When it comes to selling clothes online, the conventional methods don’t cut it anymore. Smart sellers are constantly innovating, seeking the latest strategies for crafting a brand identity that stands out from the crowd. If you’re in search of an enticing new way to represent your apparel to shoppers, the ghost mannequin effect might be just what you’re looking for.
If you’re not already familiar with the ghost mannequin effect, it’s a technique that involves photographing apparel on a model or mannequin, then erasing the mannequin to produce sophisticated, realistic 3D product images. It can be tricky for beginners since it requires some advanced photography and editing skills, but never fear—this guide is designed to help you master the art of ghost mannequin photography.
Tips to Ace Ghost Mannequin Photography
1. Choose the Perfect Fit and Pose
Whether you’re working with a model or a mannequin, you want your garments to look runway-ready. Make sure your garments fit as well as possible (though don’t worry if it’s not picture-perfect—we’ll cover tips for perfecting your fit in step 4!).
Resist the urge to give your mannequin or model a natural or relaxed pose. Uneven, comfortable poses don’t work well for ghost mannequin photography—everything must be symmetrical, taut, and stable for the best results.
i) Select mannequins with removable arms and shoulders for a better, more customizable shape.
ii) If a garment has sleeves, make sure they drape downwards.
2. Choose the Right Camera and Equipment
You can try out ghost mannequin photos with almost any camera, but if you’re looking for that extra polish, here’s what experts in the industry recommend:
i) Canon 6D Mark II –- suitable for all kinds of product pictures.
ii) Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens – for taking pictures without distortions.
iii) Well-built tripod to ensure the stability of the camera.
Optimal lighting will be soft and evenly distributed. It must be sufficient to create a depth of field on your products.
For the background, it’s always best to go with a plain white backdrop. Unlike colorful or complex backgrounds, white backdrops are easy to erase in the post-production stage.
i) Do not place your mannequin or model too close to the backdrop, as it will create harsh shadows.
ii) Conduct a test photo session to ensure the lighting is even.
iii) For best results, use the following camera settings:
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter Speed: 1/125
- Flash Power: 3.0
- White Balance- Auto
3. Shoot for Symmetry
When capturing ghost mannequin photos, symmetry is your best friend to ensure an easy editing process later. This is easiest when photographing from shoulder height, as other angles can be unflattering or distorted—not what you want when introducing potential customers to your apparel!
It’s difficult to measure exact symmetry with the naked eye, so use the grid overlay on your camera to make sure that the hems and other lines of your garment are straight.
4. Stock the Studio and Accessorize
Not every garment will fit your mannequin perfectly—but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a less-than-perfect photo. Make sure you have plenty of pins and clips on hand and use them to style your apparel. You can clip up the back and armpit areas of your garments to make them look sleeker. However, try to avoid pulling the outfit too taut as it will emphasize the shape of the mannequin instead of the apparel. Try the following tips to further level up your style game:
● Use crepe paper to stuff areas that need to be emphasized or shaped.
● Add belts, scarves, jewelry, etc. to make your mannequin’s style pop.
5. Take Your Best Shot
When shooting shirts or dresses with collars, ensure the camera is at the garment’s chest height. For bottoms, position the camera at hip height to capture pants, skirts, shoes, etc.
Make sure to keep your camera steady with a tripod to avoid odd angles. Photographing your attire at an angle will cause the garment to look tapered, which will make it very challenging to edit the photos together properly later.
Don’t forget to rotate the mannequin and take pictures from different angles. You want to capture the back and front of the garment, but you’ll also want detail shots of the fabric, lining, zippers or buttons, and other standout elements of your apparel. Remember, customers want to shop with confidence, and detailed product photos help them choose your apparel over the competition.
Use a telephoto lens to reduce distortions and capture intricate details.
Why Choose Ghost Mannequin Photography?
By now you might be thinking This sounds like a lot of work. Why go to the trouble of mastering ghost mannequin photos when you could hire a model or choose a simpler approach to capturing your apparel, such as flat-lay photography? It’s a good question—as a business owner, you want to choose the most effective and cost-efficient approach. Here are a few reasons why ghost mannequin photography is worth the investment.
- Clarity and Focus
Don’t let anything distract from your products—even the best model can steal the focus from your attire. Meanwhile, flat-lay photos don’t capture how your garments fit, so they aren’t as helpful or representative for customers. Ghost mannequin photos are the best of both worlds, placing the focus on your products while representing their shape and style on the human form.
- Increased Professionalism
Make it as easy as possible for customers to have faith in your brand. Using 3D images that fully capture the fit of your garment makes your products look compelling and trustworthy. The sleek ghost mannequin effect looks sleek and modern and emphasizes your professionalism.
Ghost mannequin images remove the inconsistencies that can come with model photos and create a uniform visual style regardless of the style or type of garment being photographed, helping you brand your e-store across all your products.
- Time & Budget Efficiency
Although it requires some investment upfront, the process for creating ghost mannequin photos can be streamlined to make it just as efficient as other types of product photography. And when it comes to your editing budget, there are some great options available to keep time and costs down, like autoRetouch’s ghost mannequin tool, which can automate the entire post-production stage and generate finished images in just a few minutes.
Impressing your customers with high-quality images is essential to capturing their attention in the online space, and ghost mannequin photos are both striking and beautifully detailed. There’s no better way to represent your apparel online.
Like everything else, ghost mannequin photography requires practice. Start by ordering a good-quality mannequin and play around with the basics until you feel confident in taking the next steps. Ultimately, ghost mannequin photos are a cost-effective and exciting way to promote your products.