A Jackpot for a Photographer: Charlie Sin Lands Weekly Gig with The Watch Standard

Nov 20, 2020
Photographer Spotlight

We all know how hit-and-miss a process it is to search for jobs online. A seemingly perfect opening could come up in your feed, only for you to apply and then realize that the position was either filled long ago or not at all what you thought it would entail.

On the other end of that spectrum lies Charlie Sin's recent foray into the world of online job hunting. The Los Angeles-based photographer landed what has turned into a weekly gig with The Watch Standard, a platform for buying and selling pre-owned luxury watches. He found this terrific job in a rather unlikely way: via Indeed.

I got this job in mid-June. My friend saw a job post on Indeed looking for a part-time/contract photographer and told me to apply for it. It was definitely worth taking a chance. Usually, job posts on Indeed are small companies or big companies looking for people to stay. As a freelance product photographer, landing this gig was a great win. 

Charlie Shin The Watch Standard Moon Landing

The test shoot happened at their office, which is located 20 minutes away from me. They wanted to see if I could do a simple e-commerce shot at first to see if I knew how to photograph the different types of watches. 

Charlie passed that test with flying colors and began a collaboration with The Watch Standard’s marketing department. The freelancer has gotten the chance to influence pretty much every step of the image creating process, from mood boarding to prop culling.

I work closely with the marketing team there. A week ahead of time, new watches come in and the marketing team brainstorms a mood board showing how they want to portray the watches for their web, social media, and promo. Then, after looking at the mood board, I plan how to photograph them and what kind of props we will need. 

Charlie Shin The Watch Standard Rosegold

I photograph them at their office location and most of the backgrounds are what I have from my freelance career and some are bought by the client. It is a really fast pace business so I take 15 mins per photo, summing up to five images per watch (90 minutes per watch).

Many of these watches come with a theme, like the one you’ll see below. As such, there’s a serious emphasis on the background of the image, not just the watch itself, which makes the non-shooting aspects of photography quite prevalent in Charlie’s work.

This watch is called AP Panda, because of the black dial inside the face look like a panda face. As it sounds, we wanted to do something more natural look with this watch where Panda inhabit.

Charlie Shin The Watch Standard Panda Watch

So, we bought a green moss sheet and a fake moss-covered branch to make it look like an "outdoor" scene. I also wanted to have a morning vibe with a low light sunlight feel coming from the back. I think it was well executed and I like the small concept story of it. 

Not a huge watch enthusiast before landing this work, Charlie has come to appreciate the culture of watch trading and collecting. He’s certainly taken advantage of the opportunity to dive into a new world, and this embrace of new knowledge has postively influenced his photographic approach.  

I am learning there is a whole community of watch collectors and enthusiasts who love watches. At first, I didn't know much about watches but only knew how to photograph them. However, working closely with the company, I am getting into and learning the inside of watch community and why they like the watches. 

Charlie Sin The Watch Standard Online Tear Rolex

Whether it’s a small gig or big job, at the end of the job you will come out better than you were before. Through experience, you will learn new insight for the next photoshoot. This is what I like as a freelancer. I get to experience different industries and learn their mindset and how things run. Even if it not related to photography, I like to learn so that way I can either have better communication/und with future clients or be more prepared. 

And though there’s sure to be new worlds to discover in the future, Charlie is happy with where things are at with The Watch Standard. This kind of solid, consistent work that shows up on the company’s website and social media pages speaks to Charlie’s abilities, yes, but also to the fact that he took a chance that many of us would pass up for one reason or another.

I’ve been working with them on a weekly basis for their web and social media. So far, it's been fun because I enjoy photographing luxury brands and it is working out for me.


Marketing Director: David Hong 
Creative Director: Grace Kim 

See more of Charlie's work at charliesin.com.

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