TCL Logo white small

How to Photograph Clothes Without a Model or Mannequin in 2024


How to Photograph Clothes Without a Model or Mannequin - Tech Cloud Ltd

Many online store owners believe that clothing photography requires the hire of a model or the purchase of expensive mannequins. But, this is not true. It’s important to showcase your clothing products as best they can when it comes to e-commerce.

However, how can you photograph clothes without a mannequin?

In this article, we’ll share the most unique Ideas and tips on how to achieve great clothing photography without a mannequin or model.

Benefits of photographing clothes without a model or mannequin

Taking clothing photographs without using a mannequin or a model has several benefits. Some of them are as follows:

I. Cost savings

Hiring a model or purchasing a mannequin can be expensive. Your business can benefit from saving money by photographing clothes without them.

II. Increased versatility

When you don’t rely on a model or mannequin, you have the freedom to showcase your clothes in various ways.

III. Product focus

Without a model or mannequin, the focus of the photograph is solely on the clothes themselves. This allows potential customers to see the details, colors, and textures of the garments more clearly.

IV. Time efficiency

Working with models or mannequins can be time-consuming. The process of photographing clothes without them can streamline your workflow and allow you to capture and showcase more products faster.

V. Convenience

Photographing clothes without a model or mannequin offers a great deal of convenience. At any time, you can create your own photography area and capture images without relying on external schedules.

How to photograph clothes without a mannequin and model

How to photograph clothes - Tech Cloud Ltd

Photographing clothes without a model or a mannequin can be both practical and creative.

Here are 12 ways on how to photograph clothes without a mannequin or a model:

1. Opt for flat lay clothing photography

Opt flat lay clothing photography - Tech Cloud Ltd

Flat Lays are very popular among eCommerce clothing business owners. It provides an opportunity to capture clothing images without needing to invest in mannequins or models.

Moreover, flat lays require far less equipment than other types of clothing photography.

This approach involves laying clothes down on a flat surface like a table or floor and capturing the image straight above.

You can go for flat lays because this technique is versatile and makes it easy to implement creative ideas during your photoshoots. We have a complete guide on flat-lay photography. If you are interested, you can check it out. It’s definitely worth a read!

2. Hang your apparel items

Hanging garments for taking picture - Tech Cloud Ltd

If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to photograph clothes without using a mannequin or model, hanging your garments is the way to go.

All you need is a sturdy clothing rack or hanger, a backdrop, some lighting, and a camera, and you’re all set for this technique.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Set up your rack or hanger in front of the backdrop.
  • Carefully hang your clothing item, ensuring it looks neat and presentable.
  • Setup your lighting in a way that enhances the appearance of the garment.
  • Capture the photograph, and don’t hesitate to repeat the process if necessary.

3. Embrace the folded stack

Folded stack of clothes - Tech Cloud Ltd

If you’re aiming to present your clothing items in a neat and organized way through your product photos, the folded stack technique is worth considering.

It’s a creative approach to capturing clothing images without relying on mannequins or models.

Here’s how you can master this technique:

  • Start by ensuring your clothes are free from any wrinkles, dust, or dirt.
  • Lay the apparel item you want to fold flat on a clean surface.
  • If applicable, neatly fold the sleeves.
  • Fold all your clothes in half vertically to create uniformity.
  • Stack the folded garments while keeping them aligned at the edges and corners.
  • Adjust the clothing stack as needed.

4. Try the ghost mannequin technique

Ghost mannequin - Tech Cloud Ltd

Have you ever wanted to achieve lifelike 3D images without the hassle of hiring a model or investing in expensive mannequins? Well, the ghost mannequin technique might just be the solution for you.

In this approach, you or any of your friends can play the role of the model in your photo shooting session.

Once you’ve completed your photography session, simply send the images to a reputable ghost mannequin service provider, and they’ll take care of the rest.

Using cutting-edge image editing techniques, they’ll precisely remove any trace of the model or mannequin, leaving you with realistic clothing images.

