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Playing With Lighting & Remote Triggers In My Watch Photo Studio


This year I’ve been making some investments in my lighting equipment, and in some training in how to use the equipment.  Back in June I purchased a new Canon Speedlight 430EXII, as well as some accessory diffusers to use on it, and my Speedlight 580EX.  Last week I put in an order for some Pocket Wizard remote triggers, as well as some stands, brackets, and umbrellas.  This weekend I got all the stuff out, and tried to figure out how to use it!  I’ve also been watching some of the training segments on which have been extremely helpful – Joe McNally is positively amazing when it comes to lighting….less so when it comes to humor.  But hey, he tries…  🙂

Here’s a photo of one of my light stands (which I actually purchased a few years ago, but never really had a need for it) and one of the umbrellas I purchased, which I set up in my home theater room.    Using an umbrella bracket, and a “Justin” clamp, I can actually mount both of my flash guns to fire in the umbrella for a really powerful punch of light:

I spent a lot of time playing with the new equipment in my watch photo studio, trying different configurations and variations – testing to see what works and what doesn’t.  Here’s one of the configurations I tested which I found to be beneficial:

I mounted a “boom” arm to my light stand, and attached my 580EX flash gun so that it would fire directly down onto the top of my “light box”:

Here’s a close up of the flash gun – as you can see, I have it mounted to one of my new Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 remote triggers.  I also have one of my Opteka soft box diffusers placed over the flash head, in an attempt to more widely spread the dispersion of light:

Here’s the Pocket Wizard MiniTT1 transmitter mounted to the flash shoe of my Canon 7D, which is in turn mounted to my Manfrotto 3021BPRO tripod with 488RC2 head:

I also mounted a reflector dish at the front of the light box, in an attempt to bounce back some of the light coming from topside lights and flash gun, and bounce back to the watch stage – note that I have the black side of the reflector facing the black dial Rolex Submariner model 16610:

After a few attempts to dial in the correct amount of exposure, I did achieve some pleasing results – just click on this photo to see a larger version:

I really don’t think you could ask for a much more cleanly exposed photo.  The flash really did a nice job filling in behind the watch, and chasing away shadows around the crown and crown guards.  I’m super pleased by the results!  What do you think?

Let me add my voice to the chorus of cheers for the new Pocket Wizard remote triggers.  They’re awesome!  I unboxed them, upgraded their firmware to the latest version, started using them right away.  You can program the behavior of each individual unit for very complex, elaborate scenarios right from your PC.  But I was impressed at how “plug n’ play” they were right out of the box – they just worked, which was refreshing.

The above photo may seem “boring” but my next step will be to do an extraction in Photoshop CS5, and place that watch on some more interesting backgrounds.  More to come!

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. Great shot! I agree it came out really clean! I would suggest if you plan on doing more watches, you could suspend the watch on some fishing line (with two aligator clips to adjust) to get the Rolex Logo upright while still resting on your white acrylic. Also, a few postcard-sized swatches of grey, black, and white make for great reflections in very specific places on your bevel’s.

  2. Nice equipment an good pictures 🙂 you are trigger happy person hehe


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