While on Reddit I found some pictures of a unique Romain Jerome watch that really stood out. I hoped the photographer, Darel Parker, would share his work, details on the watch and a few tips on luxury watch photography. He agreed, so check out the pics and interview below:
-Give our readers a brief history of you and your work
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a camera in my hand. Even in grade school I carried a Kodak 110 and by high school I was shooting a nice Minolta SLR that had belonged to my father. I used that camera all the way into my twenties. My professional career went in a completely different direction, so it wasn’t until the last couple of years that I started doing professional photo work. I’ve gotten a steady stream of work for several years now, just by word of mouth.
-We love your photography of luxury watches, are you a fan of horology and what brings you to photograph them?
I’ve always had an admiration for luxury watches but aside from their beauty and design I didn’t know much about them. Several years ago, I was contacted by a client who owns a very exclusive watch shop in Texas, the sort of place where customers have to be “buzzed in” through locked doors. Every time I’d visit his shop, we’d end up talking at length about the history of horology and famous watchmakers like Breguet who created timepieces for nobility in the eighteenth century. I started learning about escapements and complications, and all of the technical skill and artistic talent that it takes to create these masterpieces. It really is fascinating to see what goes into the “average” Blancpain or Ulysse Nardin. Even their least expensive watches are technological works of art. It’s hard not to get hooked.
-Can you share any techniques when photographing watches for an amateur photographer such as myself?
The first thing I learned about shooting watches was to constantly experiment with the lighting until you get precisely the results you want. Above all other factors, good lighting is the key to producing good photos. When I’m shooting multiple watches in a collection, I’ll set up a makeshift rig to keep the watch placement consistent. Typically, I’ll use a combination of off-the-shelf metal storage bins and long twist ties to keep a watch in place. There’s a lot of improvisation and experimentation that goes into a photo shoot, and it’s a constant learning experience. One of the best resources I’ve found is Alex Koloskov’s blog. Alex is a product photography master who generously shares his techniques, and I highly recommend studying his work.
One thing that often goes unrecognized is the tremendous amount of time and effort that goes into shooting a high-end product. When I photograph watches, my goal is to make the quality of my work indistinguishable from the photos that might be published by any luxury manufacturer. My clients have lofty expectations for the images I produce for them, and they’re depending on those photos to accurately represent their products and to establish them as a premium brand. For example, one of my clients, Fabrizio Diamanti, is a tiny little boutique brand that produces some very elegant diamond watches, but, because they’re so small they don’t have a massive marketing budget like Rolex or Blancpain. Their product images are especially important to their marketing strategy, so I spent an entire day shooting only eleven watches, and then another full day editing just to be sure that the finished images looked exactly like something you would find in a luxury catalog. I am 100% committed to my clients, so 100% effort is required for every shoot.
Of course I spend a lot of time looking at watch photos in magazines and on the internet, trying to figure out how the photographer achieved a certain look. Sometimes it’s hard to determine exactly what it is about a photo that catches your eye, but once you begin to develop that understanding, it becomes easier to incorporate those eye-catching qualities into the images you create.
-Your photos of Romain Jerome Titanic DNA watch really caught our eye, can you share it’s story?
That particular Romain Jerome is a one-of-a-kind Titanic DNA Rusted steel T-OXY III Red Gold with a diamond case. It was limited to a production run of only one single unit, which was delivered to my client last Autumn. I’m not sure if he commissioned the piece or if it was offered to him by RJ because he’s an established specialty dealer, but as a one-of-a-kind item it’s an impressive timepiece. Just before the holiday season, my client asked me to produce some high-quality shots that he could distribute to potential buyers. I had only a limited amount of time to shoot this watch so I wasn’t able to do anything really creative and abstract. Nevertheless, I think the images turned out well, and the client was very happy with the results. The watch was sold by Christmas.
-Thanks for your time Darel, when you have any new shots of luxury watches, please feel free to share them with us!
Take a look at the gallery of this one-of-a-kind version of the Romain Jerome Titanic DNA watch below.
And for more of Darel’s work or to book a photo session, please visit DarelParkerPhoto.com.