Tips: Preparing a Shirt for Drop-Off Product Photography
Oct 8, 2020 | By: Studio Lumen
When we introduced our 'Drop Off Product Photography' service, what we had in mind was helping our clients trade something they don't always have a lot of (cash), for something they had more of (time), during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
It takes time to prepare things for photography, to get the really high end and professional images that people need to sell their stuff. But our time can't be free, and so the less time we can spend on doing those tasks, the more savings we could offer the customer.
But we quickly realized that our clients don't necessarily know how to prepare things for their shoot, so it has been on the back of my mind for a while to write posts sharing what is important to watch out for, and how to get those items to us in good shape. Our cameras are VERY high resolution, and our lights look great on clothes, but also show any details, easily removed, that your customers don't need to see.
I will use as an example a simple garment, with zero reflectivity (as in, not shiny like a bottle, like patent leather or plastic). Preparing something that is shiny is a separate post! So I'll assume it's a matte finish garment.
There are five main things that come to mind when preparing your garment:
Wrinkles and Creases
Wrinkles and Creases
The best way to deal with these is to steam or iron them. A simple hand-held steamer works wonders, or if the fabric doesn't mind, an iron does too. Be careful though, irons can mess with certain fabrics in undesirable ways. The example above was actually steamed before we shot it, but I sat on it to get it wrinkled again for this blog post. You can see the properly cared for shot below!
We usually don't even notice dust on our shirts, unless we're going for a photoshoot! Or maybe that's just me.
First off, try to make sure your garment doesn't touch too much dusty stuff at home, at your manufacturing facility, or in transport. Then, a simple lint roller usually does the trick! Any tiny little speck is captured by the camera, so little hairs, fluffs, particles, pieces of thread, or other debris, should be taken care of. If you don't have a lint roller, you can take a loop of masking tape, big enough for your fingers to fit in, and roll it around the fabric. It's essentially the same thing!
Very often when we receive garments, there are little threads, still attached, that are sticking out at various parts of the stitching. Sometimes we can just pull the garment tight, and it retracts. If it's a little loop, try that first. If it's just a loose end, snip it off! Your customers don't need to see these in the sample shots online.
It has surprised us how important size is when photographing garments on a mannequin or a model. Any extra material looks baggy, and takes a lot of time to clip on set to make it look ok, and even then it's not perfect. There's not a lot we can do about a shirt's shoulders drooping over the edge of the mannequin. Fixing ill-fitting items in post-production can be done to some degree, but it takes a lot more time and is never perfect. The solution to this is a fitting session. Bring us ahead of time a sample of the items you need photographed in all sizes available, so we can ensure that on shoot day, everything fits and there is no extra time spent clipping, and later photoshopping away, all the extra material. Once have a sense of your general sizing, then usually we don't need to do this later on.
The last piece of this is how to get the garment you've prepared to us, without ruining all the work you've just done! A hanger is your friend, preferably a wide plastic or wooden one, and not one of those wire ones you get from the dry cleaner. The wire ones will only put new creases in the garment. Next, wrap the items in a plastic bag, just like the dry cleaner ones, or find something similar, and make sure not to fold them when you put them in the car. When we receive your items, we make sure to hang them up as well, to minimize any further creasing.
So that's it! Do all these things, and your images should come out great, and it will minimize your costs.