Product photography of a high-quality is absolutely necessary for an online clothing store. For many of your potential customers, a great product description is not enough; the images you provide will be the deciding factor in whether or not they make a purchase.
However, inexpensive can be synonymous with "basic." The talent, the equipment, and the experience gained over time are what separate professionals from amateurs.
Follow these steps to benefit from our experience and create beautiful images of apparel products if you have an eye for photography and a modest budget.
Decide on How You Want to Display Your Products
Before you do anything else, you need to make a decision regarding the presentation of the various articles of clothing that you sell through your online store. The following are the three most common approaches that retailers take when photographing clothing:
Use an Invisible Mannequin
When it comes to the photography of products, presenting a product in a form that is closer to its natural state, such as on a mannequin, can be of great benefit to the buyers of those products.
Customers who shop for clothes online are more likely to complete a transaction if they are able to imagine themselves wearing the item in question.
You won't have to go through the hassle of locating a model for each of your photoshoots if you use a dummy to give your products a human form. You can give each photo an air of professionalism by removing the background after they have been taken.
- It's best to steer clear of amputated arms unless you're going for a strapless look. Whether or not you remove the background from the image, the process of giving a dangling, empty sleeve a natural form in Photoshop will require a lot of time and skill on your part.
Make certain that the mannequin you are using is facing front-on at all times. In order to avoid having all of the forms appear the same when they are all displayed together, brick-and-mortar store forms are frequently designed to stand in a variety of poses.
If you remove the background from a photograph and the mannequin still has one hand on its waist or one hip sticking out, the result will be very strange looking.
Hire a Model
If you have the money available, you should hire a model. Models are able to strike any pose or work with any angle in order to create an image that looks good and showcases your garment.
This will assist you in creating the ideal in-context shot of your product, which you can then use on your online storefront as well as on social media... Consider platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
- You should try out a variety of poses, but be careful not to hide too much of the product you're selling. The purchaser wants to be able to make out the specifics of what they're purchasing.
Models also lend your product some personality and contribute more to the development of a brand. For instance, a large number of online retailers select models whom they believe best represent their "target customer." The models, the clothes, and the atmosphere at Zara and Arnhem couldn't be more different from one another if you tried.
Flat Lay Photography
The flat-lay photography technique is both the simplest and one of the most cost-efficient ways to photograph your various articles of clothing. Photography using a flat lay works very well for displaying shirts, and we have also seen it work for displaying men's pants and socks.
If you need an outstanding visual to share on social media, using a flat lay isn't generally recommended as a method for displaying products on your eCommerce store's website. When it comes to product images, it is of significantly more value to your customers to display them in a form that is closer to their natural state.
- To take a great flat lay, you'll need a large piece of white paper or a white sheet to lay on the ground.
- Make sure your products are looking their best — iron your clothes and make confident collars are in place and buttons are done up. You can give your products an extraordinarily smooth and flat shape with a piece of cardboard.
Keep in mind that your customers are unable to try on your products and are frequently hesitant to make purchases because they are unable to imagine how the products will look on them.
The reason for this trend in photography is that "knolling" is currently all the rage on social media platforms, and it would be unwise to ignore social media platforms as a potential source of traffic for eCommerce websites.
In the event that you are unfamiliar with the term, "knolling" refers to the process of arranging objects in a grid.
Users of social media platforms, primarily Instagrammers and Pinterest users with a focus on fashion and lifestyle, create these arrangements of products to fit a specific theme and look fabulous at the same time. Instagrammers and Pinterest users with a fashion and lifestyle focus are the most common users. Make your own unique, high-quality flat lay compositions, and then sit back and watch as you gain followers, repins, and likes.
At least one of your products should be used, and you should select accessories or household items that go well with the product.
The goal is to drive traffic to your eCommerce store indirectly by first driving traffic to your social media platform. This means that not all of the products sold in your store need to be your own.
It is essential to take into consideration the connections that exist between your various products. In order to avoid overwhelming the viewer, a photograph's subject matter, event, or colour should all have something in common.
