How To Use Umbrella Lights Clothing Photography

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Clothing & Mode Photography

How practise y’all photo clothing on a model, mannequin or folded flat?


  • Vesture folded, apartment, on a mannequin or model?
  • Lighting & Set up-up for folded clothes photography
  • Styling the clothing in preparation for the shoot
  • Use strobes to photograph a fashion clothing model
  • Using a good steamer to eliminate wrinkles
  • Using a tethered gear up-up between camera & computer
  • Using a life size mannequin
  • Clothing Photography tools

Taking good quality pictures of clothing can exist tricky.  The battle to eliminate or control harsh shadows can seem countless, and soft, fifty-fifty lighting tin can be a real trouble. Figuring out how best to brandish the clothing so it appears appealing to shoppers is also a challenge. Here are a variety of tips to display your article of clothing for not bad results ranging from the about bones folded display to the near professional fashion model. In that location are some elementary techniques which even apprentice photographers can utilize to obtain excellent results with minimal endeavour.  The following examples prove several bones setups likewise as a more than elaborate fashion model set-up that should let photographers at all levels to achieve results they tin be proud of.

The easiest technique to acquire and take success with, is shooting clothing flat. Some smashing examples of flat or folded clothing photography can exist seen online at GAP kids and L.L.Bean web stores. This is the last technique we will focus on in this tutorial. Continue in mind that these companies hire experienced photograph clothing stylists to spend endless hours fussing over the tiniest layout details. A swell deal can be learned from studying their final layout selections. The first technique covers use of a alive fashion model.

The folded technique has some bones limitations worth considering. We are shooting from “above”, so nosotros accept limits as to how high we can enhance our camera safely, using a horizontal tripod. If the clothing is large, the edges may inadvertently get cropped from the cameras view if the camera is as well low. For a dress you may demand to raise the photographic camera to a height of 6′ to viii’; although by 6′ you may find you need a modest step ladder to run into through the viewfinder. Big chains ie. L.L.Bean have alpine, sturdy scissor lifts, with large format cameras mounted on them specifically fabricated for this purpose. These allow the camera to be raised to near whatever height. At present lets look at some specific situations.

Full trunk shots of live models or mannequins requires large lights. And, although they may seem more difficult to work with live models should really be shot with strobe (wink) lights which will freeze any motility. Our Mode and Clothing Photography Kits have a choice of large continous lights for shooting folded clothing or strobes for alive models.

Photographing wear on a model or mannequin will create a more hitting image and the clothing will lay correctly

For lighting a mannequin or alive model we recommend using very big soft boxes or umbrellas. We have constitute that umbrellas are easier to work with than large soft boxes so we take included a behemothic vi ft. umbrella with a strobe light in our Fashion and Clothing Photography Kit. Since one light is the chief light and the second light is a make full, the second umbrella tin can exist smaller than the first. The large umbrella with strobe light is positioned at about a 45 caste bending to the model with its eye mail service at about shoulder peak. This should evenly distribute lots of soft calorie-free on the model’southward article of clothing. The second smaller umbrella and strobe can be positioned a piddling lower and more to the side of the model. The second lite does not need to be as bright as the offset. The purpose of the second light is to fill in the dark side of the model, but we don’t want it to be equally bright or it will take some of the dimension out of our epitome and make it look flat. So the fill up lite can be a weaker strobe, or a strobe set up to a lower setting, or both.



Using actually big soft boxes (say 4ft. ten 6 ft.) or a really large manner umbrella will give the clothing nice soft lighting. Fifty-fifty though we usually prefer to work with continuous lights rather than strobe (flash) lights, large soft boxes or large umbrellas are best lit with strobe lights rather than continuous lights, specially when shooting a live model. To get enough light to fill a really big umbrella or soft box requires tons of light, which means using either some very hot (unpleasant to work with ) lights or an unwieldy number of fluorescent bulbs. The other advantage of strobe lights is that information technology tin freeze motion. Fifty-fifty the steadiest model is likely to move a fiddling, and the slightest motion will blur the image. Strobes non only have the advantage of being much brighter than continuous lights merely they will eliminate any motion blur. The downside of using strobe lights is that you will demand to apply a remote to fire the strobes and your camera will need a hotshot to hold the remote.

But when it comes to shooting a alive model or a full size mannequin, strobe lights are actually the way to become. Huge soft boxes or giant fashion umbrellas piece of work equally well. But huge soft boxes can be a hurting to gear up up and take downward. Umbrellas are less expensive, much easier to set and accept down.

Steam or iron wear to remove all wrinkles and creases

If you have never used a steamer before, then be sure to view the videos of using a steamer on the Jiffy Steamer web site. They evidence how to run the steamer forth the front and inside of each piece removing wrinkles along the style. I take burned plenty of clothing in the by, by property a hot iron on 1 spot for also long. So for me, working with a small steamer was a real care for. Also, there you can’t add together new creases by mistake, as commonly occurs when ironing.

