Ghost mannequin photography, also known as invisible mannequin or hollow man photography, is an indispensable technique in the fashion industry. It allows clothing to be showcased in a three-dimensional form while maintaining a clean, professional appearance. Whether you’re a clothing retailer, a fashion enthusiast, or a budding photographer, this comprehensive tutorial will guide you through the steps to achieve stunning ghost mannequin photography.

1. Preparing Your Equipment

Before you start, ensure you have the following equipment ready:

  • A quality DSLR or mirrorless camera
  • A sturdy tripod
  • A mannequin that matches the clothing size and style
  • A remote shutter release or timer
  • A seamless white or gray background
  • Good lighting equipment (softboxes, strobes, or natural light)
  • Clamps to secure the clothing

2. Setting Up Your Studio

Create a controlled environment with consistent lighting. Choose a spacious and well-lit room. Set up your seamless background, ensuring it’s wrinkle-free. Place the mannequin in the center and adjust it to the desired height. Make sure the mannequin is clean and lint-free.

3. Dressing the Mannequin

Dress the mannequin in the garment you want to photograph. Pay attention to details like wrinkles and creases. Ensure the garment fits the mannequin perfectly, and adjust as needed.

4. Positioning the Camera

Mount your camera on a tripod and ensure it’s level. Position the camera at the mannequin’s eye level. The camera should be at a 90-degree angle to the mannequin. This is crucial to maintain the correct perspective for later editing.

5. Capturing the Images

  • Set your camera to manual mode.
  • Use a low ISO for minimal noise.
  • Choose a small aperture (e.g., f/8 to f/11) for sharpness.
  • Adjust the shutter speed and aperture to achieve a proper exposure.
  • Frame the shot so the clothing is centered and fills the frame.
  • Take multiple shots from different angles, capturing all the details.

6. Post-Processing

To create the ghost mannequin effect, you’ll need to perform some post-processing and image editing work. Here are the key steps:

  1. Image Selection: Choose the best images that showcase the clothing and capture all details.
  2. Background Removal: Use photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop to remove the background, leaving only the mannequin and clothing. Be meticulous to avoid any visible traces.
  3. Ghost Mannequin Effect: Combine the images to create the ghost mannequin effect. Merge the front and back images, ensuring the garment looks seamless.
  4. Color Correction: Adjust the colors to match the true appearance of the garment. Pay attention to consistency.
  5. Retouching: Retouch the final image for any imperfections or stray threads.
  6. Export: Save the image in a suitable format for online or print use.


Q1: Can I use a smartphone for ghost mannequin photography?

A1: While smartphones can take great photos, using a DSLR or mirrorless camera with manual controls is recommended for better results.

Q2: Do I need professional editing software like Photoshop?

A2: Professional software like Photoshop is ideal for achieving precise results, but there are free or more accessible alternatives like GIMP or online editing tools.

Q3: What is the ideal lighting setup for ghost mannequin photography?

A3: Soft, even lighting is essential. You can use natural light or invest in softboxes and strobes to achieve this.

Q4: How do I avoid reflections in the clothing when photographing shiny fabrics?

A4: Adjust the lighting angles and use diffusers to minimize reflections. Additionally, post-processing can help eliminate unwanted reflections.

Q5: Are there any legal considerations when photographing clothing with branding?

A5: Always ensure you have the necessary permissions or licensing to display branded clothing items in your photographs, especially for commercial use.


This ghost mannequin photography tutorial covered the basics. With the right equipment and a step-by-step approach, you can create stunning images that showcase clothing in its best light. Remember to pay attention to detail during each step of the process, and with practice, your ghost mannequin photography will become a valuable asset in your visual marketing arsenal.

This page was last edited on 4 January 2024, at 8:00 am