Prepare Your Clothing Photography Equipment
You don't have to go into debt or spend a lot of money to get the equipment you require. The cost of digital cameras is continuing to drop, while the imaging capabilities of smartphones are continually improving.
The following is a list of photographic accessories that you will require:
If you have the right camera, you can take pictures that look much more professional than those you would take with an amateur camera.
When compared to traditional DSLR cameras, mirrorless is by far the superior type of camera to use for photographing clothing due to their more recent technological advancements, ability to connect to studio lighting, and physically lighter weight. However, you shouldn't let yourself be persuaded to purchase a mirrorless camera if you don't absolutely need one.
You can accomplish the same things with your smartphone.
Lighting is absolutely necessary when photographing clothing. It is imperative to acquire lights that are compatible with your camera because prospective customers want to be able to see all of the item's details.
To begin, choose a light kit that has three lights in it so that a lighting arrangement with three points can be created (one key light, one fill light, and a back or hair light).
If you want to take photographs with your smartphone, you should buy a continuous light kit because there will be no need to synchronise the light with the shutter of the camera. This will allow you to take better pictures.
It is also possible to use this kind of lighting kit with a mirrorless camera, but in order to get the best results, you should use a traditional studio lighting setup in conjunction with a wireless trigger.
Studio Backdrop Kit
Along with the lighting, the backdrop is one of the most important pieces of equipment that is required to produce photographs that have a clear appearance. You should look for a photography backdrop that is plain white and comes with a stand.
It is recommended that the kit be approximately 10 by 20 feet in size because this will enable you to photograph a mannequin at full length for any longer dresses or garments that you may sell in the future.
Studio (wireless) Lighting Trigger
When we were talking earlier about mirrorless cameras, we mentioned that you would require a studio lighting trigger.
This third-party accessory will communicate with the camera and the studio lighting kit to make sure that they both 'go off' or 'fire' at the exact same time when the photo is taken.
When you buy one of these, before you do anything else, check to see if the brand you are purchasing is compatible with the brand of camera you intend to use.
In order to prevent unsightly camera shake, which can be caused by holding your camera in your hand, it is essential for studio photography to make use of a reliable tripod.
You should look for a tripod that extends to a height that is roughly equivalent to your eye level, and you should look for one that also has a spirit level, as this will come in handy when you are setting the legs of the tripod up.
Mannequin or Model
The use of mannequins can bring additional benefits to the overall style while also helping to keep costs down. As was previously mentioned, it is imperative that you acquire a dummy that does not have its arms or legs amputated. Although hiring a model may come at a high cost, there are times when the additional advantages of a shoot outweigh the expenses.
If the garment were being displayed on a mannequin, for example, you would have to pin it in place to achieve the same effect as if it were being worn by a real person. On the other hand, a professional model will change their body to complement the clothing that they are modelling.
A model can also give the clothing a more natural movement, which the customer can identify with and be inspired by.
In addition, rather than having your model pose in an indoor studio setting, you should consider having them do so outside in a natural setting. It is important to keep in mind that the look and atmosphere you are going for are factors to consider because the market for lifestyle apparel images is expanding.
When it comes to preparing your garment for photography of clothing, having a bag of tricks for your photoshoot can come in very handy at any time. For instance, using pins to pin back particular folds or labels will save you a significant amount of time when you bring the image into Photoshop afterwards.
Additionally, clothes pegs are an excellent method for gathering and securing any excess material at the back of a model or mannequin in order to create the appearance of a flawless, wrinkle-free fit.
Tape, which can be used to position fabric precisely where it needs to be, spare batteries for your camera, spare bulbs for your studio lights, and a steam iron are also valuable items to have.
Prepare Your Clothing Products
To have a successful photoshoot, preparation is absolutely necessary. I have lost count of the number of times that I have done photoshoots, only to discover afterwards that one of the seemingly insignificant details was incorrectly positioned.
