Shooting clothing, help!


TPF Noob!
May 4, 2006
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Hi all, I'm a beginner trying to do some clothing photos for an online catalog.

I use a SONY MVC FD-87 digital camera, and one single floodlight (fitted with four 23W daylight balanced 5500K bulbs) as my only light source. Here's the my setup(I added a rain umbrella and liked how it soften the light a bit)

Here's my first shot. (EV at 1.0, White Balance=auto, I basically just point and shoot this photo)

Here's a photo (from a famed website) with the feel and color I'm aiming for.

I'd appreciate some expert advice on how I can make my photos more professional and more presentable. I'm not necessarily going for the floating look (transparent background), I am only trying to make it better in terms of color and lighting.

I'm not sure how to go about this as the above tools are all I have. Please give me your suggestions - whether or not more light is needed, lighting technique tips, camera use, etc. Thanks in advance for any help!
Aim to have two lights casting at the subject - one should be twice as powerful (closer or wattage). This will give the three dimensional look - your pictures are a tad flat due to the single light source.

With a consistent studio situation like you've got, it's worth doing a custom white balance - have a look in the manual and see if your camera can do this.

Photoshop, levels, curves, saturation and a little USM will make that image pop a lot and the background could be quite easily be rendered completely white - it's not bad, just a little flat and dull.

it does look flat but You could cheat abit and make the photo you have taken look like the example given using photoshop. Cut out the background and boost the contrast a bit (without mis-representing the colours of the garment). I just tried it and it looks fine. Good enough for web image anyway

i'd try and get the composition though. The example you've shown has the whole of the garment in the frame, which is probably best. you've chopped some off at the bottom and chopped abit off the neck of the manikin.
If you use a bg light, the mannequin and clothing will stand out much better. Look at your "target" photo and notice how the the bg is totally blown out, and that the eye only see the clothing and mannequin.

Good Luck.
Thanks all!

Take a look at this:
My setup now looks like this:

(My setup now compared to my 1st setup: Floodlight raised higher relative to the mannequin. Reflector pointing upward instead of horizontal to allow light to shine down on mannequin at an oblique angle. The entire setup moved a bit further from both walls.)

I think the picture is more 3-dimensional, but it seems a bit darker overall. How can I further improve it at the shooting stage w/o relying on softwares?

*my SONY MVC-87 does not have manual White Balance.

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