How to photograph a hoodie on a ghost mannequin

In this tutorial, we show you how to achieve an invisible man effect when photographing a hoodie

Casual, comfortable and worn all year round, hoodies are a mainstay of most brands' collections. Yet when photographed on a tabletop, they can sometimes lose their appeal by looking flat and lifeless. So in this fashion product photography tutorial, we will show you how to photograph one using a special ghost mannequin to get an effect as if an invisible man were wearing it. 

Instead of being a trick done in imaging editing software, using a ghost mannequin gives the effect of the hoodie being worn by an invisible person.  This is done by removing arm and chest pieces so the mannequin is not visible in shot. 

By using a ghost mannequin and following this tutorial, you can drastically cut the time it takes to achieve this invisible man effect - which is usually done by photographing the clothes inside out and compositing the two images. 

First, let's run through what you'll be needing in this tutorial.

The equipment you need

  • Camera - Any camera will suffice but a Canon EOS 5D Mk III is recommended as a standard for professional product photography
  • Studio lighting - Continuous cool LED lamps are recommended to ensure exposure, shadows and contrast are kept consistent
  • Your hoodie - Any type of hooded jumper, whether it's zip up or pullover
  • A ghost mannequin - These modular mannequins have removable chest and arm pieces that become invisible in-shot
  • Styling clips and pins - A combination of clips and pins can be used to give the hoodie a more fitted look
  • Tissue paper - Stuffing the hood with tissue paper helps give it a more rounded shape that looks better in your final shot
 
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1. Dress the mannequin

Start by unzipping the hoodie and dress the mannequin (or pull it over, depending on the style of hoodie). Take the time to pull the sleeves down, ensuring the shoulders are aligned evenly and get rid of any excessive creasing. 

 
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2. Level the arms 

It's sometimes possible that your final shot can look as if one arm is ahead of the other, so make sure the arms of the mannequin line up evenly. 

 

3. Remove the neck piece

To show the inner lining of the hoodie, simply remove the neck piece. 

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4. Style the hood

The way a hood looks on a hoodie is pretty important. Take your time making sure it lays back nice and evenly. Stuff in some tissue paper to give it a nice, rounded look. 

 

 
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5. Style the drawstrings

As most hoodies have drawstrings falling on the front side, make sure they are even by pulling on either side of the string. 

 

And shoot...

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What we'd really appreciate is...

Thanks for reading our tutorial on styling and photographing a hoodie on a ghost mannequin — part of our ongoing series of tutorials on product photography, styling and lighting. If you found it useful, why don’t you head on over to our Youtube channel and subscribe?

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Stephen Warr