© 2011 Stephen Graham Ghosted Mannequin Clothing/Apparel Product Photography

Product Photography – Ghosted Mannequin Effect

Wow, really good product photography is hard.

And really good clothes product photography is really hard. I have been shooting and editing some clothing products for an ecommerce web site and it has been a long learning process. Achieving the product shot above required the research, understanding and practice of a whole bunch of techniques in photography, photoshop and product dressing/styling.

The site wanted to achieve what I discovered is mostly referred to as a Ghosted Mannequin style of product shot for the clothes on their site. We were all calling it the invisible man technique. Show the clothes in 3D as if they are being worn by a person, but, erase any view of the person and show the insides of the clothing where the person would have been.

At first, although I thought that this technique looked great, I thought it was overkill. For an ecommerce site with lots of products for sale, surely the time taken to make these 3D Ghosted Mannequin style images would be excessive. Why not lay the clothing flat and photograph it like that. It would be much faster and much easier, wouldn’t it?

I started researching this flat product photography. Laying a garment on a white background and photographing it from above sounds easy enough, and it is, but, the difference between what I can do, and what a clothes stylist can do when laying a garment flat is amazing. You immediately recognise that the eye and the patience required to make a flat garment look good is either something you dedicate a lot of time to learning, or you find another way of doing it.

Putting the item on a mannequin immediately gives the product the shape that it was meant to have and significantly improves the look of the goods. Mannequin shots can look good and if a consistent style is adopted for every shot on a site that shows the mannequins in the product shot, it can certainly look good. I’m not keen on it though, and the site I was shooting for wanted something more. The Ghosted Mannequin technique solved our problems and produced good looking product shots that grab the eye.

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