Product Photography for Websites

Alive & Dirty clothing, based in the new Liverpool 1 shopping area, came to Studiowide with a brief for fashion product photography images to go on their new website. The sports and casual wear retailer wanted potential customers who were visiting their eCommerce site, to be able to see professional images of their products in detail before making a purchase.

Professional Product photography for online shopping websites helps bring products to life, giving customers a much better idea of what they’ll be buying. If a great product is displayed badly then the likelihood of it selling well is low. However, a great product presented in the best way possible stands a far better chance of moving off the shelf.

We presented Alive & Dirty with a few examples of product photography styles which were typically used to promote fashion items on eCommerce websites. We discussed the different options for backgrounds and models/mannequins and finally settled on a style that would be perfect for them.

When undertaking this type of commercial photography project it’s essential to take photographs of the clothing from multiple angles. This allows the images to go into an image gallery on the website so that the buyer has a clear idea of how the clothes would look from a number of angles.

When clients are using online image viewers, particularly those that come with a pan and zoom facility, it’s important for us that we get the detail in the shot. This means when the image is uploaded to the website users can zoom in and check out every bit of detail. To do this we have to make sure that the lighting and clarity of the images is 100% right. This can sometimes prove to be a challenge, especially in instances such as this where the project is at the client location.

The first thing when arriving on site is to set up the studio. Since the customer wanted the mannequins to be cut-out (placed on to a brilliant white digital background) there was no real need to get the backdrop perfect, so we concentrated on putting all of our time and effort into the lighting.

We used three studio softbox lights for this shoot. We set one light up behind as a backlight, this went on a boom stand slightly above the mannequin. We then positioned a key light to the front, on the top half of the mannequin. Finally, we added a fill light pointing slightly up to diffuse the shadows and help to make the items ‘pop’.

To help us achieve as much detail as possible we set the aperture on the camera pretty high, keeping everything pin-sharp and in focus – we used at least f/11 (something for the photographic boffins who are reading this). We also kept the ISO as low as we could; in this project, we shot at ISO160.

Finally the shutter speed: since the mannequins weren’t moving we could set this quite low at 1/6th of a second. Once the camera and lighting was all set up, it was then a case of getting the mannequins dressed, ready to take the photographs.

Once all of the photographs had been taken, it was back to our studio to start editing. We had to be careful at this stage because we wanted to give the buyer the most realistic visual representation of what the clothes would look like, so we couldn’t alter too much.

We corrected the levels, balanced the lights and corrected the white balance. The final step was cutting the images out and placing them on a plain white background; this would allow the focus of the image to be the clothes, rather than having a distracting backdrop our background.

Nearly 400 product photography images were delivered on time to the customer, exactly as they wanted them, ready to go on their website for the Christmas rush!

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