Few things compare to actually being able to show your customers the products you’d like them to buy, and that’s never been more true than when talking about clothes.
While a detailed and accurate description is helpful, showing rather than telling helps sell tens of thousands of shirts, pants, blouses, hats, and shoes per year. If your customer is on the fence about punching in that credit card info, the right photo can put them over the top.
This is a universal truth no matter what customer you’re targeting or platform you’re using; eBay, Etsy, Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace – all of them support picture hosting, and the ‘sharper the image,’ the quicker the sale.
But how does one take an attractive photo of their clothes? Is it just a matter of snapping a quick phone pic, or is there more to it?
Let’s undress the fashion faux pas that you should move to the back of your photo-taking closet.
Firstly, understand your photo’s true goal – it may be more than one thing. Like clothes themselves, which have to be both fashionable and functional, your photos have to accomplish two things at once: they must make your clothes look their best while conveying what kind of condition they’re in. The online experience removes the ‘touch & feel’ reassurance so critical to the shopping experience, so make sure the photo gives your customer a sense of the article’s overall quality and texture.
You can have the most beautiful dress in the world, but if the photo doesn’t do it justice, prepare for your customer base to scroll on past.
A few things to sew up before breaking out the camera:
1. Get your lighting right.
Lighting is an essential part of any photography venture, helping to convey mood and atmosphere besides simply achieving exposure. When it comes to clothing photography, the aim should be to present a ‘clean’ and ‘bright’ look, reducing shadows and allowing your clothes to shine brightest. This can be achieved in various ways; finding a well-lit room or adding powerful photography lights. If you go the photo-lights route, make sure you’re investing in a two-light kit – at least. You can use both lights on either side of your outfit to create an even and dazzling light.
2. Present your clothes properly.
Either lay or hang the clothes so that the customer can see them clearly. Consider putting them on a mannequin or fluffing them, so they look full-bodied and vibrant. If they’re made of material that wrinkles easily, make sure everything is ironed and looking at its most presentable.
3. Pick the perfect background.
When taking pictures, you’re going to capture more than just your subject (the clothes). Think about what image you’d like to leave in the viewer’s mind as they scroll to the ‘checkout’ icon. You can go clean and universal using a white paper background, or you can “dress-up” your photo-taking location with patterns, colors, and props.
When choosing colors, keep in mind that you don’t want the background to absorb the clothing. Pick something that the clothing can “pop” against – a contrasting color. But also something that doesn’t distract; a cheerful-yet-muted color that contrasts your clothes will be just the right fit.
As mentioned above, there are a few ways you can ‘style’ your clothing. A mannequin is a popular method, though time-consuming. A hanger is your next-best option. And if you’re looking to go minimalist, the “flat-lay” is a classic. This means you’re laying the clothes on a flat surface and taking the picture directly from above.
Once you’re all set up, it’s time to take the picture. Don’t forget to include photos from the front, back, and sides of the clothing. Show the inside of the article if possible, never shying away from having tags, sizes, and seams. The more information for your customer, the better.
Also, show off the clothes’ most desirable features; bejeweled buttons, embellishments, and embroideries show how unique your wardrobe really is.
The last little stitch to pin is the famous camera VS phone debate. A phone is much faster, and in some ways, simpler, but you will be sacrificing the quality of your photo – yes, even with today’s incredible technology. Smartphone cameras have yet to replace the quality and detail-capturing functionality of an honest-to-goodness camera & lens setup.
Check out some of our other blogs to get pointers about photography if you want to step up your game. This is the way to really present your business with the level of professionalism that gains a consumer’s trust with a single glance.
So, crack open that closet, crank up your lights and take photos of your wardrobe with the confidence of a runway model.