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Fashion photography used to be confined to glossy magazines and retail catalogs had to maximise their photography skills to showcase each outfit. Now, e-commerce has flourished and there are about 1.92 billion global digital buyers in 2019.

A style of photography has emerged that has editorial influences and gives customers a full view of each garment. Retail photography has become so important it can make or break your website.

Not sure how to execute a successful retail photo campaign? Read on to find out.

Prepare Your Garments

It’s essential that your product is in top condition and hasn’t been wrinkled or stained from storage or transport. Many photographers amend these issues with Photoshop but this can compromise the image’s quality and require mastered advanced editing techniques.

To avoid any mishaps, examine your product from top to bottom. If there are any issues, use your resources to smooth these over. For example, investing in a lint roller will help remove any dust or extra strings from fabric.

Decide on Your Audience and Message

Before you orchestrate the shoot, decide how the photography will portray your brand. Having this information will influence the model you choose, the product images and what style to aim for.

Once you understand how to appeal to your target audience, the process will run smoother. The photographer will take better fashion pictures once they understand your brand’s values. Or the stylist can curate outfits that will have a greater appeal to your audience. These stylistic decisions will help every stage of production and establish your brand’s identity.

Understand Who Your Super-Merchandiser Is

Before you set up the shoot online, there must be a super-merchandiser on your team. This person knows the inventory products well and understands each product’s best-selling points.

They’ll also know of the buying habits and lifestyles of the target audience so they’ll know how to pitch aspects of the products to the buyer. Their knowledge will improve how the final images turn out and the team must involve them throughout the process.

Create a Photography Style Guide

You can’t jump into the shoot without a blueprint. A photography style guide is a mood board to help photographers and stylists. It shows them what images to create to ensure they are consistent in aesthetics and quality.

Your style guide should cover:

∙ How the model should pose

∙ How the products are styled (flat lay or on a mannequin)

∙ What type of lights and setups are needed

∙ What framings are required

To keep production running smoothly, make sure the style guide is comprehensive and easy-to-follow. Not only will the finished product look refined but it will reduce the amount of reshooting you may need to do.

Prepare for the Shoot

As there are many competitors in e-commerce, it’s essential to optimise every photo shoot to ensure the line will appeal to your customer base.

For a successful photo shoot, you must have:

Photographer or Camera

You don’t have to splash out on an expensive fashion photography camera to take good images. Begin with what you have and scale your equipment as your store grows. But for the best image results, it’s wise to hire a fashion photographer to capture your stores products.

Good photographers have an eye for visuals and will have a strong technical understanding of their equipment. The photographer will work with the stylist to ensure the images are high quality and best capture your brand’s identity.

Neutral Background

Your background is essential as it must complement your product. Invest in a white sweep which is a backdrop that runs seamlessly from the vertical to the horizontal plane. It’s key to avoid sharp edges otherwise light bounces around.Keep to the same white or grey background as consistent product images are far more professional and add to the appeal of your website. Also, it helps reduce post-production time.


Lighting can influence how well your photos will turn out. Natural light is inconsistent, and it’s most likely you’ll use studio lighting during the shoot. Artificial lighting gives you more control over the process which is useful if you’re shooting multiple products.

Bright lighting should be your top priority and images must be exposed to showcase the products’ colours and other details. All clothing is different so adjusting the lighting to the right setting will let customers appreciate the unique features of each garment.

Photography shoots are also a team sport

For larger projects, you may have fifty looks to go through which means everyone must be engaged and focus on their job. If one member makes a mistake, then the whole shoot could suffer.


The retouching will perfect your fashion pictures and let you create a uniform look across the board. Lighting and background are two issues that often require tweaking and editing can smooth these out. Also, Photoshop helps correct skin and enhance specific details in the clothes.

Post-processing can range from background removal to colour correction and can make your fashion photo far more credible.

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Provide Enough Imagery

After the retail photography shoot, double-check you have enough images. One or two images of each product aren’t enough to give customers an accurate representation of your product’s quality. To give customers as much information as possible, upload at least four images of the product. Include the front, side, and back view of the product, along with a detail shot.

If there are any features on your garment like embellishment or embroidery, consider using a close-up photo. Providing more images will improve the customer’s shopping experience and increases the chances of product satisfaction when it arrives.

Must be Compatible Across Several Viewing Platforms

Over half of smartphone users will make at least one digital purchase from their device.

It’s essential that all your product images and website are compatible over several viewing platforms, including desktop, tablet, and mobile. All three reach many potential buyers so it’s important to maximise your chances.

Are You Ready To Try Retail Photography?

Now you understand the importance of retail photography, it’s time to have a go! Before you start, you must understand your brand identity and which products to use in your campaign. Understand their unique selling points and what features best align with your target audience’s interests. Only then, will you be able to have a productive photo shoot and produce high-quality product images. Good luck!

Need some help with your retail photography? We'd love to hear from you. Contact me here for more details.

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