What is a Ghost Mannequin and Why Should You Care

invisible mannequin photograph

Ghost mannequin photography, also known as the “invisible mannequin,” “3D mannequin,” or “hollow man,” enables clothing product photography to adhere to ecommerce product photography best practices. Ghost mannequin photography allows for fashion product photography to highlight the best features in garments and accessories by showcasing the different angles of the product or garment. Consumers want to view how fashion products will look while being worn, hence, using flat or folded product images don’t provide the necessary level of detail to “sell product”. The ghost mannequin photoshoot requires a specific set-up to get the most of the invisible mannequin photography shoot. In this post, we highlight what ghost mannequin photography actually is and how to employ the process using an AI photo enhancement process. 

Essentially, invisible mannequin photography is a combination of two or more images—also known as a “composite image.” The first photo is taken using a model or mannequin. The accompanying images are flat views of any part of the interior of the garment that was blocked by the model or mannequin, often shot on a white foam board. Tapping the mannequin effect is a cost-efficient way to produce brilliant fashion product photography without breaking the bank. In this blog, we highlight how to get the most of your mannequin photoshoot and post-production processing inclusive of the AI bulk photo editing features found on autoRetouch. The result is a lifelike image that keeps the focus firmly on your fashion product without distractions that can deter ecommerce sales.

Invisible Mannequin Photography Shoot Set-Up Guide

The materials needed for the invisible mannequin photography shoot include the following:

  1. A on-body model or any modular mannequin – with removable chest and arms – can be used for getting invisible product shots by removing pieces individually 
  2. Camera
  3. LED studio lighting (one for each side of the product or garment)
  4. Two light reflectors or umbrellas
  5. White foam board or white backdrops
  6. Styling tools such as clips, pins, double-sided tape to help the clothes fit more tightly
  7. Products inclusive of unwrinkled garments

Start by taking a product photograph of the fashion garment on the mannequin or model in differing angles such as front, back and profile.

Next, take pictures of the underside of the garments or product images.

Pro Tip:

Use a static pose if you are using a live model. Models should be styled minimally (i.e. no jewelry, etc.), and long hair should be tied up.

Best practices for the mannequin photoshoot dictate that you create high quality photographs in a studio setting.  Professional grade cameras and specialized lighting techniques using reflectors, along with  garment fit are all key components needed for a flawless finish. 

Photographing a product from an angle that is either too high or too low may cause the garment to look tapered and inaccurate. When photographing blouses, jackets or tops, it’s important to photograph at chest level.

How To Create a 3D Product Image With An Invisible Mannequin

To create a 3D image with the invisible mannequin technique, you will need to employ all the images that were taken with the garment from varying angles. This means that the mannequin or live model employing a static pose, will be photographed from at least two different poses. After that, you should style and hang your product on a piece of white foam board and photograph both the front, back and varying views again; these foam board shots will allow you to detail the inner areas of the garments such as liner, stitching, etc.

It’s imperative to ensure that the exact same lighting settings are used for both the mannequin/model shots and the foam board shots. You can do this by marking the mannequin’s or live model’s location and placing the white foam board in exactly the same spot and at the same height. 

After the photoshoot, you will need to open the mannequin image and the foam board image in your post-production processing software tool such as Photoshop or autoRetouch. Select your model or mannequin image and remove the background. Fill that layer in with a uniform color such as white. 

Once you have selected the entire product, refine your product image so that you have eliminated all of the background and mannequin out of the photo. You should see your product floating freely on the white background. If necessary, refine the product’s edges to ensure a polished and finished look.

autoRetouch’s photo bulk editing workflows are compatible with layered photoshop files. In fact, you can export all of your edits as layers in a PSD file and include auto-generated masks and vector paths to easily continue editing. This AI image editing workflow enables you to easily compare your edits to the original image and switch between the two with both images included in the exported result. Additional workflows are also available for fashion product photography such as Fabric Swatch extraction. On average, it takes only five seconds to fully retouch an image on the platform. 

Try autoRetouch for free today.