If you indulge in the spectacle of social media, you’ve probably heard the term “ghosting” thrown around recently. Particularly when it comes to relationships— just ask Charlene!

But in the photography world, ghosting means something entirely different and it’s not just a buzzword blip on the radar…it’s got real roots and likely longevity!  A ghost mannequin – also known as “invisible mannequin photography” is utilized by fashion brands to illustrate fit and offer product details without the limiting perception of human models.  The effect is a powerful post-production technique for apparel product photography that solves the showcase problem while boasting tech-savvy in our digital world. For those with a fondness for the nitty gritty– the ghost mannequin effect is executed by taking multiple images of a product on a model or mannequin.  The images are then combined digitally creating a 3D or a hollow effect.  Next step is to remove the model or mannequin in post-production processing to delete all potential distractions. The ultimate result is a lifelike image that keeps the focus firmly on your product, which is perfectly ideal for E-commerce sites where the expectation of fit accuracy is paramount and what you see should be what you get.  A satisfied customer turns into a repeat customer- that’s all treats and no tricks!

Over time, the technique has evolved to be far less time exhaustive with the introduction of ghost or invisible mannequins.   The true professional beauty of ghosted mannequins is that they’re built with options and ease, two concepts the industry covets.  Multiple cutouts allow the shooter to remove pieces/body parts showcasing more of the product while reducing retouching time.  Less time on set and in post means higher production and more economical answers. Many of our clients are drawn to our high-volume and extensive product photography.  The ghost effect is just another great service adding to the “shots that sell” category. Unlike lay flat photography, utilizing the ghost mannequin effect allows your customer to view the actual fit and additional garment details giving them extra consumer confidence.  Historically, brands relied on shooting with a model but talent is expensive, time consuming and unpredictable.  Aside from the guaranteed absence of attitude, however, the most appealing benefit of ghost mannequins is the complete focus on the product. The technique offers a great online user experience without the distraction of an oddly posed and colored mannequin. It can also remove the attention that a model commands in a photo shoot.  Instead of your customer’s consideration on the product the model and a pretty face can become the spotlight.  At Brenner Photo Productions, we think the product should be the star.  Speaking of stars…without further ado, please meet our new friends from our favorite “Ghost” movie, Oda Mae Brown and Sam!  With this duo, we can offer more cost-effective solutions for apparel brands and the creative agencies that represent them.  They’re the first to set and last to leave, fitting since our staff epitomizes the same dedication!

Before our “Ghost” stars arrived, our digital crew would need to manually remove all distracting body parts in Photoshop to create the ghost effect, (very time consuming).  Now, we can remove pieces/body parts on set to reduce retouching time without compromising the fit.  The mannequin’s cutout options allow the online shopper to see the inside of the product, offering further details and a more virtual experience.

Using Ghosted Mannequins removes all distractions, making the garment the complete focus.
If you’ve never been on set for an apparel shoot, you might not know the effort and time expended to style clothes on form. Regardless of the form type, steaming, pinning, and stuffing is required to make the product look its best. Sometimes the only available samples can run big or small, making a challenge for the fit and even with a mannequin, there is time and talent required to enhance the clothes to a perfect fit. While retouching can take care of garment imperfections, some wrinkles, or color issues, Photoshop is not the magic many rely on It to be.  It is best to prepare the item as much as possible on set so the process relies on less time in retouching.  Furthermore, studio provided stylists come at a hefty charge, $750 – 1200/day – depending on the talent and area.  That can be a tremendously overwhelming cost for a startup or boutique brand.  Luckily, Brenner Photo Productions provides you a veritable photographer and stylist in one due to our photographers’ extensive apparel experience.  We have the capabilities to cover light styling and lower shot quantities without a stylist which means BPP always strives to support your bottom line without sacrificing quality.
If you or your client are in the apparel business, you are confronted with the challenge of demonstrating a product’s fit and its details without overspending or losing the customer to the next big swipe.  The most successful E-commerce companies rely heavily on professional photography, giving the customer the best user experience possible.  Images that create clear expectations make shoppers happy, and happy shoppers make happy buyers.  According to BigCommerce, 67% of consumers consider image quality “very important” when making a purchase online. A consumer wants the closest experience possible to having the product in hand and trying a garment on without leaving their couch.  With high-quality imagery and a ghost mannequin, a shopper can nearly feel the product, visualize the fit, and review product’s unknown idiosyncrasies…like how a bikini ties or how a sleeve drapes.  The number one ECommerce platform, Shopify explains the importance of high-quality photography “More than half of online shoppers think that product photos are more important than product information, reviews, and ratings. Your images are like windows into your store, and the more representative they are, the more buyers trust you and the momentum they build towards completing a purchase”. Some brands like Rent the Runway, where expectation and authenticity mean so much use both model and ghost mannequin options.  More images mean a more virtual shopping experience, good images encourage site traffic, excellent images drive sales.
If you are seeking a practical but profitable solution to impressively represent your apparel brand, consider going to an expert with a ghost mannequin inventory, namely, Brenner Photo Productions. 😉  We are ready to show you our on-set mastery of styling enhancement and post-production retouching perfection.  Together let’s create the real product expectation that your customers crave to turn that shopping cart into a checkout.

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