5. Introduce fusion of shots

When it comes to clothing photography, the usual approach is to capture the entire garment in one shot. While this provides a great overall view of the item, it may not showcase the fine details and textures that make it special.

On the other hand, a typical macro shot focuses on highlighting specific details but lacks a comprehensive view.

Why not combine the best of both worlds? Implement the fusion technique: utilize flat lays to capture the front and back of each part of the garment and complement it with some macro shots to showcase the intricate details such as stitching, patterns, and textures.

6. Make use of towels

If you want to know a simple and budget-friendly technique on how to photograph clothes without the need for a model or mannequin, then this method is perfect for you. All you need are some towels and a few basic tools.

Here are simple steps you can follow:

  • Roll up the towels: Start by rolling up the towels to create shapes that resemble the torso, arms, and legs. This will serve as your makeshift form to display the clothes.
  • Secure the towels: Use rubber bands, tape, or string to secure the towels together and maintain the desired shape. This will ensure that your towel form stays in place throughout the photoshoot.
  • Dress the towel form: Now comes the fun part! Dress the towel form with the clothes you want to photograph. Position them as needed to showcase the fit and style of each garment.

While using towels may not yield the same level of realism as mannequins or models, you can bridge the gap by utilizing product retouching and commercial image editing methods.

With a little post-production magic, you can enhance the appearance of the photographs and make them look almost as good as if they were captured with professional models or mannequins.

7. Go for a model photo replacement

If you’re eager to learn how to capture stunning clothing photos without relying on a mannequin or model but still find yourself contemplating the idea of investing in them, don’t worry.

Here is the solution:

It’s as simple as using the same technique mentioned above: take a photo of the garment while it’s being worn by someone or displayed on a mannequin. Then, utilize precise eCommerce image editing techniques to replace the person/mannequin with the image of a model.

Expert image editors can easily do it by using stock model images and advanced Photoshop tools. As a result, you can get professional-looking images that rival the quality of other high-end clothing photography options but at a fraction of the cost.

8. Embrace the power of AI model tools

The world of AI is transforming various aspects of our lives, and photography is no exception. Even though AI is still in its early stages, professional AI tools have emerged that can perform remarkable tasks that were previously challenging or even impossible to achieve.

When it comes to capturing clothing photos without a mannequin or model, some paid AI tools offer the option to add virtual models to your images.

However, it’s important to exercise caution with this approach. While these tools can provide some level of convenience, the results may not be comparable to utilizing a physical model or employing expert image editing and retouching techniques.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the cost of these tools can be high. So, while AI model tools offer exciting possibilities, it’s essential to consider the trade-offs and explore other options that align with your budget and desired outcome.

9. Take advantage of UGC

You may be wondering how User-Generated Content (UGC) can come to your rescue in photographing clothes without a model or mannequin.

Well, let us break it down for you. In your apparel business, you undoubtedly have customers who purchase clothing from your online store. So, why not encourage them to share their own photos wearing your clothes?

You’ll be surprised at how many of them are willing to participate. In fact, some may even give you permission to use their photos as product images, free of charge, if you simply ask.

In this way, you can obtain authentic clothing images without the need to hire a model or invest in a mannequin. It’s a win-win situation.

Your customers get the opportunity to showcase their style, and you get high-quality visuals for your products. Plus, it adds a personal touch that resonates with your audience.

10. Use hands to showcase

Here’s a nifty trick to showcase your clothes without the need for a model or mannequin: capture shots of yourself or someone else holding the clothing items in front of them.

You don’t have to worry about showing faces if you prefer to keep the focus solely on the garments.

This approach adds a personal touch to your images and allows viewers to imagine themselves wearing the garment. It’s a simple yet effective method that adds a touch of personality to your product images, all while bypassing the need for models or mannequins.

11. Utilize wired dress form

We understand that models and mannequins can be quite costly, especially if you’re working with a limited budget. Fortunately, there’s a more affordable option that can still deliver impressive results: wired dress forms.

Unlike traditional mannequins that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, wired dress forms typically fall within the range of $50 to $200. This makes them a more accessible option for those on a budget.

