How do you want to photograph your clothes? There are so many options out there and you want to make it yours!
To body form or not to body form?
I personally use a body form. I like it, I like the way you can see how the clothes hang on a body and see where the patterns fall. However, one limitation I am finding with using a body form is that I do not have a great way to create a visual outfit. I think it is so great when people add accessories and shoes to an outfit to show people what is possible with just one piece! Additionally, because I bought size 4(ish) body form, there are certain pieces that I cannot get on there without a hassle. Cassies and XXS and XS Nicoles are particular doozies. I have a decorative finial at the top of my body form (who by the way is named Queen B) and it is a bit loose. I have hit my head with that metal finial more times than I care to count taking off items from the body form, dislodging the finial and, without fail, it landing on my head. Fun time! One reason to not use a body form is cost. A quality body form is not cheap and there are many different styles and variations. I personally like the body forms that are not patterned so they do not distract from the clothes. And one body form is not the solution to showing all clothes. Kids styles require a different solution. There is also a maintenance cost one has to consider with a body form. I have had mine for about 7 months and Queen B is looking dirty. Since I have a light colored body form, the darker clothes she wears are starting to stain her shoulders so I am going to have to get a new jersey cover for her soon.
What do you do if you choose not to do a body form? There are many who lay their outfits on a decorative backdrop on top of a table with lights pointed downwards onto the table. They use a step stool in order to be tall enough to take the picture. I think this is a great look as well! I have struggled with how to mount my signage because y backdrop is paper and not attached to the wall. I use a photography backdrop holder so I can’t really nail anything into the wall. I have hung things from the backdrop holder with fishing line. My final display is always a work in progress!
There is also a question of how to label your items. I chose to use physical items. I have created and printed labels that I have mounted on cardboard and added a magnet to the back. I have a magnetic board that I use that I have standing up on a table (at the moment). I am still looking for that perfect magnetic board! I like this set up for a couple of reasons. I do not have to edit my photos after I take them. With proper lighting (which I will address below), I do not have to edit my photos. There are others that edit their pictures to add their name, style and size information! You have to decide what for you is work you do not mind doing! While I feel like editing of images to add text looks better than what I have chosen to do, it is easier for me personally because I would rather be physically doing work rather than editing in post. I have a SLEW of pictures I need to edit all the time (part-time photographer as well!).
Lighting is a key component to creating great photos. Natural light would be ideal but the reality is, who has the ability to time their photos perfectly with lighting? Not me, that is for sure. You might want to consider investing in lights. What you need depends on what equipment you are using to take your pictures. If you are planning on using your phone to take pictures, I know there areto acheive true color. And in the end that is the goal, to represent the clothes as true to reality as we can in the pictures that we are taking. I have no experience with this smaller lights but I have heard good things.
If you are going to have a more elaborate setup, I recommend thewhich you can find on Amazon. I do like these lights and they work great for the price. As a photographer, I am always looking to upgrade my equipment but these absolutely get the job done. When using these, it helps to turn of ALL the lights around you and only allowing the umbrella lights to shine on the items you are photographing.
There are a LOT of different variables that go into deciding how you want to take your pictures. My advice in to keep it simple and clean. The less distraction in the picture, the better. You want to highlight the clothes and possibly your name but that is about it! I have a feeling my set up is going to continue to change, and that is OK! What sort of setup do you like as a consultant and as a customer?