Taking pictures of your clothes to sell at your favorite online stores can be challenging, especially if you are not a professional photographer.
Most people take bad pictures because they don’t know how to make their products look good in photos, which means they have low conversion rates and short sales.
This blog post will teach you how to take great-looking pictures using simple techniques at home with just your phone – no mannequin is needed. I’ll share my best tips for taking eye-catchy images that help convert better. You’ll learn about the importance of lighting, styling, and editing so that you can create quality images without needing expensive equipment or years of experience in product photography.
I’ll walk you through each step along the way – from finding an excellent background at home up until getting our final image ready for upload on your favorite online stores like Depop, Poshmark, Vinted, etc.
But before we continue, just a quick note: I’m not a professional photographer, I’m just a fashion enthusiast who likes to sell and buy second-hand clothes online. These are the tricks I use for myself and I hope they work for you as well!
How to take flat lay pictures of clothes
To begin, what exactly is flat lay clothing photography? When it comes to product photography, flat lay is the simplest and most straightforward, and it involves laying and arranging your items on a surface or, in the case of clothes, hanging them from a wall – which, in theory, is not flat lay. Still, it’s also an excellent way to photograph apparel.
The ease of flat lay photography makes it a popular choice. It’s common practice for businesses and shops to conduct their photoshoots of clothes without mannequins because it’s easy to set up a photographic studio. You can take a lot of images in a short period, and it has a lot of styling options. Neither pricey materials nor massive photography equipment is required. A basic camera or a phone can be used for this.
When photographing flat lay images, you may use several backdrops to show off your clothing. There are many ways to dress a sweater using hangers, and fastening it to a board, table, or floor gives far more options than mannequins.
1. Prepare the photography setting
Choosing a suitable background for your clothing item mostly depends on its color and kind. A white background is recommended for apparel photography since it emphasizes the clothing product.
But you don’t have to limit yourself to a plain white background. Textures can make your pictures even more exciting and appealing. It all depends on the mood or feeling you want to give to your piece of clothing. When taking photos of white or clear color items, it’s best to have a darker background. The point is choosing a background that nicely contrasts the products.
The best surfaces to take photos of your clothes at home are the floor or a table, but you can also choose a nice wall or even the bed – just take into consideration that bed pictures can look messy, but it all depends on how you style the clothing. More on that later.
You don’t need a lot of equipment to transform any area at your home into a picture studio. Your phone and natural light are all you may need if you are on a tight budget. If your budget is a bit more generous, or if you want more flexibility in where and how you shoot, you could invest in camera equipment, but, as mentioned before, that’s not necessary.
Lighting via a window is the most cost-effective and high-quality method for photographing clothes for commercial use. A huge window that allows in a lot of natural light is a beautiful asset. Make sure to be as close as possible to your source of natural light for the best results.
If it’s a very sunny day, your pictures can come up with a lot of shadows. You can easily avoid that by placing a sheer curtain or piece of fabric to diffuse and soften the light.
So the idea is that when you use light, it does not cast harsh shadows and flatters the apparel while also filling in the entire frame. In images like this, you don’t want harsh shadows; instead, you want to highlight the beauty of the clothing product by using a soft light source.
You can acquire or rent basic studio lights if you don’t have enough natural light and can afford it. You don’t have to worry about the weather or the time of day when you use artificial light. Artificial lighting allows for a considerable boost in shooting productivity while also ensuring that the illumination is consistent from shot to shot.
2. Prepare the clothes
Ensure to inspect your clothing items thoroughly from top to bottom, the exterior and interior. Found stickers, tags, and other markings that should be taken off? Remove them. Try to avoid any wrinkles on the products. For that, make sure to either iron or steam the clothes. Trust me; your product photos will look much better!
In other cases, dust or hair can be found on the fabric, making the product less appealing to purchasers and conveying an impression of unprofessionalism to them. To make the product look its best, use a lint roller on them.
Even though it’s an obvious procedure, many photographers still skip this step in the hopes of “ironing out” wrinkles and other imperfections in post-production. Still, there’s no such thing as a magic photo editor.
3. Arrange the clothes and style them
Now it’s time to be creative and arrange the clothing on the surface you selected as a background. Try different arrangements for the clothing to make it look the best. Sometimes it’s helpful to use tape to fixate the clothes on a particular shape, but that may not always be needed. You can also choose to hang the clothes if that makes more sense for specific pieces.
Styling is when things become exciting since you’ll be able to design your photo composition using whatever looks nice. Styling is essential since it’s a tiny step that has a significant impact.
I recommend using props to make your items look more appealing, especially for the featured image. Props can make a picture stand out from the crowd and catch attention while providing the items with a vibe.
Use props that relate to the object you’re photographing. The only thing you need to worry about is making sure your frame looks good. Feel free to personalize this step in any way that works best for you. You can use anything like sunglasses or accessories. Just remember to clarify that the extra items are not included in the purchase in your product description! We don’t want to mislead the clients.
Remember to arrange and style your clothing alone and with props, as each type of picture serves a different purpose.
4. Time to take the photos!
Once your setup is ready, it’s time to shoot the pictures. Getting the appropriate angle is the first and most important piece of advice. Cameras should ideally be pointed downwards at a 90-degree angle for flat lay shots, which can be accomplished in various ways. Try holding your phone at 90 degrees while standing near your setup; this is the simplest method and possibly sufficient for our needs. Stand on a chair to make it simpler if you’re working at a table that’s too high for you.
By utilizing a tripod, you may prevent the shaky-hand effect. To use a tripod, first, get it tall, then tilt it toward the table with the first two legs and let the other leg hang in the air, then fasten it to the table for stability and set the camera angle to 90 degrees for that great overhead cinematic appearance.
If you’re hanging your clothes on a wall, you don’t need all of the above, but you may also benefit from using a tripod as the framing will remain consistent during a series of photos.
Take more photos than you think you need, so when it’s time to edit, you have more options to choose from.
For clothing images, it’s also essential to capture close-ups so that your future clients can see the texture and have a sense of the quality of the items. When relevant, it’s also necessary to include pictures of details such as embroidery, buttons, or even tags.
5. Post-processing or editing the pictures
Last but not least, the images should be post-processed or edited. Once you’ve taken all of the photos you want, load them into your favorite editing program and selectively edit each one to ensure that it’s the greatest version of what it might be.
Editing entails experimenting with everything from cropping, correcting the light settings or the exposure, adding the perfect white balance, color correction, etc. Editing completes the product images since you can play around with everything to get the greatest possible effect that you want out of the photoshoot.
But always remember, especially with apparel photos, don’t over-edit to make the items look a completely different product or color than it is! That can be misleading and cause you problems with clients returning the products because it was not what they expected. Be mindful of the edits and just use enough to enhance the photos, not completely changing the products.
Have you ever taken pictures of clothes without a mannequin? Maybe you’ve heard it’s complex or too challenging. But the truth is, with some creativity and techniques like flat lay photography, taking photos of clothing can be easy! You don’t need to go out and buy expensive equipment either – your phone will do just fine if that’s what you have on hand.
So before you shy away from doing photoshoots at home for fear that they’ll turn into an all-day event, try these tricks for quick shots of clothing in natural light. And then get ready to unleash your inner artist by experimenting with different arrangements when shooting your next outfit to sell online!