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Ghost Mannequin Effect for Apparel Photography

With apparel photography for e-commerce, online retailers and vendors often showcase apparel either on a live model or on a mannequin with a ghost mannequin effect. The ghost mannequin effect essentially allows you to combine photographs of a product on a model or mannequin and then make the mannequin invisible through post-product processing. The outcome is an authentic, true-to-life image that maintains focus strongly on the product.

How to create a ghost mannequin effect for apparel photography

Did you know that PhotoRobot hardware and automation software also makes it easy to create the ghost mannequin effect for apparel photography? Whether you’re shooting for still photos or 360° spins, PhotoRobot's CUBE and supported mannequins are designed with speed in mind. Meanwhile, our automation software streamlines the post-product processing to help you achieve the perfect ghost mannequin effect every time with your apparel photography.

PhotoRobot’s CUBE provides studios with a system for quick-exchange, in which one mannequin can be quickly and easily swapped out for the next in line. This means that, with multiple mannequins, you can shoot a product while also styling the next mannequin for the shoot, thus improving your overall studio workflow and helping you capture and upload more apparel photography to the web at a much faster pace.

Additionally, with PhotoRobot’s Chromakey automation software, the mannequin’s pole is automatically removed as soon as your collection of photos is ready. The software combines photos immediately and removes the pole from the final images to create the ghost mannequin effect, even on apparel with complicated edges like lace!

Invisible mannequin effect stylish dress

Significance of the ghost mannequin effect in e-commerce

With apparel photography for social media, it’s more common to use lifestyle product photography with live models in public settings. For Amazon product photography, vendors are required to shoot apparel either on live models or in a flat lay style.

In apparel photography for e-commerce, however, there is either the live model, or, more commonly, a ghost mannequin to enhance the apparel and better showcase the product. The ghost mannequin effect provides shoppers with a distraction-free experience, in which the focus remains firmly on the apparel rather than the display.

Mannequin photography installation

Most important considerations for the ghost mannequin effect

Using the best ghost mannequin for the job

Among the most important considerations when creating a ghost mannequin effect is the mannequin itself. The mannequin needs to be versatile, easily configurable and ideally should consist of moving and removable features (like a removable neck or removable arms). While these mannequins are often more expensive, they are an investment for long-term savings in time and effort in post image processing and editing. 

Especially with medium to large-scale apparel photography operations, the more versatile the ghost mannequin (or mannequins for quick-exchange), the more effective overall studio workflow becomes. PhotoRobot’s CUBE is a robot with all of this and more in mind, providing a solution that can transform into a rotating mannequin for shooting fashion photography and creating the ghost mannequin effect for all of your clothing. 

Its design allows photographers to prepare and style apparel on a separate torso which is easy to mount onto the CUBE. For larger scale apparel photography, the system can be complemented with storage for up to six additional mannequins of varying sizes and shapes. 

Photo studio setup

Creating the right lighting for the ghost mannequin effect

Beyond choosing the right mannequin for the job, the next concern is making sure you have the correct lighting for the ghost mannequin effect. To achieve this, PhotoRobot systems support strobe lighting or LED panel lights, using these to create the ideal lighting for all angles

Extremely bright and with high output, this setup provides not only a deep depth of field that maintains sharp focus on the apparel, it also appears to freeze apparel in motion so that you can capture photos without having to stop the mannequin’s rotation -- saving valuable time for each apparel photoshoot.

Capturing product photos on ghost mannequin

Compatible cameras for PhotoRobot’s ghost mannequin

PhotoRobot’s CUBE, mannequins and automation software are compatible with both Canon and Nikon cameras to support all your apparel photography needs. These cameras work in cooperation with the software to provide users the ability to control the capturing and composition processes directly from their computer.

The software also comes with a wide range of editing tools for tasks like automatic background removal, color or exposure optimization, and various tools for enhancing imagery. User-friendly and suitable for users of any level, this software makes controlling the cameras quick and easy, and achieving a ghost mannequin effect ready for online publication in a matter of minutes. 

Invisible person effect pink dress on product page

The process: creating the invisible mannequin effect in a matter of minutes

With PhotoRobot, the entire process for applying the ghost mannequin effect to apparel takes no longer than a matter of minutes. The software manages all post-processing and publishing online, with all of these features available as part of our PRESET categories -- a set of commands that lets you record and apply commands to all later items based on this style.

The process then becomes routine, no matter if you’re using a regular or an invisible torso.

  1. Capture given angles (using full spin, a few predefined positions, or both).
  2. Separate the background on all images.
  3. Retouch the pole used for the standing torso using Chromakey retouch or the automated Chromakey retouch feature to create the ghost mannequin effect.
  4. Set the lighting according to the product.
  5. Control the process to deliver ready-made apparel imagery to the client or publish directly online.

For more on apparel photography and obtaining perfect ghost mannequin results

To learn more about mastering apparel photography with PhotoRobot, feel free to dive into our blog or contact us for a free consultation with one of our specialist technicians. PhotoRobot has been in the e-commerce product photography industry for years, and our robots are designed for any operation, no matter how small or large. Discover the solutions we have on offer for e-commerce, webshops and online retail today.