Permit’s begin with a packaged, folded product since this is how many of you will begin. After removing the shirt from the package we used a expert quality hand-held travel size steamer to remove the wrinkles.

One time the shirt is removed from the bundle it’s covered in wrinkles. The wrinkles, if left un addressed, will really detract from the final image. Taking a few extra minutes in the get-go to get the wear set up for shooting, will actually payoff in the finish. Don’t skimp on ironing or steaming.

The best affair to do is to atomic number 26 or steam the wrinkles out. We used a highly rated hand held travel steamer. This petty travel size Jiffy Esteam worked similar a champ, and the wrinkles were gone in a flash.

Packaged shirt

Steaming out the wrinkles

Handheld steamer

Use soft boxes for diffused, even lighting & softer shadows

You may accept noticed if you are shooting without a diffuser, that your shadows are too strong, and may be overwhelming your production. Professional photographers use soft diffused lighting to get the best results. The new Tabletop Studio Kuhl Lites are unique in pattern, they hold 4 30W bulbs each and include a removable diffusion panel. The choice of using 1-4 bulbs provides a huge corporeality of flexibility for lighting.

kuhl lite setup

Flat art photography inherently poses certain lighting challenges. The lights used demand to provide smooth, even lighting over a very big, broad, apartment surface.

To reach balanced, even lighting nosotros will apply two large 20″ soft boxes {Kuhl Lite120’south}. The set shown here included optional improvidence panels that tin be attached to the forepart to soften the light.

Since our items are flat, it’s fine to position 2 equal lite sources on opposite sides of the clothing. Normally this flattens an image. Just our items are truly flat; like a affiche, so flat lighting is fine.The large size of the soft boxes complements the big size of the clothing to provide very smooth, even coverage.


Reliable softbox brand

kuhl 120

Kuhl120 with four 30W bulbs

kuhl 120 side

Shown with improvidence cover

Apply a short focal length lens to maximize the expanse of view

You may non exist shooting the Grand Canyon, but you’ll still want a wide angle lens for photographing clothing. I used a 28-100mm lens for most of these examples, just a prissy 18-55mm would work cracking too. Be aware that as you become down closer to 18mm your vesture images may show some signs of warping. Just pay attending to the images as you get, to be sure your non using too wide an angle for the detail. Allow the results exist your guide if your lens is adaptable.

jean photography

Utilise a camera that has a short focal length {wide angle} lens. This volition allow yous to see a larger surface area of your subject; the entire piece of clothing.

A wide angle lens views a larger “wider” area  vs. a zoom or macro lens that narrows the view to a smaller section of space.

In this case, the wide angle lens fits the unabridged pair of jeans into view. We used a 18-55mm lens for this photo, and it worked well.

Your camera should be positioned directly above the vesture. If the tripod is raised upwardly high, use a small footstep ladder to safely look through your cameras viewfinder.

camera horizontal

Horizontal tripod

horizontal tripod

Horizontal tripod


Horizontal tripod

Utilise a tethered camera to computer set-up for a faster workflow

It is user-friendly to utilize a tethered setup between camera and computer to command the camera. Many cameras include this software for gratuitous. In this example yous can instantly view the image on the computer screen, allowing for faster feedback. This is a time saver in most cases. The only real financial investment needed is the cable long cable that runs from the computer to the camera. Most contempo camera models include the software for free. It is priceless to come across your lighting real-time on a big computer screen.

A tethered setup allows you to operate the camera directly from your computer or laptop system without leaving your seat.

Well that may exist a slight exaggeration, just it does save you time by providing a much larger view of your photo immediately.

The software allows you to adjust your photographic camera settings such as exposure, depth of field, and file format etc. right from your laptop desktop.

Although we have not yet discussed shooting using mannequin, If yous place your mouse over the left image you can see this dress on a mannequin we will discuss using later this page. Getting a good photo using a mannequin is much easier than learning to shoot a live model.

tethered setup

Tethered set-up

tethered camera

Ii Kuhl lites

camera tether

Flat clothing photography kit

Bonny styling of vesture takes practice & patience

Surf the web a little doing some enquiry on styling you like for items like to yours. Patagonia & the Gap spend a fortune on article of clothing stylists, and so why not look at their item layouts if they are like to yours. Knowing what you would similar your piece to look like in the final image is a practiced idea before you brainstorm. If you don’t take an idea in mind you could spend hours fussing over the stuffing etc. without getting a proficient shot. Salve yourself some time and frustration by doing your homework first. What exercise other sellers practice with similar products that work? You will soon see a styling pattern emerge for skirts, shirts, pants, dresses.

skirt photography

Place your mouse over the left photo to see where we placed some stuffing. The placement we chose created shadows in that expanse which gives the paradigm a more life similar appearance.

I cannot stress styling plenty. Study your favorite wear web site photos for tips on how to conform your article of clothing on the boards.

Tissue paper and cotton batting make overnice fillers for habiliment to aid give the articles a piddling life and add dimension.If your detail has tags be certain your tags are facing front end so they can be read.

