Clothing Photography Guide

Clothing Photography Guide

clothing photography

Tired of creating clothing photography that’s doesn’t attract any customers? Want to take professional apparel photography for fashionable brands? In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about shooting clothes that will SELL faster: necessary preparations, gear, camera settings along with appropriate image editing.

30 Clothing Photography Tips

Many photographers believe that learning how to take pictures of clothes isn’t as complicated as jewelry photography or other types of product photography. They are mistaken. Having enough experience photographing clothes, I managed to gather 30 essential tips for producing stunning apparel photographs as doe ecommerce and for advertising.

Tip 1. Hire a Model

apparel photography model

In case you have an opportunity to hire a model, you should absolutely do it. They can take different poses for you to choose the most flattering angles to showcase your product. Moreover, you will get excellent examples of lifestyle photography of your clothing items to post on social networks or show in the online store.

Tip 2. Use a Mannequin

apparel photography mannequin

When you are unable to hire a model, use mannequins and ghost mannequin photography techniques. They are cheap and working with them doesn’t require extra efforts. Besides, while you are photographing clothing on mannequins, you may gain some experience and retake shots as many times as you want. I recommend taking pictures of clothes on models or mannequins in order to show the way the item fits the body and its shape.


Female Mannequin

Wooden support along with the stainless tube provide additional steadiness for heavy garments. The mannequin is covered with soft stretched-cotton jersey and is perfect for clothing photography.


Tip 3. Provide Multiple Images

apparel photography angles
apparel photography angles

If you provide clients only with one or two pictures of the product, they won’t be able to look at all the details and materials closely. For apparel photography, it is essential to take three, ideally, from five to ten pictures of one item. You are supposed to capture front, back and side views of the garment. Also, don’t forget about focusing on such important elements as zippers, buttons, patterns or logos which differentiate this particular product from others.

Tip 4. Try Out Flat Lay Clothing Photography

flat lay clothing photography

An alternative way of how to take pictures of clothes for online store is flat lay or tabletop photography. It is very simple since you don’t need any mannequins or models. You just have to lay out the clothes and take a shot. But it won’t be exactly suitable for online stores. Flat lays work mostly for publications on Instagram. If we are talking about such clothes as T-shirts, jackets or shorts, they might suit e-commerce photography as well.

Tip 5. Try 360 Clothing Photography

360 clothing product photography demonstrates an item in full rotation so that the client can look at it as in real life. This 3D format imagery gives a more complete picture of a product, its size, dimensions and the combination of its elements. It seems to be quite a challenging task, but in reality, you can do it with the help of certain gear. Keep in mind that you should pick the correct size for holding a human or mannequin.


Photography Turntable

This turntable simplifies the process of taking 360-degree clothing photography. It consists of 22" rotation platform that handles up to 100 lbs. Control the turntable from PC and observe the object in a real-time mode. You may adjust lighting, scene and the placement of an object.

  • Read my 360 product photography guide and follow this a step-by-step instruction of how to take and edit your product photographs for a creative 360 look.

Tip 6. Highlight Unique Features

clothing product photography

While people are browsing through online clothing stores, they search for an eye-catching item. They are more likely to pay attention to the pictures featuring an intricate and unusual element. While photographing clothing, the task of a shooter is to put emphasis on such peculiar and elaborate details so that it looks natural and coherent.

Tip 7. Mind the Camera Positioning

clothing product photography camera position

Before you start shooting, consider the placement of your camera. It should be located precisely in front of the captured piece of clothing. For instance, if you are shooting skirts, locate the camera across the hip area. When shooting shirts, the camera must be placed in a chest area.

Tip 8. Don’t Use Digital Zoom

clothing product photography digital zoom

For a clothing item to take up the whole frame, you may want to zoom in. As a rule, cameras feature a digital and optical zoom. Even though zooming is known for eliminating distortions, one of the most significant clothing photography tips is not to shoot with the digital zoom. It crops the picture and will eventually worsen its quality.

Tip 9. Remove Price Labels and Stickers

apparel photography labels

Don’t hesitate and take your time to prepare clothing items before doing ecommerce product photography. Get rid of every sticker and price tag, and you will thank yourself later. You can always remove these unnecessary elements at an image post-production stage. Still, I recommend getting the clothes ready in advance to save time spent on picture editing.

Tip 10. Iron Clothing Beforehand

apparel photography ironing

Such minor defects as creases on clothes might ruin the success of your photography for ecommerce. That’s why I suggest bringing an iron or a steamer to the photo session to instantly get rid of wrinkles on garments.

