Selling women's clothes - taking decent pictures

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It's all very well selling a fantastic Karen Millen dress that's been seen on just about every red carpet this season, but you need a decent photo to show it off. Here is my guide to taking a decent photo of your gorgeous garment.

  1. Decent camera: Yes it's an obvious one, and yes, they are expensive, but if you only sell a few things once in a while I'm sure you know someone who can lend you a decent digital camera. They are simple to use, you don't need to faff around with film developing, and the grainy mobile phone photographs that are all too common on eBay pale in comparison to a digital camera photo. So if you sell regularly you can buy one second hand (on eBay of all places!) for a decent price, and if not, I bet you can borrow one.
  2. Good lighting: Don't take the photo in a dark room. Even with a flash it can make the photo grainy and shadowy i.e bad. So make sure it's nice and light in the room. I always turn on the lights in whatever room I'm taking the photos in.
  3. Model/Don't Model: Selling an item that looks downright fabulous on you? Unlikely. Why would you be selling it if that was the case? But it does happen sometimes, and in those cases then definitely model it. Otherwise use a dummy (if you have one, I don't) or just lay the garment flat and photograph it that way. If you do model the item, make sure you're against a plain background (a pale wall or dark curtains work well) and 3/4 facing the camera (that makes you look slimmest and shows off the item to its best). If the item is backless or has any detailing on the back take a photo of that view as well. It is a general rule though that you waste energy hanging the item on a hanger and photographing it that way because 9 times out of 10 it looks better just laid flat on a surface.
  4. Backgrounds: This is all down to the colour of the item. I have 2 basic backgrounds in my house: a white/blue tiled kitchen floor for jeans or anything dark and a dark-wood pannelled floor for light items and bright colours. A cream carpet or the white sheet on your bed are great for taking photos of items laid flat.
  5. Flash! Always use a flash! It is incredible for ironing out wrinkles and blemishes in the garment believe me!
  6. The Edit: Very occasionally you'll take a perfect photo that needs no editing but normally you'll need to do some basic editing. This isn't as daunting as it sounds, I'm completely clueless but there are simple steps you can take. Once the pictures are loaded on to your PC open them in the system default picture editor. I use Microsoft Picture Manager which is on most modern PCs. Go to edit pictures and crop the picture so that you've eliminated most of the dead space around the item. If modelled, then cut out your head, leaving just your torso (or legs if it's jeans etc). Then click a magic button called Auto Correct. It will balance the colour/brightness/contrast etc automatically. Beware though, on red and bright pink items the Auto Correct occasionally makes the colours too bright.
And that's it! That's the guide to successfully photographing your stunning clothes.
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