The time you invest here will save you a significant amount of time during editing later on, and may even save you the time required to redo an entire shoot! We strongly suggest that you start a production line to get everything ready and then photograph all of the clothing that you have gathered together.
The very first thing you should do is go through all of your clothing and iron or steam it while listening to a playlist of your favourite songs. Perform this step before hanging anything else to ensure that there will be no wrinkles visible.
Second, ensure that your photography toolbox is open, and that any spare batteries and pins are prepared and ready to go. If you are going for the mannequin look, start by draping the first piece of clothing over your dummy.
Be sure to pay attention to the tiniest of details on your garments.
Check to see that all of the buttons have been fastened and are buttoned up. If your piece features tassels or ties, check to see that they are styled in a way that is uniform and neat. Be sure that your sleeves are not only folded neatly but that they remain folded at all times. Check to see that the clothing does not contain any stains.
Set up Your Photography Studio
It's up to you whether your clothing photography studio is a dedicated professional space or just some unused space in the back of your retail establishment. It makes no difference as long as you have the appropriate lighting and camera equipment.
Start by putting up your backdrop. As soon as that is finished, you can begin to set up your lighting and camera. When photographing clothing, a lighting setup with three points of light is ideal.
To begin, position one light next to your camera and point it in the direction of the mannequin. This light will serve as the key light for the photograph.
The second light will serve as a fill light, and it should be positioned at a 45-degree angle from your mannequin and further away from the first key light. Finally, the remaining light position should be in between the form and the backdrop.
Check Your Camera Settings
When adjusting the settings on your camera, there are three aspects that require your attention: the shutter speed, the aperture, and the ISO sensitivity.
When photographing clothing, a high f-stop, somewhere between f/8 and f/11, is the best aperture setting to use. This will assist you in getting a shot that is more focused on the apparel products you are selling.
The length of time that your camera's shutter will remain open is referred to as its speed. When taking pictures of people wearing clothes, the ideal shutter speed is somewhere around 1/125.
The ideal ISO setting for taking photographs of clothing falls somewhere in the range of 400 and 800. This is something that will be determined by the kinds of light sources that you make use of. If you are using artificial lighting, instead of setting your iso higher than 800, setting it between 600 and 800 will allow you to reduce the amount of noise.
Start Taking Your Product Photos
Now we get to the fun part, which is taking photographs of your products. Check that your camera doesn't shake when you take pictures. Use a tripod. This will result in images of the product that are more clear and distinct.
In the event that you do not possess a tripod, you are able to position your camera on any solid or steady surface.
Your mannequin or model ought to be centred within the viewfinder or frame of your camera. Ensure that it takes up the majority of your canvas by making this a priority. In order to get shots that are closer, you can either adjust the height of your tripod or the optical zoom on your camera.
Do not use digital zoom because it reduces the quality of your product photos because it crops the image while it is being shot. Digital zoom should be avoided.
Adjust the timer setting on your camera to two seconds. After you have pressed the shutter button, your camera will be able to refocus on your subject if you have done this.
Put the focus on the specifics.
When you are photographing clothing, be sure not to ignore the smaller details.
When a customer receives the product, there is nothing more disappointing for them than discovering that the fabric is stiff when they were under the impression that it was soft. Or that the item had a button closure when it actually had a zip closer.
Take pictures of the stitching, the fabric, the tags, the zippers, the buttons, and anything else about your article of clothing that you believe the customer may want to see before making a purchase of it.
Because the customer will have access to all of the relevant information about the product as a result of your inclusion of specifics, the number of inquiries regarding customer service that you may receive will likely decrease, while conversion rates will rise.
You always have the option of enabling a zoom function that puts the zooming in the hands of your customers. You need to provide the customer with a few carefully chosen close-ups so that they know where their focus should be. When photographing clothing, using props and tools to assist you will ensure that the item is positioned appropriately.
Ironing the article of clothing will remove any wrinkles that may have formed. In my experience, using a steamer is the most effective method.
