E-Commerce Clothing Photography
In this live workshop, now available to watch as a replay, Karl demonstrates simple methods for achieving perfect white backgrounds when shooting clothing for e-commerce purposes.
The first setup involves a white T-shirt on a hanger. Karl begins by revealing the kind of mistakes inexperienced photographers commonly make with this kind of setup, before showing you how to avoid them. He also reveals an effective trick got maintaining the shape of the garment on the hanger.
As Karl experiments with different lighting modifiers and props, you’ll learn the best ways to shoot white clothing on a white background.
Next, Karl shoots a patterned suit on a mannequin, revealing the versatility of the lighting setup he has created while making small adjustments to alter the exposure and contrast.
Moving on to a flat-lay arrangement, Karl shows you how to achieve a perfect white background behind the garment. He then lights the product itself and solves various problems as they come up.
As always, Karl answers members’ questions as he works, clarifying key points and concepts.
In this class:
- Lighting techniques for e-commerce clothing photography
- White backgrounds with no cut-outs
- How to photograph clothing
- Common product photography mistakes and how to avoid them
If you enjoy this live workshop, be sure to check out Photographing White Products on a White Background and Shadowless Lighting for Photographing Products on White.
Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.
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Hi, Karl, as you have mentioned that some photography have done 10-15% grey background instead of pure white, how can we measure that the background is 10-15% grey while photographing tethered？
Hi, if you’re measuring RGB values then 10% grey would be R236, G236, B236. or it will be 90% white.
Thank you, Karl
Karl, Would a 120×180 softbox allow you to take a full length shot of Stiffanie with enough of a gap between her and the softbox? or would you use a different lighting setup for full length?
I have noticed that even though your Hassleblad is capable of syncing with flash at very fast shutter speeds (in the case of the 90mm on the x2d its an insane 1/4000 of a second) you usually seem to keep your cameras synced at no more than 1/400th and in the case of this video you seemed reluctant to even push that to 1/500. In another video I watched recently you also opted to turn down the ambient light rather than go up a stop or two in shutter speed to eliminate the ambient.
I assume there is a good reason for this, can you point me to where i can read about or watch where this is explained, or perhaps you could explain it here. Is there a downside to shooting at 1/1000th or higher?
My sony A1 sync’s up to 1/400 and i have thought of getting a Hassleblad mirrorless many times to have that option of syncing much higher speeds outdoors to avoid resorting to ND filters or using “High speed sync”.
Hi Ryan, Yes very well spotted. It depends entirely on which lens I’m using on which Hasselblad camera and also the flash duration of the lights I’m using at the time and their settings. I would say I don’t often need to turn the ambient or modelling lights down and if I do turn them down it’s more to show the audience who may not have high sync speeds available the first option they can try. In relation to the lenses some of the older H6 lenses can only sync at 1/800th and if I’m using a high power my flash duration may actually be longer than that so by going to a high sync speed I may even cut out some of my flash lights exposure. If I’m using very fast flash duration at low powers then this wouldn’t be a problem but it’s still worth running some tests to check the syncing is 100%, you can do this by seeing if the flash exposure remains the same even if you turn all the lights off and do a 1 sec exposure with flash and then do the same with the fast flash sync speed. If nothing changes then you have no sync issues. I have shot fashion on location before and used 1/1000th of sec shutter speed to cut out daylight only to find that I lost some flash power as it was cutting off some of the flash so I actually had to increase flash power or add another one to compensate. In the studio I’d have no problem using 1/500th all the time but it’s often not necessary especially if I’m shooting at f11 as well. Using ND filters is a way of reducing your daylight ambient but of course you need more flash power to compensate.
Thanks Karl for the explanation. I probably could have worked that one out on my own now that I refer to the flash duration chart of one of my commonly used battery powered strobes. It hits speeds as slow as 1/230th of a second at full power. That means even my Sony A1 is likely cutting some of my exposure even at it’s “slow” 1/400th sync speed when popping on full power (the sync speed is one of the reasons I switched from the Nikon Z9). I had never really considered comparing those figures until you just pointed out so thanks a lot for that.
This missing equation in my thought process on weather i need to invest in a leaf shutter camera or not, will really help in my final decision.
The other reason I asked to pull from your many years of experience with leaf shutter Hassleblad cameras, is I feel like I have in the back of my mind years ago somewhere some photographer stated to me or I read that in some way there is some other kind of impact on the image when syncing at high shutter speeds over 1000th. I can’t think of any physics reason that would be the case, but not to be redundant in rewording my question, but is there any other impact other than exposure using high shutter speeds in a studio environment might pose?
In other words with ALL ambient eliminated will an image taken at 1/200th look identical to a photo taken at 1/2000th provided the flash unit keeps a neutral output color and that your flash duration is faster than your shutter speed (taken of a static subject)?
Thanks again Karl.
