Shopify’s former director of design and user experience Verne Ho has launched an online platform dedicated solely to helping creators improve their watch photography skills through tutorials, resources, tools, and photo critiques.
Finding the Link Between Watches and Photography
Ho is a designer, photographer, and a former director of design and user experience at Shopify. Shopify acquired Ho’s design studio, Jet Cooper, in 2009, and after a “fulfilling run,” he left his role at the end of 2020 to pursue his next career and business initiative.
Watch Studies is the fruit of that endeavor and is an online photography studio designed to help equip independent watch brands and visual creators with the skills and tools they need to create better timepiece photos. Ho has many tutorials on photography for professionals and enthusiasts in the lucrative watches industry.
Ho’s experience and interest in photography was mostly in street and architectural work but with the pandemic in full swing in 2020, he stopped wandering the streets and turned his lens in another direction.
“I naturally gravitated toward another love of mine: watch collecting,” Ho tells PetaPixel. “Having just acquired a new piece to commemorate the birth of my daughter, I found myself wanting to tell visual stories about the meaning of that watch and others in my collection.”
It wasn’t until Ho started Watch Studies, that he discovered the connection between storytelling and photography. Watches are full of stories, Ho believes. They could be sentimental, personal, historical, or cultural.
With photography being a powerful tool to capture and share these stories and it providing a strong foundation for the new project, this was an ideal match.
In the short time since launching the project, Watch Studies has amassed thousands of followers on its Instagram where Ho shares brief insights into the world of watch photography, mixing practical shooting advice and simple appreciation for the different timepieces he has captured.
But it’s only on the Watch Studies’ website where photographers can find behind-the-scenes shoot plans and setups with brands Ho has worked with along with various downloadable resources. Those who subscribe to the highest tier of membership also gain one-to-one access to Ho for photo critiques and creative advice video calls.
“My work is based on the richness of my experiences as both a designer and creative director at Shopify, and elsewhere. It focuses on helping watch collectors discover their natural passion for storytelling and to help them pursue a career in creative entrepreneurship,” Ho said.
“Stripping away the nuance and focus on the watch industry, Watch Studies is actually about empowering a new wave of digital creators that have grown out of a ‘niche’ market.”
All Watch Studies content can be found on the platform’s website.
Image credits: Photos by Verne Ho.