Here’s what you need to know before investing in them:

  • Choose the right dress form: When selecting a wired dress form, it’s essential to consider your specific clothing requirements. Look for one that closely matches the size and shape of your garments. This will ensure a proper fit and accurate representation in your photographs.
  • Adjustability is key: Opt for a wired dress form that comes with adjustable knobs. This feature allows you to modify the dimensions of the form to your desired size and shape. By customizing the dress form, you can ensure that your clothing items are showcased in the most flattering way possible.

12. Make use of your trusty fan

What if we told you there’s a way to give shape to your clothes and add a touch of creativity to your clothing photography? And no, we’re not suggesting investing in a mannequin or hiring a model.

Instead, we are encouraging you to make use of your trusty table fan to create a temporary form.

Here is how you can make it work:

  • Fan placement is crucial: Start by hanging the cloth you want to photograph and position your table fan strategically. Experiment with blowing air from different directions to find the best angle for your desired effect. Depending on the fabric and style of the garment, you can blow air directly at or under the cloth or even from straight above the cloth.
  • Multiple fans for stronger wind: If you have access to multiple small fans, it can make the process easier. The combined power of these fans will provide you options to experiment and generate a stronger wind to form the desired shape.
  • Experiment and manipulate: The key here is to experiment with different fan positions, angles, and airflow intensities. As the fan blows air, watch as the garments start to ripple and take form. Use your hands to gently shape and manipulate the clothes while the fan is running. Smooth out any wrinkles or creases, and guide the fabric to create the desired silhouette.

Important Note: Remember to exercise caution when working with electrical appliances. Place the fan in a secure position, ensuring it won’t tip over during operation. Also, make sure the fan is placed in a safe location, away from any flammable materials, and never leave it unattended while in operation.

Pros and cons of photograph clothes without a model or mannequin

There are several pros and cons to consider when opting not to hire a model or invest in an expensive mannequin.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors:


  • You don’t have to invest your time and energy into finding a model.
  • You can save money by not hiring a model or buying a mannequin.
  • Model/mannequin-free photography often allows more creative freedom.
  • Without a model or mannequin, the focus shifts solely to the clothing itself.
  • You will have the flexibility to showcase different sizes and styles.


  • Not using a model means a lack of human element in the photo.
  • Without a model or mannequin, it is difficult to convey the fit of the clothing.
  • Styling the clothing might be a little harder to do without a model.

In a nutshell

In order to take gorgeous clothing photos without a model, flat lays or hanging clothes are usually suggested. The ideas we have explored will help you look at clothing photography differently and ignite your creativity.

Take it one step at a time, see what works for you, and keep it going. In case you need post-production help for your clothing photos, you can always reach out to us.

You’ll eventually achieve perfect results if you experiment with a variety of ideas, tips, and techniques. Never give up if you don’t achieve the best results right away. Keep practicing!

FAQ on how to photograph clothes without a mannequin or model

1. How can I capture clothing photos without using a mannequin?

You can try different methods like flat-lays, hanging the clothes, or using creative techniques such as fusion shots, ghost mannequins, or even a wind machine to achieve mannequin-free clothing photos.

2. What do I need to set up my own fashion photography studio?

All you need is a spacious room with good lighting, backdrop stands, lighting equipment for proper illumination, and a collection of props and accessories to enhance your styling.

3. What does photography post-production involve?

Photography post-production refers to the editing and enhancement process that takes place after a photoshoot. It includes tasks like retouching, color correction and adding special effects to ensure your images look their best.

4. How can I optimize my clothing photos for eCommerce?

To optimize your clothing photos for eCommerce, make sure you have high-quality images with proper lighting, accurate colors, and multiple angles. Additionally, use a clean and consistent background, showcase product details, and optimize your image files for SEO purposes.

5. What is the purpose of the neck joint in ghost mannequin services?

The neck joint service is a crucial part of ghost mannequin services. It ensures that the interior part of the clothing, specifically the neck area, seamlessly combines with the exterior parts, creating a cohesive and visually appealing look.

Related Posts!

Do you have a project in mind?

You are just one step away...