Put a padded bra on the mannequin if you need to give an item of clothing more volume in the bust area.
If an item of clothing is too large for the form or model, you can secure it in place with pins and pegs or clips.
It might be a good idea to use a fan if you want to give your product some motion.
Make use of tape that is see-through to move any tags or labels out of the way.
Editing Your Product Photos to Increase Sales
After you have finished taking pictures of your goods, it is time to edit those pictures so that your online store will have a unified aesthetic throughout all of the images.
During the post-production phase of your project, you should give some thought to how you want the photos to appear on your eCommerce store. For the sake of consistency, you should make sure that you take care of the alignment, the white background, the cropping, and the colour correction.
Consider making ghost mannequins if you want to take your clothing photography to the next level; in terms of professionalism, there is no higher bar that can be reached than that.
With the ghost mannequin effect, your product images will have the appearance of having a human form, even though they will not display a model. You can give the impression that the product has more depth by displaying, on the outside, only small sections of the garment's interior.
If you want to create ghost images, you don't need to hire a model because a mannequin will work much better. Believe me when I say that capturing a ghost mannequin is worth the effort, even though it is not an easy process.
How to Create a Ghost Mannequin Effect
Take a picture of the item from the front-facing angle. Then take a picture of the product from behind, but this time turn it so that the front is facing you.
For this purpose, you should make use of a tripod and refrain from adjusting the amount that you zoom in.
It is a good idea to also mark a place on the floor for your mannequin, so that it will be in the same location for both sets of photographs. Following on from this, "stitching" the items together will be a lot less of a hassle.
The background needs to be removed as the next step because you need to be able to see the front through the back. If both of your photos were taken from the same distance and angle, then all that is left for you to do is place the front on top of the back in Photoshop. This shouldn't be too difficult of a task for you.
Upload Your Product Photos to Sell Online
The very last thing you need to do is upload all of your products to your online store as well as any other marketplaces on which you plan to sell them, making sure that the images conform to the specifications.
Keep in mind that clothing photography can be enjoyable, and that if done correctly, it can make your store look absolutely incredible! If you have any suggestions, please share them with us in the comments section below.
Common Mistakes Clothing & Apparel Photography
The eCommerce industry is always moving in new directions. However, despite the fact that fashions shift with the passage of each season, there are a few things that must always be kept the same, particularly in the field of apparel photography.
Not Preparing the Garment
You want your goods to have the best possible appearance so that you can show them off to potential buyers. However, as you may know from personal experience, the act of storing and transporting clothing can cause it to become wrinkled and creased, and it can even start to look worn.
Sometimes, clothing samples are even received in conditions in which they are outdated, torn, or even unfinished! When it comes to photographing clothing, the first step that is most important is getting the garments ready for the camera.
However, many photographers who specialise in clothing opt to skip this step and instead rely on Photoshop to fix wrinkles, stains, and any other issues that may have arisen as a result of the product being stored or transported.
However, Photoshop is not a magic tool; it takes time and experience to master advanced editing techniques, and any edits that you make to an image are considered "destructive" to the image, meaning that they reduce the quality of the image in some way.
Because of this, it is best to rely on Photoshop only for the purpose of adding finishing touches and colour correction to your ideas, and to make sure that you capture the garment as perfectly as you possibly can in camera.
It is absolutely necessary to perform a careful inspection of your product from the very top to the very bottom, on the inside and the outside. Is it necessary to remove any labels, stickers, or any other forms of identifying materials that might be present?
Do so. Because of the storage conditions, have the garments become wrinkled or creased? You can steam or iron them. Make use of the resources that are available to you in order to repair any additional damages or distractions that you may come across.
When it comes to cleaning dust and strings out of fabrics, lint rollers and tape are particularly useful tools. In some cases, samples are wrong upon arrival due to last-minute design changes (e.G. Fit, colours, patterns, etc.).
