watch photography

Watch Photography 101: How To Shoot Watch Photography

When you come across an insanely high-quality photo of the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Seamaster Diver, it’s hard to not be charmed. This kind of watch photography is the sharpest, the brightest, the best. All in all, they seem to be unmatched.

However, we’re here to tell you that you can produce high-quality photos that successfully sell your timepiece. There’s no need to leave it to the experts. 

Watch photography increases the likelihood that viewers will be interested in your watches. It gives an accurate picture of the condition of the watch as well as the style, colours, and other key features.

You deserve to show off your watch collection without having to spend a single penny. That’s why we’ve written up our top 10 tips for better watch photography to help you on your journey. With these tips, you’ll go from googling ‘how to shoot watch photography’ to selling watches left, right and centre. 

Let’s get started.

Get The Best Gear


Great news: when it comes to watch photography, spending money is simply not necessary. If you own a smartphone with a great camera– you’re all set! 

Having said that, some people prefer to use a camera to photograph their watches. If you’re one of these people, make sure you purchase a camera with a macro lens, as this is the best lens for watch photography.

It will allow you to perform sharp close-ups on your watch, capturing its many details. As well as a camera, it’s worthwhile to purchase a tripod as this will guarantee clear shots.

Tidy Your Timepiece

cleaning a watch

Once you’ve acquired all the necessities for watch photography, it’s time to get your watch gleaming.

To clean the watch face, all you need is a microfiber cloth and a cotton bud soaked in rubbing alcohol. Simply wipe the microfiber cloth over the face and use the cotton bud to access difficult areas.

In terms of the watch strap, the cleaning process will differ depending on the material. For a leather watch strap, use a wet sponge and some soap to gently clean it. If your watch has a metal bracelet, use a toothbrush with soap to wash between the links.

For more information on watch maintenance, check out our guide on How To Take Care Of Your Watch.

Set The Hands Of The Watch

watch photography

This tip is simple but incredibly important.

The rule of thumb for watch photography time is to set the hands to 10:10, with the hour hand at 10 o’clock and the minute hand at 10 minutes past. This ensures we can see the dial in all its glory.

Get The Best Lighting


Securing excellent lighting is watch photography 101.

If you choose to utilise natural sunlight, there are several benefits. It’s freely available and creates an authentic-looking photograph. 

However, it must be noted that natural lighting is unpredictable; it’s dependent on the time of day and the weather.

For the best natural lighting, we recommend setting up your shoot by a window on an overcast morning. This is when the lighting will be at its softest, avoiding overexposure.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to splash out a little, artificial lighting gives you great consistency.

You could use a simple lamp to cast warm lighting on your timepiece, or perhaps fluorescent lighting for a cooler image. Either way, with artificial lighting, you are in control of the brightness of the image.

Get Creative With The Background

watch photography

Whilst we would recommend a non-reflective surface for your watch, the aesthetics of the background is entirely your choice, so get creative with your watch photography ideas!

Why not choose props that are relevant to the watch itself? 

When it comes to pocket watch photography, you could incorporate retro ornaments into the background. As for feminine timepieces, dainty jewellery would be a lovely addition. 

Fix Your Eyes On The Watch


Despite the importance of an engaging background, the watch itself is clearly the focus of the photo, and we advise making that obvious.

Place the watch in the centre of the image and consult our lighting advice to ensure it’s well-lit. This will allow the timepiece to take centre-stage, with any props only adding to its inherent beauty.

Get Snap-Happy

watch photography

Another tip on how to take pictures of watches in the most efficient way: get snap-happy!

Seeing a photo of a watch is not the same as seeing it in person, so you need to do your watch justice by getting a great overall representation of its appearance. 

Not only will this better convey the feel of the watch, but it will also guarantee you have evidence of any damage for potential buyers.

Vary The Angles


The camera is the eyes of the potential buyer, so it needs to capture all angles of the watch.

Different people have different ideas of the best angles for watch photos, which is why it’s important to vary the angles and keep everyone happy.

What’s more, offering photos of different angles gives a better picture of the size of the timepiece.

Find Your Editing Style

editing photos

If you’ve photographed your watch skilfully, editing should be a quick and easy process. 

Beginner editors should use a simple app – such as Instagram – to alter their images. Instagram will allow you to change the brightness, sharpness, shadows, and more.

Showcase The Timepiece In All Its Glory

watch photography

Finally, after expertly shooting and editing, it’s time for the upload.

To master this, select only the best quality images from your collection, paying attention to the angles in each one.

You will want to upload diverse images, with each individual photo boasting a different side to the watch. Ultimately, you need to prove your watch is worth it.

Our Final Thoughts

watch outside

As you now know, watch photography is not necessarily an easy task. However, believe us when we say it’s certainly worth it to learn how to photograph watches.

If you decide to follow our top 10 tips for watch product photography, you’ll have a host of distinct professional photos in no time.

Perhaps some of you are desperate to get into watch photography, but need to find a watch to photograph in the first place! 

If that sounds like you, we’ve got you covered. Here on the Uniform Wares website, we sell a wide variety of Swiss-made timepieces that are longing to be captured on camera. Browse our watches for sale today.

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