Go With These Lighting Tips To Make Perfect Clothing Photography

Alex Maleki - Jun 2022

Photography changes the way we desire things, and among the stuff that we are able to buy, clothes are one of them. Thanks to e-commerce clothing have a lot to be grateful for photography nowadays. Many people buy their apparel online because it is reliable and easy to do, things with clothing have gone so far that we even have services like Trunk Club in which they built our wardrobe for us.

Today we’ll cover a few tips that will help you out for achieving great looking clothing photographs, but first, let’s talk about the major types of clothes pictures.

  • Still-life: These are usually used for showing a product at any regular e-commerce platform. Here, clothes can be laying still or could be wear by a mannequin or even a model (which faces usually remain outside the frame of the photograph).
  • Lifestyle: These kinds of photographs usually carry a concept and has more to do with advertising rather than a buying experience.
  • Fashion: From highly conceptual stuff to catwalks, fashion photography is a separate world that should be covered alone in another article.

Said that we can dive further into still-life clothing photography, which is the most useful photography for any entrepreneur, and we will help you out into keeping it budget friendly:

Natural light will be your best friend

From big bright windows to your own backyard, natural light sources will always give you not just a cheap solution but also a delicate and pleasant look to your pictures. Try to avoid harsh lights though, so if you are going to take your clothes outside make sure that the sun is almost setting (or rising) in order to avoid hard shadows on your clothing.

This technique should be used when clothes are being displayed in a three-dimensional format (with a model or a mannequin), for flat still-life clothing you’ll need some extra help from artificial lighting sources and pristine surfaces as well.

A white backdrop will make things easier for you

The whole purpose of being able to show your clothes is for people to buy them, and showing your products in an honest and objective way is the best strategy you can make if you actually want to sell. Creating a white backdrop is not as tricky as it sounds, you just need a white wall or a white blanket.

A white wall requires a little bit of effort but is perhaps the best way to do things right. If you are not ready to invest in some white painting, you can also hang a white blanket for creating a nice and smooth white backdrop. What you have to mind here is that the blanket needs to be thick and without textures.

Pro Tip: When taking photographs use a small aperture value (something between f/11 and f/16 should work) in order to avoid shallow depths of field, which may look cool in some photographs, but for a product is not a wise move due to light distortions.

One flash solution

Since we are talking about keeping things within budget we’ll stop here when it comes to adding light sources. A well-lit window and an off-camera flash should work nicely for you.

The following lighting scheme will make things easier for you:

Alright, what is happening in the lighting scheme above is the following. Nice and beautiful light is coming from the window, bathing your clothes and the mannequin as well. Soft light coming out of the flash, but not in a direct way. This could be achieved by two ways, directly towards the clothes, or by bouncing the light to a near white wall. The bouncing wall should be white as well in order to avoid weird colored casts in your clothes.

Pro Tip: The minimum things that you need for making your off-camera flash a powerful tool:

  • A sturdy lighting stand, which is different from a regular tripod
  • A softbox or a flash umbrella
  • Wireless capabilities in order to enhance your mobility

We hope that this brief guide should encourage you into taking better pictures of your products after all the big reason for lighting your clothes correctly is to flatter them. You love your products, and with those simple tips, they’ll look just like how they deserve.

PS: You do need a mannequin if you want to get this right, just hanging clothes from a hanger is not a smart move because clothes tend to look odd and even weary when using a simple hanger.

Federico Alegría



Article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 2010 – 2018.

At Coconut Product Photography, we specialize in eCommerce Photography. We capture customer attention so that you can close the deal at a price that is sure to give you a great return on investment. Simply give us your products and we make them look great with clear, professional, and creative pictures you will absolutely love.

Coconut Product Photography helps many awesome retailers with their eCommerce photography. We offer best prices in the industry and each image is professionally shot and edited in our studio by our experienced staff. Please contact us if you have any questions or if you want to make an order.

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