Be sure that you have an understanding of the design changes that have been made for each garment so that you can edit the sample appropriately in Photoshop or decide to wait until the actual piece that will be sold has been photographed.
Not Utilizing a Mannequin or Live Model
When photographing garments, many apparel photographers fail to realise how important it is to communicate the shape and fit of the garment to the customer. Instead, they photograph the garments being worn by mannequins or live models.
Instead, they fold their clothes or hang them on hangers without ironing them. This is a very serious oversight! Photographing a garment while it is being worn either on a form or a live model is almost always the most effective way to display the garment's shape and encourage customers to imagine themselves wearing the garment themselves.
(Taking pictures of clothes without a dummy doesn't require spending a lot of money on live models; instead, you might find that strategically utilising a friend is the best solution.)
A dummy is the next best thing you can use when you have a limited budget, but models bring clothing to life. When models can't be used due to budget or time constraints, a dummy is the next best thing you can use instead.
Giving the customer the ability to see the shape and natural draping of each product will give them a more accurate idea of how the garment will fit them, in addition to providing them with a more satisfying shopping experience overall.
A modest amount of styling can also go a very long way. If your garment appears to be too large for your mannequin, you can try fitting it closer to your form by pinning it and tucking it so that it is styled to work correctly. If this does not work, your mannequin may be too large for your garment.
You can create a sophisticated post-production effect known as the ghost mannequin effect by photographing your products while they are displayed on mannequins.
Not Providing Enough Imagery
It is a common misconception that providing customers with one or two images of each product is sufficient to give them an accurate impression of the cost-effectiveness and quality of your inventory. This is simply not the case.
As a result, it is essential to provide customers with as much information as possible about each product, and the best way to do this is by uploading at least three images for each product, and preferably between five and ten.
There are a lot of eCommerce websites that will let you upload anywhere from 9 to 12 images for each product set, but a lot of retailers don't take advantage of that additional opportunity to market their wares. Take pictures of your products from as many different angles as you can whenever you get the chance.
At the very least, you should photograph the standard front, side, and back view of each product. After that, you should supplement that with close-ups of essential product embellishments, such as buttons, zippers, or embroidery — the particulars that make your shirt, dress, and so on stand out from the crowd.
Unlike the majority of the other clothes sold online. When you upload more images of your product, the customer will have a better understanding of what they are purchasing.
According to internet retailers, this will provide them with a better shopping experience as well as demonstrate the quality of your products and ensure that the customer is satisfied when the product arrives (and thus minimise returns).
Not Utilizing Enough Light When Taking Apparel Photos
Be careful not to become "that" online retailer whose product pictures are dark and lack proper exposure. As an online retailer of clothing, one of your primary concerns should be ensuring that your store has adequate lighting.
By ensuring that you expose ideas correctly, you will accurately showcase the colours of the products as well as other details, which will give the impression that your inventory is clean and professional.
Customers will be better able to appreciate the unique qualities of your garments if you have the right lighting and show them how each piece of clothing is different. A sufficient amount of lighting enables your camera to produce images of a higher quality, characterised by less "noise" or "grain" and a greater degree of sharpness.
When there is less available light, the image quality suffers, which, as you probably already know, does not reflect well on your brand or your products.
Renting artificial lighting equipment gives you the most leeway in terms of how you configure your space to best utilise the light it provides.
Using natural light from a large window and a reflector panel made from foam board are two options to consider if renting equipment is not within your financial means. As an online retailer of clothing, one of your primary concerns should be ensuring that your store has adequate lighting.
Not Using the Correct Camera Settings
If the settings on your camera are off, no amount of photo editing skill will be able to save your photos and make them look professional.
Even though digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are capable of producing photographs of exceptionally high quality, using settings that are not optimal can significantly lower that quality. Before you begin photographing your products, double check that you have a solid grasp of the ISO, aperture, and white balance settings.
Not Setting the Correct Color Space Profile
Converting edited photos into a colour space profile suitable for the web is an essential step that many photographers who specialise in clothing either overlook or are unaware of. A particular assortment of colours that may be displayed in an image is referred to as the colour space for that image.