Tip 11. Use a Lint Roller

apparel photography lint roller

Your clothing photography kit should definitely include a lint roller.

It removes lint, dust and minor spots of dirt from clothes. Prior to taking pictures, go through the garments with a lint roller after ironing. You will make use of a lint roller when preparing clothing items of dark colors. If you don’t do it, due to the increased exposure, the dust particles will become visible in the shots.

Tip 12. Stiff Brush Clothing

apparel photography stiff brush

One more indispensable object of your fashion and clothing photography kit is a stiff brush. It will help eliminate blemishes from garments made of specific materials. An example of such materials is suede. The knap of the suede has to be brushed in one constant way to prevent ‘blotchy’ look. Stiff brushes are useful for getting rid of fingerprints and flattening fabrics which tend to get dirty, like, fake fur.

Tip 13. Use Pins and Clips

apparel photography with pins

All the same, not every piece of clothing can fit the mannequin flawlessly. You will need to bring safety pins and sewing pins to the shooting. To give the clothes tighter, form-fitting look on the mannequin, draw the fabric back using these pins. There are also clips which may be called a more ‘profound’ variation of pins. Their purpose is identical, but clips are capable of holding various types of fabric in a tighter manner.

Tip 14. Use Masking Tape

apparel photography masking tape

For clothing photography, you will also need the tape. It is a helpful tool in cases when the straps of a top or dress are slipping down the mannequin. Purchase double-sided masking tape to fix the straps in one place. What is more, this kind of tape won’t damage the mannequin’s surface as much as other types.

Tip 15. Use Fishing Line

apparel photography fishing line

If you wonder how to photograph clothes ‘in the air’, you will need a fishing line. It comes in handy for defying gravity still being invisible in the frame. A fishing line may be used for holding the bags’ straps or hanging clothes to give the impression of a ‘hovering’ item. Don’t worry, the camera won’t capture this thin line.

Tip 16. Stuff the Clothes with Tissue

flat lay clothing photography

The significant drawback of flat lay clothing photography is that the items lying on a smooth surface distort their real size. In shots, the clothes look wider than they actually are and it doesn’t make them appealing at all. To solve this problem, you may give some volume to the clothing items by taking crepe paper, cotton wool, some tissues and putting all that inside.

Tip 17. Choose the Right Camera

clothing photography kit camera

It isn’t obligatory to shoot with the best camera. However, to achieve professional photography results, a decent lens and camera are the must. To prevent your clothing images from looking unprofessional, I suggest picking the proper camera. With DSLRs, you are more likely to get stunning apparel shots because of their studio lighting connectivity.

Tip 18. Choose Appropriate Lens

clothing photography kit lens

Use lenses with focal lengths over 50mm. If you are going to take photos with short focal lengths such as 18mm or 35mm, your apparel photos can get a fisheye effect – your clothes will look bigger than they are. You may use an 18-55mm kit lens, all you need to do is just set the zoom all the way up to 55mm.

19. Purchase Lighting Kit

clothing photography kit

The light sources should illuminate the garments properly for all the important elements to be visible. So, you need to invest in the lighting kit. The best variant is the one featuring three lights. In this way, a three-point lighting setup may be realized (one key light, a back or hair light and one fill light).


Photography Softbox

StudioFX H9004SB2 is a softbox lighting system featuring 1 overhead hair light boom softbox and 2 softboxes. There are 4 bulbs attached to each softbox in the kit.


Tip 20. Purchase a Backdrop Kit

clothing photography kit with a backdrop

To achieve a clear look of your clothing product photography, you need to set up a backdrop. I suggest finding a solid green or white backdrop that comes with a stand. While selecting a backdrop, remember that it should be pretty wide and tall for you to shoot mannequins and models at full height.


Background Stand Support System

This backdrop support system is reliable, lightweight and can be extended to fit any height. It features four crossbar sections, two tripod stands and is appropriate for clothing photography.


Tip 21. Use Tripod

clothing photography kit tripod

If you want to know how to photograph clothing and get clear images, you must buy a tripod. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to get qualitative images without blur if you shot with a camera holding in hands. Pick the best budget tripod and start shooting.

Tip 22. Keep Your ISO Low

clothing photography iso clothing photography iso

For clear and sharp clothing photography, set ISO to 100 or 200. The more you raise the value, the more noise will appear. Moreover, at high ISO, the camera can’t produce sharp images and the details will be softened.

Tip 23. Choose the Correct Aperture

clothing photography aperture clothing photography aperture

Photographing clothing, it is recommended to choose a high f/stop, between f/8 and f/11. As a result, you will be able to focus more properly on the item. In case you want to put emphasis on certain elements, for instance, buttons. For shallow focus, you should set a lower f/stop (2,8).

