Ghost (Invisible) Mannequin Effect: The Ultimate Guide 2023 (Step-by-Step)

by RetouchMaster

In the ever-evolving realm of fashion photography and e-commerce, a remarkable editing technique has emerged, captivating the industry and consumers alike – the Ghost Mannequin Technique. This innovative approach has revolutionized the way garments are presented, creating visually stunning images that showcase clothing in an ethereal and captivating manner.

The Ghost Mannequin Technique, also known as the Invisible Mannequin or Hollow Man technique, involves seamlessly blending multiple images of a garment worn by a mannequin or model, artfully removing the mannequin itself to leave behind a floating, ghostly effect that highlights the clothing's shape and fit.

The impact of this mesmerizing illusion on online retailers and fashion brands has been profound, with statistics showing a significant increase in conversion rates of up to 30% for websites that have adopted this method.

By allowing customers to visualize the clothing from all angles without any distractions, the Ghost Mannequin Technique not only enhances the overall shopping experience but also elevates the perception of brands, setting a new standard for product presentation and digital marketing.

As technology continues to advance, this enchanting editing technique promises to inspire further innovations, leaving a lasting impression on the ever-growing world of photo editing and e-commerce.

If this is your first time hearing about the Ghost Mannequin technique, or if you've heard about it and want to delve deeper into understanding this method, congratulations! This comprehensive guide with practical insights is here for you to bookmark and read gradually.

TL; DR (Too Long, Didn't Read)

The Ghost Mannequin effect creates the illusion of an invisible model wearing a garment by combining multiple shots from different angles in product photography. It's commonly seen on e-commerce websites, especially in the clothing and fashion industries. 

Ghost Mannequin services are essential for e-commerce as they enhance product appearance, maintain standardization, save time and costs, make the styling process easier and increase customer experience and conversion rates.

To achieve this effect, set up a mannequin, prepare the garments, arrange proper lighting, and take multiple shots. Then, edit the photos to remove the mannequin and create a floating appearance. For the post-production stage, you can try some recommended photo editing applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, GIMP and Pixlr.  

It depends on a lot of factors to determine how much to produce a batch of Ghost Mannequin images. However, it’s definite that hiring a professional Ghost Mannequin photo editing service can ensure high-quality results and improve the overall customer experience. Before hiring any ghost mannequin photo editing service, you should keep in mind some points like the quality and expertise, as well as the turnaround time. In conclusion, we trust that our best practices and step-by-step guidelines on the ghost mannequin effect will prove valuable for your company in enhancing your products and boosting sales.

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What is the Ghost Mannequin effect?

The term "Ghost Mannequin" may initially sound technical, but it has become increasingly popular in the fashion e-commerce. When browsing online stores, you've likely encountered the "Ghost Mannequin" effect multiple times. This effect is exemplified by the floating T-shirt, seemingly worn by an invisible mannequin, which you can easily come across when searching for clothing items online.

This can be known as a photography technique commonly used in fashion e-commerce to showcase clothing items. Instead of being distracted by a model or a mannequin, customers now can visualize how the garment fits and appears when worn - which cannot be achieved through flat product images. By adding depth and dimensions to the product images, the Ghost Mannequin becomes a powerful tool for e-commerce fashion brands to make their products more enticing and visually appealing. 

In short, the Ghost Mannequin effect is a technique that involves photographing a clothing item or accessory on a mannequin and then removing the mannequin from the image during post-processing, resulting in a seamless and three-dimensional appearance of the garment. 

What are examples of the Ghost Mannequin effect?

The Ghost Mannequin effect can be applied to different types of clothing and accessories. Here are a few specific examples that help you understand and visualize how fashion brands use Ghost Mannequin effects in their product images. 

  • Clothing items: From T-shirts, and dresses to pants, and skirts, the Ghost Mannequin effect results in a floating garment, with no visible mannequin or model.

  • Accessories: The Ghost Mannequin effect is also applied to showcase accessories such as hats, scarves, gloves, sunglasses, bags, and jewelry. 

  • Lingerie and swimwear: The Ghost Mannequin effect is commonly used to showcase lingerie sets, bras, panties, and swimwear so that customers can imagine how the items can be worn. 

  • Outerwear: By Ghost Mannequin effect, the images of outerwear items such as coats, and jackets can be displayed in the most effective way to show their structures, forms and details.

Why is Ghost Mannequin service important for e-Commerce? 

