    -Don’t be a noob

  • Michael Zhang

    We’ve tweaked the title a bit :D

  • beautox

    Eat yer heart out Ming.

  • Trint

    $6000 for a photo?

    What is he, the ONLY photographer within thousands of miles of the client’s location?

    That is just insane.

  • Tryitonblackglasssometimeguys

    Thanks Mr. McCordall. Thanks for reinforcing that it’s the attention to detail, taking your time, experimenting with lighting, reflectors and black strips. Hope you have many more tutorials to show us.

  • Learnfromapro

    Go to Mr. McCordall’s website-especially the food photography section. You’ll soon learn why you can charge a client $6k. If it were easy-anyone could do it, right?

  • Choen Lee

    I wish I get that much time to shoot time pieces. Clients are always so impatient to take their products back to the safety of their shop…

  • Gord

    Pfffft… All you need is an iPhone and an LED flashlight.

  • SR Strickson

    A wonderful insight into a craftsman at work.

  • Blaktson

    No, he charges this amount because the customer is stupid enough to believe there is nobody else who will do the same work for less.

    It is extremely naive of you to think there is no one else in the world who can do this type of photography.

    You can ship the watch two times around the world, get it photographed and sent back for less than “6000 dollars”.

  • Blaktson

    Also, after looking at Mr. McCordall’s website, why is everything about tutorials and lessons?

    For 6000 dollars a photo you would expect less info about lessons and selling camera gear.

    Oh wait, now I get it: If all the money is made selling camera stuff of course he can charge 6000 dollars, as long as there are enough saps to pay for it.

    Good for him!

  • Tim M

    Jeez, even this place has MORON COMMENTORS, Hey people if you don’t know anything about something, (example Professional Product Photography) why do you have to insist on making stupid comments about how much somebody else gets paid for it…why not just thank the guy that showed you how to do it.

    Also, Hes NOT KIDDING about the price…but you folks aren’t bright enough to figure out if Heineken is going to spend a Million Dollars on an Ad for Magazines and Billboards…you would shoot that for $50.00?….LOL suckers. get it? a reputation is what sells you as you in Photography. I’m sure none of you are going to have to worry about how to spend that kind of money, because nobody’s going to be calling you to shoot their stuff….but you sure will complain about the guy that gets the job.

  • Peter Foster

    That would be the advertising rate including usage fees for worldwide use.
    He is carefully lighting each object, not just sticking it in a light tent and taking a shot.