Fashion is a visually dominated industry with apparel photos on websites, in brand lookbooks, and on the cover of top magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. If your brand’s apparel photographs aren’t best presenting your clothing line, you risk losing customer and fashion buyer sales, accumulating overstock, and ultimately, damaging your brand’s profits and potential. That said, here’s everything you need to know about capturing high quality apparel with fashion photography to help you market your clothing line effectively.
Fashion Photography vs. Apparel Photography
While scrolling through websites of high-end brands like Gucci and Burberry, you will likely come across a variety of different types of photographs – ones with only apparel and others with models styled in the brand’s line. Having both types of photographs helps customers by giving them both the convenience to examine the product itself and see how it looks on a person without having to try it on.
Fashion photography captures your line as worn by models and is focused on branding. Through choosing strategic locations and models, fashion photography offers an opportunity for customers to form associations with something they find appealing in your photos.
Apparel photography, on the other hand, focuses solely on the product. This type of photography works best if your customers prefer a simplified browsing experience with minimal distractions from your clothes themselves.
The majority of photographs you’ll come across when browsing a brand’s website or lookbook will be apparel photographs, plus a few fashion photographs. Unconsciously, customer eyes are more drawn to the model’s face rather than the product itself, which is why many brands choose not to include more than a few.
The Art of Style
At the launch of your line, customers need to be able to understand your brand’s style and personality. This makes it important to capture high-quality and well positioned photographs of your products. If you have a tight budget and are capturing your own photos, or if you are looking for a checklist of suggestions for your hired photographer, check out these tips for capturing quality photos.
For apparel photographs, we recommend being consistent with how you place apparel and changing up your angles. If you have any straps, tassels, or embellishments, make sure they all have consistent positioning as well. Through this focal point, customers can easily compare different, well-aligned images of the product. Take plenty of shots to compare and determine the best photographs later.
For fashion photography with models, keep hairstyles and outfit placements relatively consistent in between photographs for a single season’s wardrobe, but experiment with new poses. Using your camera, you can easily change up the angles in between shots to offer new perspectives of the apparel. Try shooting from low angles to make the model appear taller, and shoot from above if you want to make the model appear shorter. We recommend being creative and trying new angles to capture unique shots – maybe capture some shots by lying down or standing on a ladder.
You can’t have a successful photoshoot if you don’t plan a wardrobe and products you want to portray in your photographs. Think strategically about apparel placement in apparel or fashion photography. If you want your main focal point in a photograph set to be a purse, don’t get carried away with layering on too many other wardrobe picks for a model or featuring a lot of background objects.
Lighting can determine how high-quality and high-end your line looks. During the shoot, you can experiment with different lighting placements to determine what fits best for the shoot. We recommend bringing a main light source for the front of the garment or model and bringing some strobe lights if you want a background ambiance. Don’t worry if you don’t have a professional lighting source – anything from a ring light to a beauty dish can work wonders.
Strategically, it’s best to keep the eye on the prize – the product. Having poppy or flashy backgrounds or side objects can distract customers from solely focusing on what’s being marketed. For both apparel and fashion photoshoots, shoot in a minimalist environment – anything from a white background to a simple and familiar environment. However, depending on your end goal, you may seek a location that is more visually appealing. Before you pick a location, do your research on other similar brands and your target market to see what types of photographs will most likely inspire their purchases.
If you are planning a fashion photoshoot, you’ll have to hire a model. Models can be expensive, so plan according to your budget. If you have a limited budget, consider hiring an inexpensive model and pay attention to their personality.
Looking for a serious model with limited emotions? Hire a model with a serious personality. Want a bright and colorful photoshoot? Look for a cheerful and happy model.
Keep the vibe of the photoshoot kind and positive. Don’t be afraid to give your model instructions on how to pose and be willing to hear their suggestions. If the model feels comfortable and confident in the environment, the photos will look more natural.
After the Photoshoot
Once you have gathered your photographs, you are ready to start editing and using them to market your line. Use platforms like Photoshop or Lightroom to make small changes to your images, but don’t get too carried away. It’s important to keep the pictures looking realistic and natural. If you hired a professional photographer, be sure to let them know what types of filters and edits work best for your clothes and brand vision.
Amulya Agrawal is a student from Missouri who is passionate about writing and creating creative content. She is currently a Content Marketing Intern for MakersValley and hopes to inspire designers with her content. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and advocating in her community.