Whether you're a seasoned photographer, or simply a designer who takes product photos (this is how I started out in photography), you know that a good photo can sell what you make.
It's not always tangible for you as a designer to find a photographer to shoot everything you make, and so you must learn to take some of your own photos. There are many ways to shoot your products, in ways that are engaging for your customers, but we're just going to go over a few of them.
1. "Behind the scenes".
People love to see how you create your garments, they want to experience the process of what you do. So it's important to show this to your fans, every now and then. These can be photos of you physically sewing a garment (showing a glimpse of the details), or throwing the garment on a mannequin and snapping a photo of it, just in your studio or living room. Try not to do this all the time, but once in a while is good!
2. Mannequin shot, with a simple background. Whether you use a blank wall in your home as a backdrop, or buy a studio backdrop setup, just make sure your background is very plain and simple, so that it doesn't
take away from the garment. What I did that works really well, is I have this part of my living room (which I also use as my office), that has a large window beside it, so it gets some great directional lighting, and I had my husband screw some hooks into the ceiling, and then cut down a metal bar to fit the space. Then, all I had to do was add my large roll of paper (you can find various colours of paper backdrops online, but grey is my favorite!). So when I need to shoot new product, I just move the furniture out of the way (it's quicker and easier than it looks), and I put my garment on the mannequin, and shoot away, making sure I get at least one of the front, one of the back, and any little details, like the print of the fabric, appliques, or construction details (for more interesting cuts).
3. Shooting on a model. Normally, I produce my garments in collections, and so what I would do, is team up with a local photographer and we would do a model call. Then, on the day of the shoot, I would pack up all the gowns and bring them to the location, where I would meet up with the models and photographer. While the photographer is shooting one model, I would be dressing the other ones, and then we would just sort of go in this loop, until all the gowns had been shot. A typical session would take about 1 - 1.5 hours, to shoot between 10-15 gowns. The photographer then got a custom gown or two from me in exchange for the photos and she would also sometimes charge a small "mini session" fee to the models, or do the session for free, but charge for the images. This worked out really well, and I got a great variation of images to use for social media.
Now, since I've gotten into photography in other areas of my life, I shoot all of my product photos myself, which I love doing! I just send out a model call to my friends, and find an assistant to help me with the shoot.
*Things to remember - if shooting one of a kind garments, try to find places to shoot that are clean. Also, make sure that the models aren't wearing a lot of makeup that could smudge onto the garments, or perfume.
4. Sending out your creations, or starting an affiliate program. Shipping your creations to a well known photographer, in exchange for use of photos, with them either sending the garments back to you, or keeping them, can be very risky. If you choose to do something like this, make sure you have contracts or agreements written up, so that there's no miscommunications of expectations, and everyone holds up their end of the deal.
A better way to receive a variation of photos for your products (especially if it's something you will be making more of), is to start an affiliate program or photo share program, where your clients receive a discount (this can be in the form of a small refund, or discount on future purchases), for sharing quality in use photos of your products.