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5 Min Portrait: Can we replicate Apple’s Watch Ad in camera in ONE shot?

When the Apple Watch was first announced they were promoting it on their website with the amazing teaser image below. As soon as I saw that I decided that I would order one and we would attempt to replicate their ad in camera as best as possible.

Sure it sounds like a great idea but is their ad even a photograph or is it a digital rendering? Whether their ad was a rendering or not I asked DigiRichie to come in to see if we could actually accomplish the challenge of replicating the Apple Watch ad in camera as much as possible.

Before we go any further I want to thank ProFoto and Tether Tools for supplying us with a lot of the gear needed for this photoshoot. You can purchase any of the gear we used by clicking here for ProFoto and here for Tether Tools.


Click Here for a PDF that lists all the gear we used on this shoot or scroll down to the bottom of the page for a shorter list.

Going into this shoot we had a general idea about how we would shoot it. We also had the opportunity to try and make it easier by photographing the Apple Watch Sport which is not Chrome and does not have as many reflective surfaces. It was my call to continue ahead with the chrome watch.

What I love about the process we went through to create the final image, is all of the knowledge that digitrichie unleashed on us. Seeing how he strung the watch up all the way to how by using a white or black card your image changes. There are so many nuggets of information surrounding studio flash photography in this video that I think many of you will want to try it yourself.

This photo shoot was not without issue. Right off the bat we saw that we were in for a challenge. It turned out that most ways that we turned we ran into another issue after another. But the great thing is, we found a solution for almost every issue we ran into. The bad news is that one of those solutions was that it wasn’t going to be possible for us to replicate Apple Ad all in the camera.

I will tell you we almost got to the point where we called the entire shoot off even after filming for six hours. But after we took a break we realized that even if we were not able to replicate the ad we still created a video that was both fun and informative. I know I learned a lot from watching DigitRichie and Sam Green work to try and make a successful photo.

It’s a great look into how a full on product shot would be conducted in the studio. To take a few steps even further, I asked my friend Nathaniel from Tutvid to take one of the RAW files and retouch it to see if he could come close to matching Apples Ad. (You can download that DNG RAW file right here)

Nathaniel creates fantastic tutorials showcasing how he does retouching in Photoshop. I asked him if he could record the process he went through in his attempt to make our file look as much like the ad as possible.

This was an eye opening photo shoot that was both frustrating and rewarding. It was frustrating as we were not able to replicate the ad simply in camera. It was rewarding because we ended up with a great educational video that gives a look at a full on production shoot. The tools we used as well as tips and tricks to get more light where you want it or block it out.

Thanks again to ProFoto and Tether Tools for lending us the gear for the shoot.

Below is an abridged list of gear we used on this photo shoot. For the Click Here to access a PDF.

Nikon D810
Nikon 105 F2.8 Macro VR
Apple 27 inch Imac
Tenba 27 inch air case
Profoto D1 Air 1000 Monobloc
Tether Tools 15′ USB 3 Right Angle
Tether Tools 15′ USB 3 Active Extension
Tether Tools USB 3 TetherBoost Core
X-Rite ColorMunki Display
X-Rite ColorChecker Passport