Turning a Passion into a Career

With so many forms of photography out there it's an appealing hobby, especially if you're looking for something creative. I started my journey into photography when I was a teenager and since then it has become my livelihood! Most photographers start out with a passion to capture a moment in time or create something visually stunning that captures emotion.

From portraits to sports, or nature to architecture, there is always that one thing that sparks a photographer's love for the art and in a lot of cases turns that hobby into their occupation. However, I fell into the watch industry with little to no knowledge about the world I was entering, and here I am three years later finding myself more and more obsessed with watches!

Behind the scenes; photo shoot at John Gordon's Whisky Bar, Cheltenham - Image Credit Geckota

Within this Photographer’s Notebook I will be discussing photography tips when shooting watches alongside any exciting behind the scenes shots here at Geckota.

There are so many aspects of photography which I could delve into, but I'll kick start it off by talking a little about the equipment I and the photography team use at work...

Geckota E-01 Gen 2 - Image Credit Geckota - Camera: Canon EOS 700D, Lens: Sigma 105mm, ISO: 100, Aperture: f/2.8, 1/125 sec.

Camera

One of the most common questions I get asked is about what camera gear I use. A lot of people think that if you own an expensive camera then you’ll automatically be able to take amazing shots like all the pro’s, but unfortunately it doesn’t really work that way. Not only do you need to understand the camera and its settings, but you additionally need to be creative with your set ups and have an eye for what compositions work well to achieve the image you originally had in mind. This includes, framing, depth of field, lighting, and other factors which we'll be sure to discuss more in depth in future articles.

Setups can take a bit of patience to get right, that's why most of my time in the studio is spent moving around lights and props to create the image I want. An expensive kit definitely helps for the quality of image, but I use an entry-level Canon EOS 700D at work which I have grown to love! When out on shoots the photography team will also use the Fuji Film X-T2 where having a smaller, lightweight camera is great for shooting on the go.

Image Credit Geckota - Camera: Canon EOS 700D, Lens: Sigma Art Prime 50mm, ISO: 400, Aperture: f/1.8, 1/80 sec.

Outside of work I use a Canon 7D MKII for my personal photography which is personally my all time favourite camera! However, whenever I  compare images between the 7D and 700D, for the purpose of what the images are used for (most commonly for social media) then the differences are extremely minimal. I have even seen many people on Instagram take photos with their iPhones and still create an amazing image, because they have the eye and passion for photography.

The Geckota C-03 - Image Credit Geckota - Camera: Canon EOS 700D, Lens: Sigma Art Prime 50mm, ISO: 100, Aperture: f/5.6

We have 2 Canon EOS 700D's in the studio which have rotating LCD screens and are touch sensitive. This makes it easy to frame images where I can set up as I go along, looking back and forth from the display to adjust the set up bit by bit.

Image Credit Geckota

Lenses

Lenses are a crucial part of any type of photography, so it’s worth investing more in a lens than it is camera body. Here at Geckota I mainly switch between two lenses, the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 and the Sigma 50mm Art Prime f/1.4.

The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 is great for watch photography. As it’s a macro lens it’s built to capture extremely close up shots making it perfect for shooting watch details. It's also a great lens to have in any kit where I frequently use it for event photography and people photography too, not just macro images. I have always been impressed with Sigma lenses, especially for the price, and this lens is one that has always been a valuable part of my kit as it's versatility is endless.

The Geckota E-01 - Image Credit Geckota - Camera: Canon EOS 700D, Lens: Sigma 105mm EX DG OS HSM, ISO: 100, Aperture: f/5.6

The 50mm Art Prime brings a bit more diversity to my kit allowing me to shoot with a wider aperture (f/1.4) to get shallow depth of field, but also works well for any kind of photo-shoot, whether you’re photographing watches or weddings!

After researching different 50mm lenses I had been told by many that this lens is incredible for the price, and they definitely weren't wrong about that. Again, this 50mm is one of those lenses that I can't go anywhere without. Whether I'm photographing an event, architecture, or watches, this is a go to lens for me.

The Geckota G-02 - Image Credit Geckota - Camera: Canon EOS 700D, Lens: Sigma Art Prime 50mm, ISO: 100, Aperture: f/4.8

Tripod

I always use a Manfrotto Tripod for any images taken in the studio to prevent as much shake as possible and get sharper images. I prefer to use the built in timer on the camera when taking photos to further reduce the risk of shake.

There have been many times where I have gone out for a photo-shoot and thought to myself that I wouldn’t need to bring a tripod, only to arrive at the scene wishing that I had. It’s a part of my kit that is practically glued to my hip, and I recommend that any aspiring photographer should use one! Having a tripod allows you to be prepared for any situation, especially if you're photographing in low light or chaotic weather conditions.

Image Credit Geckota

I hope this short insight has been a helpful glance into the equipment we use here at Geckota! With the amount of subjects to talk about within photography there will be plenty of upcoming articles that will explore lighting, composition, and everything else in the world of watch photography, so stay tuned for future posts within the Photographer's notebook...