Recommended book:

Photo Nuts and Bolts

Want to take better control of camera and camera settings? This book by Neil Creek is a perfect choice for you!


Tip 24. Mind Shutter Speed

clothing photography shutter speed clothing photography shutter speed

While realizing your photography clothing ideas, shoot with a slow shutter speed to get a smaller aperture. A camera on a tripod in stable light may produce a slow shutter speed, so set a low value, for instance, 1/13. But when photographing models in dynamics, you’d better increase the shutter speed till you get rid of blurry areas.

Tip 25. Mind White Balance

clothing photography white balance clothing photography white balance

I believe you have seen some apparel shots that look as if they were taken with an orange or blue filter. Photography light bulbs produce various warmth referred to as a color cast. These bulbs complicate the task of determining real white for your camera. Therefore, you must adjust the white balance in accordance with the chosen kind of a lighting source.

Tip 26. Remove Background

clothing photography background removal clothing photography background removal

Any photography clothing guide typically suggests shooting on a white background. However, you may ‘break the rules’ and totally neutralize potential distracting details by getting rid of the background. In this way, you can add a professional finish to your imagery. The style of the store is supposed to determine a suitable background color. The most universal variant is the white one since it doesn’t conflict with other colors and attracts attention to the garment.

Professional Lightroom Presets for Product Photography

easter photography preset warm tones easter photography preset warm tones

Bring your clothing business more profit with these premium Lightroom presets. This bundle will fix the most common clothing photography problems in a matter of seconds.

Tip 27. Make Color Correction

clothing photography color correction clothing photography color correction

Although you may properly adjust the white balance, such colors as pink, neon and red are tricky to capture with a camera and require image editing. If the colors are reproduced incorrectly, the clients will think that they are deceived. Therefore, spend some time in Lightroom and fix the color rendering of the items. Your final aim is to render the colors in images as accurately to real-life ones as possible.


How to Create Conceptual Product Images in Photoshop

Push your creative boundaries in post-production by learning how to create conceptual clothing images. Phlearn PRO Tutorial will give you step-by-step instructions on how to do it!


Tip 28. Change Color in Photoshop

clothing photography color change clothing photography color change

Taking clothing photography for ecommerce, sometimes you need numerous images of T-shirts of different colors. To save time and not shoot every color variation, you should photograph just one color. At picture post-processing stage, you may modify the colors with the help of the Hue/Saturation tool.

Tip 29. Create a Ghost Mannequin Effect

clothing photography ghost mannequin

In case you think that the mannequin will look cheap in the shots or divert attention from the garments, you may resort to the hidden mannequin trick. Ghost mannequin provides a 3D view of the clothing item. With its help, clients will clearly imagine the way the garment fits the body, its real shape and materials.

Tip 30. Crop Photos

clothing photography cropping

Your apparel imagery should look identical, so crop it accordingly. This ensures the smooth shopping process for the buyers. In case the online store has certain rules when it comes to size and format of the pictures, just stick to them and there won’t be any problems.

  • Are there any other photography rules aside from cropping? Go to Amazon product photography guide to learn more about photo requirements for online stores.

FREEBIES for Editing Clothing Photography

Product Lightroom Preset Free "Contrast"

What is the key to creating eye-catching clothing images? What makes them stand out among other shots taken on a white background? You don’t need to put extra effort, just apply this preset. It will correct colors, make the pictures clearer, contrasting and appealing.

Product Lightroom Preset Free "Reduce Blue Cast"

Very frequently, studio or outdoor fashion photography features blue shades that distort the actual colors of the garments. That’s when you need to apply this Lightroom preset. It is aimed at increasing warmth and contributing to the appearance of natural tones in the shots.

Product Lightroom Preset Free "Matte"

This LR preset will come to rescue in case you need the apparel shots to appear wider on the online store’s site. It makes the images rougher, saturates the colors and clears up the shot from the discolored film.

Product Lightroom Preset Free "Colorful"

If you aren’t a fan of crisp colors and extremely white background, this LR preset is exactly what you need. It increases the saturation and depth of colors along with the overall brightness.

Product Lightroom Preset Free "Clean White"

The extremely white color of your clothing photography will be easy to achieve with this Lightroom preset. It ‘cleans up’ the pictures, eliminates the muted colors making them more vivid and realistic. You may apply this preset or combine it with the other filters.

Tata Rossi

Hi there, I'm Tata Rossi - a professional blogger, read more

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