How To Take the Perfect Wrist Shot

The rise of social media platforms like Instagram has inevitably led to the rise of photo techniques, like the selfie. In the watch community, we’ve developed our own “watch selfie” of sorts – the wrist shot. Maybe you like sharing pictures of your watch on such platforms or enjoy documenting your model throughout various life moments. Either way, mastering the wrist shot is key. The watch is a tricky object to photograph. All of its shiny surfaces can’t help but reflect light and cause glare. Though it might seem relatively simple, taking an Instagram-worthy wrist shot can actually be pretty challenging. If you’re looking for some guidance to improve your wrist shot game, we have you covered. Here, we’ve put together some tips and tricks on how to take a great wrist shot.


Getting the lighting to work in your favor is probably the number one hurdle of the wrist shot. As we briefly mentioned, watches don’t make this easy. From the dial to the bracelet, watches have many reflective surfaces that easily cause glare. First, you need to know what you’re looking for in terms of lighting – think all or nothing. Have the entire watch dial either in direct light or in shadow. Try to avoid half-and-half, leaving a line or seam across the image of the dial. When in doubt, opt for lighter and brighter. Obtaining this ideal position is usually as simple as rotating your wrist towards and away from you. Keep in mind, this rotation could be extremely minor. It’s all about that perfect angle between the watch and the light source.

The Wrist

Though the focus is on the watch, your wrist, arm, and hand are equally important players in a wrist shot. First, you should never cut off an image at the joints, be it your knuckles or elbow. Second, remember to put some energy into your hand – flex your fingers to give it some shape. At the same time, you want to avoid a large hand dominating the photo and taking away from the watch. Next, be aware of your wrist and arm position. Try to keep them straight as opposed to your wrist being turned at an unnatural-looking angle or bent downward.

Rule of Thirds

Any good artist or photographer is accustomed to the rule of thirds, and the same applies for the wrist shot. In case you’re not familiar, this guideline suggests that you could divide any image into thirds vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. The important elements of the composition should fall along these lines or their intersections. In short, each piece within a composed image should have its own space. When it comes to the wrist shot, this could be the relationship between the watch and background elements or the watch, arm, and wrist. The watch will often be the central focus of the image. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the watch will be in the center “third.” Get creative with your placement, but keep in mind the relationship between the watch and other parts of the image.

 Context Clues

The watch will typically be the star of the wrist shot. However, even with the most up-close-and-personal image of your timepiece, it’s important to provide some context. This may be as simple as including a bit of your arm and hand. Making sure you have a little shirt cuff in the image is a great place to start. Still, if you want to make your wrist shots more interesting, it’s nice to include more of the background and location where you’re taking the photo. This is the perfect example of when you may want to offset your watch from the center. It could help you showcase a monument in the background or even a look at the cool outfit and shoes you’re wearing from the waist down.

Diversifying Your Wrist Shots

We’ve given a few suggestions along the way to help you diversify your wrist shots from the traditional approach. Instead of putting your watch at the center, place it in one of the other thirds. In the same vein, give the watch some context. Share the rest of your ensemble or more about the cool place where you’re taking the photo. However, if you want to take your wrist shots up a notch, here are a couple other ideas. The first is taking a picture of the clasp side as opposed to the dial. You’d be surprised at what a cool photo you can capture with the clasp and the right background. The second is taking a wrist roll video. Yes, this is a step up from a still photograph. Instead, it’s an awesome way to share the entire watch in all its glory. Start filming with your wrist upside down at the clasp. Then, slowly rotate your wrist toward you until you reach the dial.

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Caitlyn is the founder of Grey Ghost, a New York City-based boutique content marketing agency with a passion for artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups. She believes in quality over quantity, creative thinking, and, above all, using language as powerful tool to build lasting connections.

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