By Thomas Kragelund, CEO & founder of Pixelz
High quality product photography is essential for apparel ecommerce. For many customers, your product images will determine whether or not they buy your product.
But essential doesn’t have to mean expensive. The difference between professional and amateur is talent, equipment, and experience. If you have an eye for photography and a modest budget, follow these 7 steps to benefit from our experience and create beautiful apparel product images.
1. Prepare Your Garment
Your products should look their absolute best in your images. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that clothing can become wrinkled, creased, and begin to look worn from storage and transport. Clothing samples face a particularly rough time of it, as they often cover a lot of miles and may not have been perfectly constructed to begin with.
Preparing garments to be photographed is a crucial starting point for photographing apparel, yet many photographers skip this step and rely on Photoshop to fix wrinkles, stains, and other visible defects. Don’t do that. Photoshop isn’t magic: it takes time and expertise to master advanced editing techniques, and excessive editing risks compromising image quality.
Try to capture your garment in a state as close to perfect as possible and use Photoshop only to add final touches and color correction.
Steaming will help your product look its best before photographing it.
Thoroughly examine your product from top to bottom, inside and out. Are there any tags, stickers, and other types of identifying materials that need to be removed? Do so. Has the product become wrinkled or creased during storage? Iron or steam it. Repair damages and remove distractions; for example, use lint rollers or tape to remove dust and strings.
2. Set Up Your Studio
With a few items, you can turn nearly any room with space into a photography studio. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can get by with a camera, tripod, seamless white paper, duct tape, and natural light. If you have a little more to spend and want control over when and where you shoot, it’s worth investing in a few more pieces of equipment.
Studio setup with camera, tripod, c-stand, seamless paper, mannequin, monolight kit.
If you’re shooting smaller items like jewelry, bags, wallets or other accessories, you can get a mini portable photo studio like the Foldio. The Foldio comes with several different backdrops, LED lights and an iOS app to help you capture professional product photos from the comfort of your home or office.
Everything included with the Foldio: The Portable Mini Studio.
Always use a white or light grey backdrop to prevent distractions and ensure you capture colors as accurately as possible. Seamless rolls of white paper are ideally suited, cheap, and readily available at any photography supply store. If you have one, use a c-stand to hold the seamless. Sweep the roll to the floor so that it is curved, preventing creases and distracting shadows, and fasten it with tape.
Using a stand will give you more flexibility in where you position your background, allowing you room to maneuver around the studio. If you’re on a bootstrapped budget, you can tape the seamless roll to the ceiling or a wall.
Position your product on a model or mannequin in the middle of the backdrop and directly in front of where your camera will be.
Your camera is a vital part of your product photography, but don’t make the mistake of assuming it alone will determine your success. It’s just one piece of the puzzle, and you don’t have to put your entire budget into it. We recommend you use a DSLR that has, at a minimum, manual exposure and aperture settings, or using a very inexpensive alternative right at your fingerprints, your smartphone!
Use a tripod. The stability will eliminate camera shake and ensure your shots are consistent, while also freeing you to use your hands on other tasks. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a tripod, but it’s essential that you use one.
Position your tripod and camera so that it directly faces the product. Most of the time, you will not move the camera throughout the shoot. For different angles of the product, you will move the product.
Mount your camera on a tripod and directly face the product.