Hi Ryan, the short answer is not really. With modern focal plane shutters compared to leaf shutters. Older design focal plane shutters could result in what’s called rolling shutter where objects moving quickly across the frame look like the they were leaning over more than they were but this isn’t an issue anymore on most cameras due to the way a focal plane shutter operates, some even combining and electronic shutter with the focal plane mechanical one from what I understand. Possibly things that run at very high hertz on and off such as certain electric lamps/screens could be caught to look like they vary in exposure from one side to the other on a focal plane shutter but that’s all I can think of. The disadvantages of leaf shutters are they make the lenses more expensive because they are in each lens. The advantage though is they stay more accurate over a greater period of time and you are making less shutter actuations than with focal plane (in camera) because you are using multiple lenses. Having the shutter in the lens means the camera body can of course be smaller and too, you will also find they are quieter, especially on the mark ii XCD lenses. My recent tests on the X2D lenses and camera have shown me how good the lens quality and sensor combination is especially up to fll even compared to my H6 (it’s better than my H6) so for me it’s not just about the leaf shutter it’s about the whole image and what it provides. Yes the sync speed is a great advantage to me but in a studio environment it’s not really that important. The Sony A1 is an outstanding camera, I think the best 35mm there is and many people claim it rivals medium format. I haven’t tested one against the X2D but I would suggest you visit a store that has an X2D and shoot the same images on a tripod out on the street with both cameras and try to capture areas of high contrast and look at the results. If you can rent one, even better because then you can test it with flash and in other situations. You would never be happy with the focusing or frames per second compared to the Sony but it all depends on the way you work and what you are after.
Thank you Karl for taking the time to write detailed answers to my questions. It’s funny how you have to be careful in this industry as one piece of incorrect information can stick with you. Its one of the reasons I love what you guys do here at KTE as you can be confident the information is based on practical results with a heavy stress on the actual physics in achieving beautiful images.
fabulous really enjoyed this lots of tips and approaches I can put to use in my small home studio and keen to try them out. Thanks so much for the energetic motivated shows adding to my knowledge and confidence in my own people and products shots work.
Due to my 22+ years advertising background I aqcuired so many diverse and strong creative skills in photography, video, graphics, logo, illustration and web design, even 3D, I find it hard to choose just one direction, focus and niche down to market myself in one area only and have a fear to do so.
My biggest challenge is how to take my skills and make myself a business, Ive had enough of working for companies that change direction and ending up with the role being made redundant just last week yet again. Additionally, now in my late 50s, despite all I have to offer in experience and skills, its increasingly harder to land an interview let alone a full time job due to lack of companies being open and diverse and inclusive around age and more, so I find myself again considering how I can best market myself to attempt again to go it alone offering a service to small/mid size companies and individuals.
john leigh, London UK
Hi John, based on your experience it sounds like a design studio offering a multiple of services could be the way to go. I see many small agencies of just 1 to 5 people offering all of the services you listed hoping to take care of all of a clients requirements. Obviously the success of such an outfit comes down to the work you can produce and how well you can market it to people through an effective website. Additionally I see one man bands studios, outsourcing some if it but still showing it as ‘in house’ without any problems.
Thank you so much for the feedback and thoughts, I really appreciate your input at this time it means a lot as I reach another crossroads in direction and life.
Whilst I have had some decent success with a variety of photography and video projects around footwear for a specific client, as well as some portrait/headshot/fashion & concept shoots for actors, performers, models, its not enough to keep the lights on. I do love photographing people and products and the post production and VFX side of that and if I could make that work for me as a business on its own with my other creative services mainly to help out at times as well as supporting my own photography work in creative ways that would be the perfect setup.
Meanwhile as I aim for that, I have been thinking about marketing, advertising and some light direct pitching to appropriate clients to help promote my range of creative services and solutions for the work I would like to do and promote myself as a force of one.
I see all the time the advice is to pick just one subject, niche it down to something so small and specific so one can become the “expert” in just that – but for me I think this may be too restrictive and so my risk and gambit could be as you say to bite the bullet and aim to offer a range of services in a way as to show this as a positive rather than the negative many seem to associate with a multidisciplinary offering.
john Leigh, London UK
Hi John, the whole pick one thing as a photographer only really used to cut it if you were at the top of the field in that Genre or aiming to be there and nothing else. Even the top people in a particular field of stills have had to diversify into film and CGI. It’s not the same as it used to be, the world is transitioning (and technology) into ‘visual artists’ and it’s not a single thing anymore. As you would have probably noticed our own platform has been making our own path to fulfil the needs of those visual artists by introducing the different genres that will define the future of professionals of tomorrow.
Thannk you so much – super helpful and supportive to have your feedback and thoughts!
Good timing for me… Thanks Karl! (BTW my Karl Taylor “cones” arrive in Texas from B&H today)
Hi John, excellent I hope you enjoy using them!