I’m primarily a jewelry photographer and although my clients often need what I consider to be boring shots on a white background, I am always happy when I can shoot something with a little more character. I frankly prefer shooting against dark backgrounds, so that was my choice for this shot. I also have a bit of a fetish for mirrored effects, so out came one of my reflective surfaces to set the watch on. This is a Rado men’s watch and it might be vintage, though I’m not totally certain. When photographing watches and other types of jewelry, reflections are something that need to be addressed. By that I mean unwanted reflections on the surface of the watch, not the watch sitting on a reflective mirrored surface! The watch itself can look good, but as you can see in the photo below, when it’s sitting smack in the center, it frankly looks a little boring.
To make it look more interesting and dynamic, I move it out of the center spot. This is where the “rule of thirds” comes into play. The rule of thirds is an important method for creating good composition and it’s been used by artists for centuries. Some people are born with an eye for good composition (i.e., artists!) but even if you weren’t, this simple rule of thirds will help you out. See this overlay below. I move the center of the watch face so it’s almost in the cross-hairs of the upper right section. If you have the focal point on one of those lines, your composition gets more interesting right off the bat. That’s why most landscapes look best when the horizon (where the sky meets the land or water) is on or near that upper or lower line instead of right in the middle.
Here’s the final photo without the grid overlay. You know it’s finished since I’ve added my signature! See what a difference that simple shift off center makes. It leads the eye in the photo, lending just the right amount of dynamism to the image.