Adobe RGB, CMYK, and RGB are some of the colour spaces that can be used (and in response to the question that inevitably arises, "what is RGB? "), respectively. Without the proper colour space, the colours of products will look different when viewed on various computer screens, web browsers, and even websites. This is because different computer monitors display colours differently.
The best colour space profile to use when you want to maintain the consistency and vibrancy of your images across a variety of screens, browsers, and websites is RGB. You have the option of setting your camera to srgb, which will save you the time and effort of having to convert the file to srgb after you have already edited it.
However, srgb captures a narrower range of colours than the RGB setting that is the default for your camera. Because of this, many professionals choose to make the conversion only after they have perfected their images so that they do not limit their ability to edit the images.
Not Editing Product Images Properly
A significant number of online merchants make errors when editing the product images they sell, particularly with regard to cropping, alignment, colour, and backgrounds.
It is in your best interest to maintain consistency across all of the images in your inventory, including their crops, alignments, and locations.
Make sure to develop a standard set of specifications for both shooting and editing in order to keep all of your images consistent with one another and to reduce the amount of time you spend post-processing your work. Utilizing a photo editing service such as pixels can assist you in effectively standardising and automating the post-production process.
Make sure that all of your products are the same size and that they are centred within your image. This will ensure that all of the sides, corners, and angles of your products are aligned properly with one another. Your website and the products you sell will have more appeal if you maintain an inventory that is consistently aligned.
Creating guidelines within a template in Photoshop is the most straightforward method for ensuring that your alignment is accurate.
Along the same lines as alignment, you need to crop product images in an identical manner in order to give the customer a seamless experience when shopping online. If you follow some guidelines for alignment, you shouldn't have any trouble cropping images consistently or resizing them to fit the requirements of your website's image specifications.
There are some eCommerce businesses that will change the background in order to display other products.
Keeping all of your product images consistent with one another can significantly improve the appeal of your inventory selection as well as the professionalism of your website. This is true despite the fact that this may not seem like an important point.
Post-production time can be cut down if you pick just one background style and stick with it throughout the project. There is a consensus among most people that white or light grey backgrounds offer the least amount of distraction from the clothes or other product being displayed.
Inaccurately portraying the colours of the garments being photographed is another frequent oversight in the apparel photography industry.
Some colours, such as neons, reds, and pinks, are difficult to photograph correctly in camera and often need to be tweaked in Photoshop. If you allow your camera to decide its own white balance in auto mode, it will do a great job of creating fairly accurate colouring. However, if you let it decide its own white balance, it will be difficult to photograph certain colours correctly in camera.
Customers may become aggravated and dissatisfied as a result of inaccurate colour representations; therefore, it is a good idea to spend a few minutes more than necessary to ensure that the colours of your garments are accurate before uploading them to your website. Inaccurate colour representations can lead to unhappy and aggravated customers.
In the end, you want the customer to be able to see exactly what they will get in the mail if they order your product, so that they can make an informed decision.
There are many different ways to adjust the colours in your image, so familiarise yourself with the tools that Photoshop has to offer and pick your favourite one.
After you have finished correcting the colours, you need to make sure that your images have been converted into the RGB format. This will ensure that the accurate colours that you have worked so hard to create for your clients will not be altered by different web browsers, computer screens, or websites.
Experience Is the Best Teacher
Making everything on your own is a difficult task. The very first attempt won't be flawless, but that's perfectly normal.
Your objective should be to get better with each shoot and to capture the very best images you can of the product you're selling. When you improve your product images, you increase the likelihood that people will buy them and buy more of your product.
Just keep in mind the procedures for producing stunning photographs of clothing products, and you should be fine.
Prepare your product, construct your studio, place your lighting, style your product, adjust your camera settings, take photographs, and then perfect your images in post-production processing. If you follow those steps, you will end up with product images that are of a high enough quality for you to be pleased with them.