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Invisible Ghost Mannequin Photography – A Comprehensive Guide

In today’s online shopping world, taking great pictures of products is super important. It helps people see what they’re buying. Ghost Mannequin Photography is a cool new way to take pictures of clothes without using a real person or mannequin. This makes the clothes look like they’re floating and makes them look really good. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about what Invisible Ghost Mannequin Photography is?  We will also know why it’s better than the old way of taking pictures of products. Let’s find out how this neat trick can make clothes look awesome!

What is Ghost Mannequin Photography?

Imagine that a product is floating in mid-air, and a model or a visible mannequin is not used. 

Isn’t it interesting? Yes, this is called ghost mannequin photography. It is a technique to create images of clothing and other products that appear to be floating in mid-air.

In invisible mannequin photography, people capture the image of a product on a mannequin or a hanger and then edit out the mannequin or hanger in post-production to create a “ghost” effect. Ghost mannequin product photography is an effective way for the e-commerce and fashion industries to showcase products.  Anyone can create high-quality images of a product that capture the details by using invisible ghost mannequin photography. Ghost mannequin photography also makes it easier for customers to make a purchase decision. If you can make the right preparation and editing, this type of photography can be a powerful tool for your business, enhancing your product photography.

Ghost Mannequin vs Flat Lay Photography

For e-commerce product photography, two effective styles are available for showing products. One is a dummy, and another is a flat lay. Many think deciding which style you will use depends on your budget, but I think something else. The difference between Flat Lay and Mannequin photography is a strategic choice that profoundly influences how you present your products and resonates with your target audience.

However, I have discussed both styles below for a better understanding.

Ghost mannequin:

ghost mannequin photography example

Ghost mannequin photography is a popular technique used in commercial photography, like the fashion industry, to showcase clothing items’ fit and intricate details without the distraction of a mannequin. Ghost Mannequin Photography, or invisible mannequin photography, is a very effective way to present clothing products without obstructions. 

In this type of product photography, you usually just need to remove the mannequin from the photo in post-production and leave only the product visible. 


  • With more unique designs, customers can see a detailed view of the clothing’s cut and details.
  • Make it easier for customers to comprehend.
  • It can be used for various types of clothing.
  • It allows the product to be captured from various angles.


  • We need an experienced stylist to properly arrange the product on the mannequin.
  • It is time-consuming compared to others due to the advanced post-production process.
  • We will need a mannequin, which is costly.

Flat Lay Photography:

Flat lay clothing photography example

Flat lay photography is a technique in which you place the product on a flat surface, facing upwards, and capture it from above. It is also a popular product in the photography style.

Flat-lay photography allows for better visibility of cut differences, like straight/slim or leg width in pants. So, this technique is more workable for fashion brands that offer standard products such as t-shirts, pants, or hoodies. With visible folds flat, from products laid flat to naturally hanging items, flat-lay photos can achieve various effects.


  • It can showcase differences in cuts without special styling.
  • Photos will have a consistent look.
  • Ideal for showcasing prints or embroidery.
  • Can photograph products of different sizes.


  • Customers may have difficulty understanding how the product will look on them because of the pack shots taken with this method.
  • You can’t photograph the product from different perspectives.

However, ghost mannequins and flatlays are both effective and unique methods for product photography. Before selecting the appropriate technique for your fashion brand and products, carefully consider the pros and cons.

Why is it a game changer for online businesses?

Ghost mannequin photography is known as a game changer for online retailers. With the help of ghost mannequin photography, you can increase your sales and brand familiarity very fast. With a high-quality ghost mannequin photo, you can grab customers’ attention very easily. You can use this technique if you need help increasing your online sales. It may be a game-changer for your online business. Some benefits of ghost mannequin photography include the fact that it plays a vital role in increasing online sales.

It elevates your brand image: The consistency and high-quality presentation of your product images can set them apart from others. For customers to trust your brand, it needs a polished, professional look, which the ghost mannequin effect can give.

Saves time and money: Photographing with models is time-consuming and expensive. But with the help of the ghost mannequin process, you can save both time and money. Also, without the logistical headaches, you can get high-quality images.

It will enhance your shopping experience: Before shopping online, customers want to experience the in-store experience as closely as possible. The ghost mannequin effect allows customers to try your products virtually before they buy by providing multiple angles and views.

Makes products more realistic: Before shopping online, people love to learn about what they’re buying. The ghost mannequin effect can help make your fashion products look more realistic as if they are being tried on in a store. 

It can enhance clarity: While shopping online, customers normally rely on visuals. They want to imagine how the product might look and fit in real life, and the ghost mannequin effect can add clarity to your images, helping customers to do so.

Help to grab customer attention: A well-executed ghost mannequin effect can easily grab customers’ attention and make your clothing products stand out.

