This is the first of many interviews I hope to arrange with people who are highly regarded / influential in the online watch enthusiasts community. First up, we have the guys behind WristRockers – an Instagram account that quite simply, produces the best watch images I’ve ever seen. I’ve had a few conversations with them before, and I couldn’t wait to share some of their thoughts and background with you guys. If you’ve not heard of them, or don’t follow them yet – then get right on it; you won’t be disappointed! https://www.instagram.com/wristrockers/
Please introduce yourself!
WristRockers is a team of two. Alex and I, Lars. In our day job Alex works in automotive production and I work in cyber security software. We have also been working as photographers for many years.
How long have WristRockers been going, and what made you start it?
It was a late winter night early 2017 at a bar in Heidelberg when Alex asked me why I posted some nice watch photos on my private Instagram account, but didn’t create a dedicated account for watches. All it took was only one more beer and the decision was made: Let ́s start a watch-thing together on Instagram.
At that time Alex was already photographer of a very successful fashion blog and Instagram was his second home. I had experience in content marketing and together we had a love for photography and watches.
WristRockers was born.
What does your setup look like?
Oh, that’s very different. Sometimes it’s a big studio setup with various flashes and light formers, sometimes it’s the living room table and a system flash on the camera that bounces against the wall. Sometimes it’s just outside in daylight. We use a Canon 5D mark IV and a Pentax 645Z, each with macro lenses. If you want to see an example of a studio setup, you find a saved IG Story on our IG page here.
I never see the same picture / framing twice. How do you come up with ideas?
Creativity is of course an important part of our work. We look for inspiration in materials, textures and so on. We always make sure that the materials and probs match the watch type and design. We also store many images from other Instagram channels as favourites if we like the image ideas. Sometimes we also receive a Moodboard from the watch brands in which elements of the pictures are given. If you take a closer look at our feed, you will of course find some recurring picture ideas here and there 😉
Once you know what you’re doing, how long does it take to get setup and get the shot?
That’s also very different. When the image idea is there and the required components are there, it usually takes between 5 and 30 minutes until an image is done. Here we pay a lot of attention to the details: Watch positioning, hand position, reflections, cleanliness, etc. For example white brighteners and black shaders help us.
How much post-editing do you tend to do?
This is getting nerdy. Post-production is not to be underestimated and 30 to 120 minutes can easily be invested in a picture. We process each image so that it can also be used in full size for printing. Every grain of dust and every imperfection is removed – colors, contrasts and the image look are refined and everything is sharpened according to the output.
How much of your time do you dedicate to WristRockers? Is it more than just a hobby?
Definitely, it’s more than a hobby. For many watch brands we produce images that they then use for their own campaigns and channels. These are classic commissioned works. The fact that our own channel also has a certain size is an additional added value that we contribute here. But we bring joy and enthusiasm to the job, just like many other people do with their hobbies.
Any top tips you’d like to share for those of us trying to improve our watch photography skills?
Take your time. 5 minutes invested in building up the setup and cleaning the watch can make a big difference and save a lot of time in post-processing. Materials with textures (such as fabrics, …) give the image a sharper look and micro contrasts. Light reflections at the edge of the watch crystal can make the whole picture a little more vivid. In post-processing it sometimes makes a big difference if you desaturate the steel of a silver watch additionally…
Finally, what’s THE ONE watch that has impressed you most, your all-time favourite? The one that just won’t escape your mind?
Oh… that’s tricky. But I just can’t get the Rolex Explorer II in white (Polar) out of my head, since I had it on my arm, and I know that Alex is very keen on the Zenith Pilot Type 20 in bronze 😀
But there are also several smaller brands with very high quality watches, which I would call grail watches. For example Mauron Musy or Akrivia pieces.
I’m sure you’ll like to join me in thanking Lars for sharing his story, and also some tips we all can learn from. Check out some of their images below – they’re simply fantastic. And don’t forget to follow them!