Specialist Studio Practice 3 – Photographing clothing on a mannequin

1st March 2016

As a group in the studio we photographed using a mannequin and clothing to undertake ‘ghost photography’ (ghost cut outs). We were first taught the tricks and hacks of the job, and the requirements for these types of product shots. The clothes have to look shapely, natural, and immaculate. We also had to get the tag in at the back of the clothing, to show the brand. This was difficult with some shapes of the clothing e.g a male shirt being a basic ’round neck’ – this meant that if it wasn’t pulled slightly down at the front then the label couldn’t be seen. It was also tricky to get everything to stay in place, so we had to use a selection of tools to make this happen:

  • Masking tape – to stick parts up that needed to be straight, to hold bits together
  • Rolled up card – We used this to create a 3D effect to the sleeves & shoulders because otherwise the body was full and realistic but the arms looked limp & flat
  • Clamps – to clip the clothing at the back if it was too baggy or creased – this gave the top more shape and made the clothes look smoother and generally better
  • We also used our own clothing e.g a scarf to bulk out areas that needed more shape but still needed to look rounded (for example, when photographing women clothes) as it was a male mannequin we had to work with

We also lit the background & mannequin using LED light panels (pure white light) instead of studio lights – which is something much more commonly done in contemporary photography and trends. LED light is a constant light source (ambient) so there isn’t much testing needed, as where you see the light hit the background/object, that’s where it will be on the image. This is an efficient way to shoot I think because with flash you don’t know exactly how it’s going to look on the image until you press the shutter to trigger the light to flash. Maybe this is why it is becoming more popular to shoot using LED lights.

In post process the clothing needs to be cut out to stand out in the image so there are no distractions away from the clothing itself. This is best done in Photoshop using Pen Tool to get the cleanest edges and closest precision.

I also used liquify in Photoshop to bulk out any limp edges or tweek in other bits that were bulging out – to create a smoother edge as a whole. I also used spot healing tool and clone tool to adjust any blemishes on the jacket to show the clothing in it’s best light.

This exercise helped me increase my knowledge of clothing and everything that ghost cut out photography entails – from the lighting, to the shape of the mannequin and all the adjustments needed to make the clothes look perfect, all the way through to the post process and getting them ‘website ready’.

Here is a mock up “website advertisement” including the price etc that I designed quickly on Photoshop to put the image into context:

Inspiration:

http://www.thenorthface.co.uk/tnf-uk-en/d/women-s/c/jackets.html

Sources to logo:

https://www.outletcollectionatniagara.com/stores/sporting-goods-gym-yoga-equipment-niagara/the-north-face/

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