A step-by-step guide to ghost mannequin photography

Ghost mannequin photography is an advanced technique that can be done by professionals. But newbie product photographers can also achieve outstanding results if they have the right approach and guidance. Below, I have written a step-by-step guide to ghost mannequin photography. With these steps, you can elevate your product presentations to the next level.

Plan your photoshoot

Planning your shoot is the number one step to mastering ghost mannequin photography. After setting up your white backdrop, prep your product selection. Don’t forget to gather all the mannequins you need. With white backgrounds, try to use white mannequins, as they make image editing and retouching infinitely easier. Also, remember to ensure that you are proficient in camera and lighting techniques. High-quality toys are the key to getting the perfect invisible mannequin shotsEvery finalist product image will require at least three to four shots for each item. If your product has an abstract shape or an ethical profile, it can sometimes take more. To put your ghost mannequin composition together, you will need an extra set of hands to help you get all the shots you need.

Prepare your clothing & accessories

Prepare your clothing and accessories by selecting items that work well for you. Some of the best garments to photograph with a ghost mannequin are shirts, jackets, coats, blazers, and dresses. To tighten the clothes, you may need clips, pins, tape, tissue paper, and other items.

Ghost mannequins are available in a wide range of sizes and styles. If you do not choose the right mannequin, your clothes will not fit properly. Make sure you have a variety of mannequins on hand before you start shooting your clothes.

Set up your Studio

Ensure that your Studio is all set up before the shooting. With proper lighting, create a controlled environment in your Studio. Also, to eliminate distractions, use a clean background.

Photography Equipment Set Up

Ensure that your Studio is all set up before the shooting. With proper lighting, create a controlled environment in your Studio. Also, to eliminate distractions, use a clean background.


For capturing high-resolution images of ghost mannequins, it is preferable to have a good DSLR or mirrorless camera with manual settings and interchangeable lenses. Depending on your budget, choose a camera that offers features suitable for product photography. According to my experience, Canon 6D Mark II is overall the best and Sony Alpha A7R III is good for mirrorless fans. If you are a Nikon fan then Nikon D850 is the best choice.

Camera Settings: 

For ghost mannequin photography, getting the camera settings right is key to capturing sharp, detailed images. Here’s a simple guide to help you set up your camera:

  • Manual Mode: Switch your camera to manual mode to have full control over the settings.
  • ISO: Keep the ISO low, around 100 or 200, to minimize noise and ensure the image is clean.
  • Aperture: Choose a small aperture, like f/8 to f/11, to get a good depth of field that keeps the entire garment in focus.
  • Shutter Speed: Adjust the shutter speed so that it works with your aperture to give you a well-exposed image. This might be around 1/125th if you’re indoors with studio lighting.


To ensure consistent framing across multiple shots, you will need a sturdy tripod to keep the camera stable. A tripod will make your image more sharper by avoiding camera shakes. 


Lighting plays an essential role in photography. Try to use soft, diffused lighting for your clothing photography because soft lighting will avoid harsh shadows. To bring out the mannequin’s three-dimensional shape and highlight textures, try to position your light sources at angles to the mannequin.


Try to use a simple white or gray backdrop to make your post-production editing easier. A busy background will create distractions between customers and products. Customers will need help understanding the details and real colour of the product. So, to give your image a realistic look, using a white background is preferable.

Framing & Composition:

Remember to pay attention to how you frame your shots. Try to position your camera on the height of the dummy’s chest or head. Fill the frame with the clothing by keeping the dummy centred in the frame. To create a cohesive look for your catalogue, it is essential to have consistency in angles for the front, back, and side shots.

Capture your images:

After you have all the setup ready, it’s time to capture your images. Try to capture a minimum of 3 to 4 shots for each product. Don’t forget to capture the picture from a front or back shot, on a mannequin or model, and flat lay, which can be taken on a front/back shot on a white foam board. When you digitally remove the mannequin in Photoshop, you should snap a few shots of the product inside out to fill in the void left.

Best practices & pro tips for ghost mannequin photography

The best ghost mannequin shot is an art. You must learn about technique, equipment, and post-production skills to achieve a great shot. Below are expert tips on ghost mannequins to help you refine your photography.

  • If you want to ensure a better fit for the clothing, choose the right mannequin. Always try to choose an adjustable mannequin that matches your target demographic’s size and shape. 
  • For consistent results, a controlled studio environment is needed. Try to use soft diffused lighting, as it can minimize shadows and is less prone to wrong lamp positioning than hard directional light.
  • If you want to remove the mannequin and seamlessly insert the parts covered by the mannequin in the main shot, you will need to use advanced editing software. You must always be focused on details.
  • A neutral background can make post-production editing easier and avoid unwanted colour casts. So try to use a white or light gray background. It also ensures the product stands out.
  • To get a complete view of the product, capture it from various angles. You can take pictures from the front, back, and sides and take close-ups of intricate details.
  • Always avoid over-editing. If you don’t want to make the product look unnatural, strive for a balance while editing. We know that editing is an important part of photography, but remember, doing it can damage our image quality.
  • If you want to ensure uniformity across product listings, try to maintain a consistent camera height for all products.
  • Try to use reference points to mark positions for the mannequin, camera, and lighting. This way, when shooting multiple products, you can ensure consistency.
  • To capture a sharper image, invest in quality lenses. A good lens can reduce the need for extensive post-production sharpening. For brilliance in fabric texture rendition, the lens plays a vital role.
  • Always try to use a high-resolution camera to capture every product detail. This will help customers examine textures and design elements more closely and enhance visual appeal.

