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Sunglasses and Watch

Depending on the product, your photography you may want to enhance or reduce reflections. Glasses are a great subject to photograph, for example, especially against a solid white background. The frames and lenses are both reflective but usually in different ways because of their materials. You also need to make sure that there is something that the lenses of the glasses can reflect to give them shape. A wristwatch is slightly trickier to photograph because you need to watch the angle of the watch face in relationship to the light so that you reduce the reflection on the glass. I put these two products together in the same section because the lighting is really similar, and both can be shot with just one Speedlight.


You can take this type of shot using a single Speedlight in a softbox and a couple of bounce cards. The only real differences are the subject and the angle of the light.

  • Sunglasses and watch: Both subjects have reflective glass surfaces that need to be cleaned to remove dust, dirt, and especially any fingerprints.
  • Wire: I used a small piece of wire to keep the watch strap in a loop. Buckle the strap and then place the wire inside and bend it to the right shape to position the watch exactly where you need it.
  • Speedlight: The image is lit by a single Speedlight in a softbox. I used an SB-800, but you can use any Speedlight that can act as a remote.
  • Softbox: The Speedlight needs to be diffused so that there are no bright spots to reflect off the glass. I used the 26-inch Westcott Rapid Box Octa because it is the perfect size for this. It is small enough to be easily managed but large enough to produce a pleasing soft light.
  • Boom or century stand: The light needs to be placed above the product and aimed down. A boom or a century stand can hold the softbox in position and can easily be adjusted as you tweak the position of the light.
  • Commander unit: You will need a way to trigger the light from the camera. I used the SU-800, but you can use another Speedlight or the built-in flash to trigger the flash. You can also use a TTL cord because the distance between the camera and the flash is short enough.
  • Camera and lens: For this photo, I used the Nikon D750 and a 105mm macro lens, allowing me to fill the frame with the product. For the watch, I moved the camera in much closer than for the sunglasses.
  • White paper: I used a single large sheet of white paper as the backdrop.

Taking the Photo

The key to these photos is the surface that the product is placed on. Using a large piece of white paper, you can create a seamless white backdrop for the glasses to sit on. You can see the glasses sitting on my version of the background in Figure 19.6.

Figure 19.6

Figure 19.6 Sit the pair of glasses right on the seamless background.

For the sunglasses shot, the main light was an SB-910 in a softbox placed facing down over the work table and slightly toward the back. The SB-910 was set to Remote mode, channel 1, and group A. I triggered it from the camera using the SU-800, but you can trigger yours with any Speedlight or built-in flash that can be used in Commander mode. You can also use a TTL cord because the distance from the camera to flash is short enough.

Two more light sources finish the photo: a couple of bounce cards to open up the shadows on the side. Place these on either side of the glasses (Figure 19.7). For the final image (Figure 19.8), I set the Speedlight at 1/4 power and triggered it from the SU-800.

Figure 19.7

Figure 19.7 Here the bounce cards are placed to add the highlights to the side of the glasses. You can adjust the cards to taste.

Figure 19.8

Figure 19.8 The final image of the sunglasses needed only a single light and a couple of bounce cards.

NIKON D750 ISO 400 1/200 SEC. F/20

For the wristwatch photo, I replaced the sunglasses with the watch and moved the camera in closer. I used a few small pieces of wire to hold the watchstrap in a circle and then positioned the watch facing the camera.

Once the watch was in position, I moved the camera closer to fill the frame with the watch face and angled the overhead light until it looked right (Figure 19.9). I then added the bounce cards into place (Figure 19.10) to create the final image (Figure 19.11). Once again, I triggered the Speedlight from the camera using the SU-800 in Manual mode at 1/4 power, the same as for the sunglasses.

Figure 19.9

Figure 19.9 Without the bounce cards in place, you can see that the bottom and the bottom edges of the watch are still a little dark. The bounce cards fix that.

NIKON D750 ISO 400 1/200 SEC. F/20

Figure 19.10

Figure 19.10 This behind-the-scenes shot shows the setup for the wristwatch image with the watch and the bounce cards in place.

Figure 19.11

Figure 19.11 The final watch image shows the face of the watch in great detail.

NIKON D750 ISO 400 1/200 SEC. F/20

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