Fashion Photography: How to Select the Best Ghost Mannequin

Learn how to select the best ghost mannequin for your brand's fashion eCommerce in this guide to invisible mannequin photography.

How to Select the Best Ghost Mannequin for Your Brand

In fashion eCommerce, knowing how to select the best ghost mannequin to photograph your brand’s clothing is essential. These modular mannequins have removable pieces in the neck, arm, and chest areas to make the mannequin invisible in photos.

This technique is also known as “invisible mannequin photography”. It allows us to photograph clothing as if an invisible model is wearing it, creating a more true-to-life 3D effect. 

Product photo of dress on invisible mannequin

Ghost mannequins are available for all builds, sizes and shapes. There are invisible mannequins for men, women, and children, and sometimes we only need the mannequin’s top or bottom half. 

But how do you know how to select the best ghost mannequin for your brand’s product photography? 

In this fashion eCommerce tutorial, we will guide you through the options. We share how to select the best ghost mannequin, including what cameras, lighting, and PhotoRobot solutions to use.

Deciding on a complete body mannequin, a torso, or only legs

The first step to selecting the best ghost mannequin for your brand revolves around your brand’s line of fashion. We need to choose a mannequin that best fits the clothing we want to photograph, both now and into the future.

Different configurable mannequins and removable pieces.

If we want to photograph a t-shirt with a ghost mannequin effect, for this we only need the torso. The same is true for photography of other shirts, blazers, cardigans, coats, and anything you wear on the upper body.

For ghost mannequin photography of jeans or pants, we need only the mannequin legs. Photographing a fitted dress on a ghost mannequin might call for a full body mannequin.

Carefully consider your entire range of fashion products. Decide on a mannequin that will meet your current and future needs, whether it’s the torso, legs, or full body.

Finding invisible ghost mannequins for childrens’ fashion

Now, what if your fashion line includes kidswear and childrenswear? In this case, finding the right size mannequin can be challenging. 

Photo of small configurable mannequin for kidswear.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to find a one-size-fits-all for childrens’ mannequins. Instead, it’s important to consider categories for the sizes of clothes we need to photograph. We can then select a mannequin (or mannequins) according to age and size ranges in our categories.

But what if the perfect size mannequin doesn’t exist for your childrenswear? Thankfully, this is where styling techniques come into play. We can style clothing that doesn’t quite fit the childrens’ mannequin with clips, pins, and other accessories.

With a little styling magic, we can photograph kidswear on a smaller invisible ghost mannequin. Simply clip or pin areas of fabric that require a tighter fit, and let your photographers handle everything else.

Choosing a mannequin to suit your brand style guide

Next, with any fashion eCommerce, brands have a style guide to follow. A style guide in fashion product photography is a “blueprint” detailing how to style, photograph, and present products. It might be with flat lay photography, tabletop, or with a ghost mannequin effect.

Photo editing software user interface.

Following a style guide is crucial to establishing brand consistency. Moreover, it shows commitment to the shopper’s experience. This ultimately attracts more consumers to your webshop, triggers buyer’s confidence, and boosts conversions overall

Thus, keep consistency in visual content in mind when choosing the best invisible ghost mannequin for your products. If you intend to mostly photograph suits and ties, consider getting a mannequin purpose-built for your line of fashion.

It might be a rotating torso, legs, or a complete body - all of which you can quickly mount onto PhotoRobot’s_Cube. The main aim is to photograph your product range in a consistent fashion, while also taking into account workflow and productivity.

Getting the right size mannequin for garments

When trying to get the perfect size invisible ghost mannequin, consider your shoppers first. Who is your target consumer? What type of clothing are they looking to purchase? Is it clothes with a specific fit - slim, casual, form-fitting, sportswear? 

Photo of sheer, elegant dress on invisible mannequin.

Determine which invisible ghost mannequin to buy according to the style and fit of your main line of fashion products. If consumers mostly buy plus size menswear for example, find a mannequin with a body form that best presents the apparel.

Most importantly, you need the clothes to fit on the mannequin. Choose a size that allows clothing to flow naturally along the mannequin’s contours. It’s important the mannequin is not too large. The clothing needs to fit, and the mannequin should not stretch the material.

Remember, if the mannequin is a little too small, there are styling techniques to help you give clothes a better fit. Simply use styling clips, pins, and other accessories, all of which you can easily hide during photography.

Selecting a mannequin around your brand’s budget

Another concern when selecting the best ghost mannequin for your brand often is the budget. Invisible ghost mannequins vary widely in price, from lower quality budget-friendly solutions to high-end premium collections.

Configurable pieces for neck, chest, arms and torso.

Higher-end invisible mannequin models are of better quality, come in a matte white finish, and have additional features. These include more modularity through extra removable V-shaped pieces for photographing a wider range of neck types.

However, premium mannequins can be a significant investment. If you have a smaller product range, you might first consider purpose-made solutions for your fashion line. It’s when photographing many different styles and cuts you should consider getting a premium invisible mannequin.

Using a ghost mannequin with PhotoRobot 

Finally, no ghost mannequin photography setup is complete without PhotoRobot’s_Cube and automation software. The_Cube quickly transforms into a rotating mannequin, and includes a system for quick mannequin exchange.

Image of dress on PhotoRobot's Cube and mannequin.

The design streamlines workflow and boosts overall productivity. It gives us a way to photograph a long line of fashion and apparel in a single session. 

Meanwhile, PhotoRobot editing software provides automation, control, and drastic reduction in times for post production and time-to-web. We can save and automate style guides, and deploy Chromakey for automatic pole removal, compositing photos, and achieving the ghost mannequin effect.

To discover more on PhotoRobot studio solutions

PhotoRobot supports both Canon and Nikon cameras, while combining strobe lighting and LED panels to achieve ideal exposure, shadows, and contrast from all angles. Discover more on our product photography blog and tutorials, or follow us on YouTube for the latest videos. 

Whether it’s how to select the best ghost mannequin for your brand, or product photography techniques and trends, we share solutions by photographers for photographers.