How to edit a ghost mannequin?

Post-production editing is essential after you capture your images to achieve the ghost mannequin effect. You can remove the background and any distracting elements from the images with the help of photo editing software. Also, you can adjust brightness, contrast, and color balance in post-production to enhance the clothing’s appearance. To create the illusion of an invisible model wearing the garment, you can seamlessly merge the front and back shots.

Here is the process of editing ghost mannequin photography using Adobe Photoshop.

  • First, open Adobe Photoshop and upload your image to File > Open.
  • To create a clipping path, use the pen tool from the main toolbar.
  • Choose and create a new path.
  • With the help of a pen tool, draw a clipping path around your product. Draw a line around the subject and leave the unwanted parts in the image.
  • When creating a clipping path around the product, use the shortcut ‘Ctrl + Enter’ to select the clipping path.
  • Go to ‘Select > Modify > Feather’ or use ‘Shift + F6 to apply a 0.5mm feather for smoother edges.
  • Use ‘Ctrl + J’ to make a new layer, Layer 1.
  • Now, mask the copy layer after copying the background layer. In the medial position, choose a solid color layer.
  • Open another image in Photoshop after selecting it.
  • Now, adjust this layer in your main layer. Use a warp to adjust it.
  • To get rid of the unnecessary parts, create a clipping path again.
  • To smooth edges and inverse, apply ‘Select > Modify > Feather’ or ‘Shift+F6’ and Ctrl + I.
  • In the back part, the shadow is applied by creating a path. 
  • For smoothness click ‘Select > Modify > Feather’ or ‘Shift+F6’
  • Multiply the layer after creating a copy and masking the layer.

Now, you have perfect shadow and ghost effects on your photos. You can also edit your ghost mannequin photography with these easy steps.

Benefits Of Outsourcing Ghost Mannequin Photo Editing Service

Outsourcing allows you to dedicate your time to other core aspects of your business, such as product development, marketing, and customer service. Hiring a professional ghost mannequin photo editing service provider can be significantly cost-effective than maintaining an in-house team. Professional service providers have the expertise and experience to deliver high-quality, consistent results, ensuring a seamless and professional look for your product images. Outsourcing allows you to adjust your photo editing needs based on seasonal fluctuations or marketing campaigns without hiring permanent staff. Professional service providers can often provide a faster turnaround time, promptly ensuring your product images are ready for marketing and sales. 

Outsourcing partners stay up-to-date with the latest photo editing techniques and software, ensuring your images are edited using the most advanced tools. Professional ghost mannequin photo editing services specialize in product photography, providing a deep understanding of how to showcase your products effectively. Outsourcing partners can efficiently handle large volumes of product images, saving you time and resources. 

As your business grows, you can easily scale your photo editing needs by increasing your outsourcing capacity. Knowing that professionals are handling your product images can provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Frequently Asked Question(FAQ)

The cost of ghost mannequin photography depends on the image quality and type. Also, not all companies charge the same rate. It can cost you from $0.99 to $35 per image. So, first, decide which platform you want to use for your ghost mannequin photography, then talk with them about the cost, and they will explain it in detail.

Ghost mannequin photo editing is a process in which you remove the mannequin and background from the image in post production to give the clothing image a ghostly feel. For this, you need to hire an expert who can edit your image and make it more realistic.

Ghost mannequin service seems like behind-the-scenes wizardry. It can make clothes look amazing on websites. In this service, photographers don’t use any real models. They just use mannequins and cleverly capture the image. Then, they edit the picture in post-production and make the dummy disappear.

As a newbie photographer, you don’t need to set up a studio for ghost mannequins. You can capture the image outside and then edit it properly. You will need to find the right location where you can get proper lighting and set up the dummy to take pictures.


Ghost mannequin photography is a unique and powerful technique for clothing brands and online retailers that want to effectively showcase their products. With the perfect invisible ghost mannequin photography, you can create stunning images that captivate your audience and drive sales.  The right equipment, attention to detail, and ghost mannequin photo editing in post-production are key to a successful ghost mannequin photo.

I have written detailed guidelines for creating ghost mannequin photography above. Hopefully, you have learned the technique of capturing invisible mannequin photography after reading the article.

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