In some cases information technology may be helpful to pin the article to the board to concord it’due south position. This is only necessary if you are struggling with getting it to keep from changing position. The final skirt layout is cute and perky.

packaged skirt

Packaged skirt

fix tag


messy skirt layout

needs styling

Wrinkle gratuitous garments look more desirable for purchase

Photoshop tricks can do many wonderful things for tweaking a terminal image but I have yet to encounter it remove wrinkles from a shirt! If you plan to shoot lots of vesture and then you lot’ll be thrilled with the little Jiffy esteam hand held travel steamer that I used. The travel size is almost the size of a java thermos and can steam v to 10 articles of wearable in between refills, depending on their size. It is non industrial size, but I institute it was not as messy to use equally the larger commercial size. The commercial size is the size of a vacuum cleaner. If yous are shooting larger articles of clothing such as dresses you may benefit from the commercial size.

clothing photography

Place your mouse over the epitome on the left to see what it looked like before information technology was steamed and “stuffed” with cotton fiber batting. Examine the image advisedly to encounter how our cotton batting that was stuffed beneath the neckline edge.

I used cotton ball size batting to enhance the neckline front edge just plenty to create the shadows seen in the photo on the left. This stuffing produced a very nice separation of the neckline front end from the neckline back.

The niggling soft shadow created by simply raising the front neckline edge slightly, helps the shirt popular more.

packaged shirt

creased & wrinkled

steamed & styled

Use a high quality wig on the mannequin for added realism

Most times mannequins will look fake, but you can add realism if you purchase and use a high quality wig and and so crop your final photo just above the mannequinn chin. Information technology looks quite lifelike. Nothing beats a high quality fashion model but sometimes it’south just not in the upkeep and you lot need to be more creative. A adept mannequin with wig combo tin work in a pinch.

Identify your mouse over the image on the left to run across the fake mannequin confront that was cropped out.

If you determine to utilize a mannequin select an attractive style that fit’south the habiliment y’all plan to photograph. A good quality wig, as shown left.

The face of a mannequin always looks a fleck faux. But crop images higher up the chin for shut-ups, then the face up is not role of the prototype. The head and face look fine in small thumbnail size images.

Dressing the mannequin is tricky, the arms & legs need to be removed and reattached equally you struggle to get the clothing on and off for each shot.

* Tip – Alter the wig for a new look!

uncropped with head

mannequin backside

new wig = whole new expect

How do y’all strip out the groundwork to go pure white ?

If y’all decide you want a completely stripped out, page white, background, it is piece of cake. Photoshop elements, the scaled down less expensive version of Photoshop, will do the trick. Select the background using the choice tool set to 25-30. Inverse the choice to highlight the mannequin. Create a new layer of just her. Then fill up the layer beneath with white. Michaelstars website uses this trick for the entire site. It’s up to you lot! It is worth looking at backgrounds on websites yous similar to see what they used.

how to photograph sweaters

Adobe Photoshop Elements uses the same simple process to remove backgrounds every bit Photoshop. Don’t be afraid to try this yourself if you lot have not withal done so.

In that location are endless online video tutorials bachelor now to hold your mitt through the steps of removing a photo background.

If yous lite the groundwork, and use white, it will be very easy to select the background for removal. There is no right or wrong way to portray clothing. Just choose the mode y’all prefer. You’ll run into different choices for backgrounds at nordstrom, GAP, Michael Stars, Patagonia etc. Look at these online stores to decide what’s right for your store.

cashmeres sweather photo

with background

cashmere photography
background removed

sweater photography

white background

Fashion & Wearable Photography Tools

Clothing photography has many different subgroups that make it hard to put together the perfect wear photography kit for all situations. Many sellers specialize in merely a a department of the clothing market such as woman’s clothing, children’southward or men’s. The equipment recommendations change slightly with the different categories. The setups below encompass a broad spectrum of needs from shooting live models, mannequins or flat/folded clothing.

Exist sure to choose the right tools for your photo strategy. If you lot are using a live model strobes are a MUST.


Fashion Photography Kit

  • Two powerful strobes (flash)
  • One giant 6′ fashion shooting umbrella
  • One 43″ fashion fill umbrella
  • Wireless remote command
  • One 8′ low-cal stand west/swivel subclass & sand bag
  • One vi’ light stand with sand bag

    Flat article of clothing photography kit

  • Tripod with horizontal arm
  • 2 Kuhl Calorie-free 120’s 20” softbox reflectors
  • 2 removable diffusion panels for the Kuhl Lites
  • Complete light heads with 8 Trumpet Summit bulbs
  • Two fully adjustable 6’ lite stands

    * Helpful Accessories

  • 30×40 foam lath 3/16″
  • Camera tether
  • Tissue paper for stuffing
  • Direct pins for mounting
  • Cotton batting for stuffing
  • Wide bending lens
  • Iron or steamer
  • Photoshop or Elements
  • Mannequin
  • Bonny fashion model
  • * These items are sold separately





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