5 crucial timesaving tips when steaming and organising your rail before a photoshoot

Having a well organised clothing rail is vital to a smooth running process in every photography studio. In this product photography tutorial, you will learn how to organise and group your products on the rail, gaining efficiency and leaving more time for great styling.

Running a photo studio is not an easy task, running a smooth and efficient process in that is harder still - what with the frantic, and often messy nature of most setups. So it’s vital that your clothes, garments and accessories are neatly organised to make the most out of your time. 

Spending less time on the logistics side, by having a smooth process, you can take a lot more time to get the right shots of your products. It also allows you more time to experiment, and come up with unique, interesting and flavourful new ways to help your brand stand through your web imagery. 

View the video tutorial

What you need to organise and prepare your rail before a shoot

1. Steam your garments in advance

It’s a no-brainer, but no one wants to see creases on their new clothes - unless of course they’re part of the style, but that’s a whole different subject matter to get in to. Either way, it’s important to make sure your clothes are neatly steamed and ironed to remove any obvious creases.

Steaming your clothes 1 day in advance of your shoot is recommended. Not only does steaming them give your shirts, coats, dresses etc a more angular, defined look but it becomes easier to professionally style them.  


2. Iron out creases

Make sure you really get all of the creases out, and use an iron where you need to. Button down your clothes and collars before steaming, and make sure you take care of those cuffs too. 

Take care when ironing, a rushed job means you will only have to spend more time doing it again, and as said before, it’s recommended to do this ideally 1 day in advance of your shoot. 


3. Prepare your styling tools

Every stylist needs a set of essential tools to help them style their clothes effectively. From scissors to clips, paper and tape. these tools are indispensable to the modern day fashion photographer. 

Not sure what tools you need? Check out our tutorial on styling toolkit essentials to find out what tools every professional stylist should have at the ready. 


4. Remove dust, hair and dirt with a lint roller and brush

Even straight from the factory, there can be a number of unsavoury articles on your clothes. Dust, speckles and human hair are abundant everywhere, so even if they’ve been left on the rail your garments have time to accrue dirt. 

Ensure every one of your garments has been cleaned with a lint roller and dusted with a brush where needed before shooting to avoid spending time having to clean, despeckle or do anything but style. 


5. Group your clothes and prepare your rail

Every studio likes to run their shoots differently, so it’s important that you find a workflow that works best for you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Group your garments on the rail in ways that make sense before a shoot. For example, separate your dark clothes from light ones so you won’t have to constantly fiddle with exposure settings on your camera.

Clothes that need to be shot on a mannequin should be grouped together with the corresponding size in order to save time on shooting. It can also be an idea to group men’s and women’s clothes separately, or perhaps group together what you know you’ll be shooting flat lay vs hanging and vice versa. 

Don’t pack your rail too tightly, either. Doing so can cause creases and undoes all that hard work you put into steaming.

Most importantly, find and prepare an easy way of working that makes the most sense for you and your setup. Whether you’re shooting hundreds of clothes or just a few, a nicely prepared rail and workflow that fits around you saves you tonnes of time in the long run. 

And with more time saved, you’ll have more time to come up with amazing new ways to style your clothes for your web store. 

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Stephen Warr