Case Study: Retail Store Architectural Photography for Tudor Watches

Written by Robert Lowdon

Robert Lowdon is an internationally published commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. He spends his time photographing architecture and industrial projects for the most part.

Published November 29, 2020

Commercial architectural retail store photography of a watch store.

The following is a case study about a retail store architectural photography project we completed for Tudor, a Swiss-made watch company. Our client was looking for photography of the brand new Tudor store at Raffi Jewellers in Yorkdale Mall, Toronto. The Tudor marketing team wanted to curate the images that were to be used for the retailers website, google listings, and various marketing initiatives.

Our Client:

Who is Tudor?

Tudor is a Swiss-made watch company, established in 1926 by Hans Wilsdorf, who also founded Rolex. Tudor is a sister company to Rolex and are currently still owned and operated under the same company. The purpose of the Tudor brand was to offer the same quality and standards as a Rolex but at a more affordable and attainable price. Through Rolex, Hans had the knowledge of what merchandise sold best and was able to develop a product for consumers that served a different market.

With almost 100 years of history and craftsmanship, they are recognized for creating different types of stylish and reliable timepieces. Today they focus on selling their watches to modern shoppers through retails stores throughout the World.

What Makes Tudor Different?

Tudor originally started crafting watches for the military and professional deep sea divers. Hans Wilsdorf was on the ground floor for innovation in the development of watches for deep sea diving and was committed to evolving the mechanics and the designs for over 45 years. Now the timepieces are legendary and Tudor is a leading global retailer, along with Rolex in the watch industry.

They are known for durable, accurate, and reliable timepieces, which is imperative for deep sea divers who rely on safe equipment. Tudor takes pride in making sure that each of their designs is an investment that can stand the test of time and be enjoyed for years to come.

Objective:

The Importance of Retail Architectural Photography for Tudor

Character and aesthetics of a retail space are just as important in conveying the brand message as photography of individual products. It helps tell a cohesive story through providing viewers with a sense of the atmosphere at the store, which can help to create an emotional connection with customers. Creating an emotional connection with customers helps develop brand loyalty resulting in repeat business.

Retail architectural photography allows Tudor to show off their store’s unique design and layout, which reinforces the brand’s message of quality and reliability. Our objective was to capture the visual representation of Tudor’s exclusive heritage, modern design, and Swiss-crafted quality through high-quality images of their store that matches their aesthetic.

Related: Good Architectural Photography, What Makes a Great Photograph

Special design elements, feature display wall, textures and vibrant colours.
Special design elements, feature display wall, textures and vibrant colours.

The Process:

Creativity & Highlighting Design Features

With vibrant bursts of color, elegant displays, and sleek décor, our aim was to showcase a luminous and captivating space, true to the designer’s vision. The creation and development of any retail store involves the collaborative effort of numerous individuals, and as a result, represent significant investments for the company. In addition to marketing, the visual assets serve as a way to preserve the memory and final execution of all of the design elements.

These luxury retail stores can be technically difficult environments to photograph, so it takes some creative vision to achieve the best results. Focusing on highlighting specialty design features in the store layout is always a priority, as we want to show all of the hard work and fine details that went into the planning and design of the store.

Related: Case Study for Diptyque, retail store photography

Lighting a Retail Store

Jewelry stores typically have many reflections that can be challenging to navigate while photographing the space. When shooting, it is important to be mindful of reflections and the various surfaces they come from. These reflections could come from a mirror, a display case, or a window and can absolutely ruin an otherwise great shot.

For this shoot we are lighting the retail store with several strobes (flash units) to even out lighting. We also prefer the way providing our own lighting produces crisp details. Lighting ensures accurate colour rendition, provided we are balancing the colours of the store lights with our own. We also use large umbrellas to diffuse the lights, resulting in a flattering soft light. Positioning the lights at certain angles allows us to use directional lighting that gives contrast.

Related: Case Study for Dyson, retail display photography

Stacking Images

When shooting, we will often stack several shots, moving the lighting to highlight the specific areas as needed. As important as lighting is, controlling unwanted lighting and reflections is just as important. Mall retail stores are notorious for reflections, so it’s important for us to use flags and black fabric to block lighting and reflections from neighbouring businesses. It is not uncommon to have numerous near by stores signs reflecting on displays, mirrors, product, and any other surface that is remotely reflective. The last thing any client wants is their competitor’s logo to show up in their photos.

When photographing retail stores, we have the expertise to utilize tools typically reserved for a photo studio, remotely on site to provide optimal lighting conditions.

Lenses

We use architectural lenses for retail store photography. High end lenses are an imperative tool to ensure the images translate accurately and provide sharp detail to the store. We shoot using various wide angle lenses, allowing us to capture the entire retail store in one shot. This works well for the overall visuals, while using macro lenses for closer up details.

Overview of the interior space and design elements of tudor retail store
Overview of the interior space and design elements of tudor retail store

Usage

These retail store images will be used in print, on retailer websites and for various other marketing purposes. The client also wants a uniform look to all of the photos displayed on all of their retailers Google Listings. The architectural photography we produced will also be used as a branding resource for future stores opening across Canada.

Conclusion

Retail architectural photography can help strengthen Tudor’s brand message by showcasing their store layout and design in a creative way that represents their heritage, modern design, and Swiss-crafted quality. Our team is highly experienced in capturing these unique spaces with the lighting, lenses, and techniques needed to produce a set of images that will elevate Tudor’s presence and make an impression on customers.

We are confident that our photos will help Tudor gain market share by engaging customers and telling their story in a visually interesting way.

We hope that this case study has provided you with some insights into our approach to photography and how we work with our clients to achieve their goals. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more about our retail photography in Toronto and across Canada, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and see how we can help achieve your goals!

Display case with tudor branding and logo.
Display case with tudor branding and logo.

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