What is Mannequin Photography?

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Mannequin photography is a photograph that utilizes a mannequin to visualize an item (usually an article of clothing) three-dimensionally. For ecommerce purposes, ghost mannequin photography is the preferred technique for photographing clothing.


  • Cheaper than hiring a model

  • Helps to show the shape, drape, and strengths of the clothing

  • Shows more dimension than flat lay photography

  • Provides a 360 degree view of the clothing

  • Mannequins can display clothes, jewelry, sports equipment, and other items

  • Customers usually respond better to mannequin photography over flat lay photography


  • Ghost mannequin photography requires a special mannequin and/or extensive editing post production

  • The cost of having a wide range of mannequins can add up

  • You can’t alter clothing on a mannequin in the same way that you can for a model

Why You Want Mannequin Photography


Mannequin photography adds a 3 dimensional perspective to photos allowing customers to form a better idea of how an item will look in person. If using ghost mannequin photography, the interior of your product is also visible which is an advantage for sales. Studies have shown that customers respond better to mannequin photography compared to model or flat lay photography

Types of Mannequin Photography

  • Mannequin photography is simply when a mannequin is used in a photo. 

  • Ghost mannequin photography (also known as invisible photography, or “hollow man”) is when you eliminate the mannequin in the photo leaving only the subject as the focus. This technique allows for the interior of your product to also be visible.

There are two ways to achieve ghost mannequin photography. You can buy a specialized mannequin intended for ghost photography. These mannequins have removable parts so only the body part you want to show off your clothing with will be visible.

Ghost mannequin photography can also be done by extensively editing your photo in post production. This technique is complicated and requires combining multiple photos of your product into one photo and removing any parts of the mannequin still visible. The result is customers can see the interior and exterior of your subject in one photo.

Cost of Mannequin Photography


The service costs of mannequin photography ranges between $20 – $90 per photo.

Most professional photography services usually only offer ghost photography as their mannequin photography option because this is the preferred and more effective option.

If shooting mannequin photography yourself, a basic mannequin ranges from around $50 to as high as $300 per photo.

If you chose to shoot ghost mannequin photography yourself, ghost mannequins range from $119 – $1,327.

Note different size mannequins (full body, half body) have different prices.



The equipment needed for mannequin photography involves a mannequin, standard lighting, a quality camera, and items such as clothespins, tape, or clips to create adjustments on your product. Dropyourimage.com has more details on how to achieve mannequin photography. Use a mannequin intended for the product you’re photographing. For example, if photographing women’s clothes, use a female mannequin, if photographing kids clothes use a child mannequin.

Choosing Mannequin or Model


When deciding to go with a mannequin or model to show your clothing you’ll need to decide the pros and cons for each. A mannequin is more cost effective but alternating clothing on a mannequin is also more time consuming. A model can change into and make adjustments to  multiple clothes quicker, although photos with a model often require more editing than mannequin photography. Mannequin photography allows for the interior of an item to be seen, an aspect not possible with a model. You are also not depending on hiring and paying a model when using mannequin photography.



Mannequin photography is cost effective and sells clothing and jewelry most effectively. Studies show that customers respond better to mannequin photography compared to model or flat lay photography. Mannequin photography also has the advantage of showing the interior of the product which is why mannequin photography is a popular choice for clothing photography.


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Sydney Abraham

Sydney has experience in content writing, journalism, essays, and historical fiction. She graduated Westmont College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Minor in Writing.

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