For any e-commerce fashion retailer, what can be more important than showcasing their products in such a great way that customers cannot help adding the products to their carts? In an increasingly competitive market, it is crucial to go beyond simply displaying the products and instead help customers envision themselves wearing the garments. This is where Ghost Mannequin product images become useful, as they play a vital role in driving sales for e-commerce fashion items. Let's explore the main benefits that Ghost Mannequin photography brings to fashion retailers:

  • Enhance Products Appearance: Compared to flat-lay product images or product images using modelling, the product images using the Ghost Mannequin effect obviously have outstanding advantages. By removing distractions such as visible mannequins or models, the focus is solely on the garments. This not only allows customers to evaluate their design and details more effectively but also helps them imagine the form of the fashion items even if they cannot touch and see them in reality. The visually appealing presentation can significantly influence a customer's purchasing decision and help drive sales for fashion retailers. 
  • Consistency and Standardization: Implementing the Ghost Mannequin effect across all your product images brings a sense of consistency and standardization to your online store. The clean, clear and uniform appearance of your garments or accessories collection plays an important role in establishing the credibility of your website. Having a set of professional product images enhances the overall perception of your online store, capturing the attention of shoppers and creating a sense of trust and reliability.
  • Cost and Time Efficiency: By utilizing the Ghost Mannequin effect, e-commerce brands can save significant expenses on hiring models and organizing complex photoshoots that involve casting and fitting sessions. As a result, the production of a large number of high-quality product images becomes more efficient and cost-effective. An additional advantage of using Ghost Mannequin product images is their longevity. Unlike images featuring models, which may quickly become outdated after a season or two, Ghost Mannequin images retain their relevance over time. This means you won't have to constantly update or replace the images unless there are changes in the products themselves. As a result, your online store maintains a fresh and up-to-date appearance, reducing the need for frequent photo updates.
  • Efficient Styling Process: Working with a mannequin makes the styling process easier and faster. You can make changes to the garments or adjust outfit details effortlessly to achieve the desired look. This flexibility allows for experimenting with different combinations, layering, and accessories, catering to diverse customer preferences. Ghost Mannequin photography simplifies and speeds up the styling process, enabling your brand to create appealing looks more conveniently.
  • Increased Customer Experience and Conversion Rates: The realistic presentation of garments or accessories after the Ghost Mannequin effect editing has a positive impact on conversion rates. When shoppers can see how the products will look when worn, it enhances their shopping experience by providing a sense of size, style, and suitability. This reduces the likelihood of returns or dissatisfaction with purchases. As a result, e-commerce businesses experience higher conversion rates, leading to increased sales.

A step-by-step guide to using Ghost Mannequin effect

If you're new to creating Ghost Mannequin product images and feel unsure about where to start, fear not! We've got you covered with this step-by-step guide that will make the process feel as easy as a piece of cake. From pre-production to post-production, we'll walk you through each stage to ensure you achieve stunning Ghost Mannequin product images.

How to prepare for a Ghost Mannequin shooting?

​​Step 1: Choose and set up your mannequin 

  • Size and Proportions: The size and proportions of the mannequin are the first things you should consider in the preparation process. Make sure that the mannequin matches the garments you will be photographing as this decides how accurately the presentation of the clothing fits a person.
  • Material and Texture: When choosing a mannequin, you should pay attention to its material to ensure that the reflections can be minimized. For example, white matte or fabric-covered mannequins are good choices as they create a seamless appearance in the final product images. Besides, the editing process can be easier as the editor doesn’t need to invest time in retouching details. 
  • Adjustable Features: Look for a mannequin with adjustable features such as height and arm positions. It will be even better if parts of the mannequin can be removable. This allows you to customize the mannequin to properly showcase different types of clothing.
  • Position: Once you’ve got your ideal mannequin, you can set up the position of the mannequin on a stand or table at the desired height. Depending on the garments or accessories you will be taking photos of, you will decide on how to remove which components of the mannequin to maximize the effect. 

Step 2: Prepare the garments

Preparing garments for a Ghost Mannequin shooting involves careful attention to detail to ensure the best results since the focus of the images is only the product itself. The garments should be kept clean and steamed or ironed to avoid any wrinkles or creases. When positioning the garments on the mannequin, pay attention to small details such as sleeves, collars or key design elements. A useful tip for you is to utilize clips or pins to secure the garments on the mannequin. 

Step 3: Set up the lighting and backdrop

  • Position the main light: The main light source should be set up at an angle that can highlight the key details and textures of the garment. You can try different angles and distances to find the most flattering lighting setup. 
  • Use diffused lighting: Keep in mind that Ghost Mannequin photography results in the best outcomes if being shot from soft, diffused lighting. This is to minimize harsh shadows and create even illumination on the garments. You can use softboxes, light umbrellas, or light tents to diffuse the light source. 
  • Add backlights: To create depth in the product images, the backlights are recommended to add to the set-up. When positioning these lights behind the mannequin, you will enhance the three-dimensional effect of the garments. 
  • Set up backdrop: Suggested backdrops are white or light gray as they are commonly used in Ghost Mannequin photography. The neutral colors of the backdrop will help highlight the garments and accessories. Ensure that the backdrop is smooth and free from wrinkles or creases.

Step 4: Set up the camera

  • Choose a suitable camera: We recommend you use a camera with manual controls and adjustable settings such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera for better control over the shooting process. Otherwise, you can totally use a high-quality smartphone with manual settings. 
  • Set the camera on a stable tripod: To ensure stability and minimize the risk of camera shake, set your camera on a stable tripod. This will help maintain consistency and sharpness throughout the Ghost Mannequin shooting process.
  • Adjust the camera setting: Take notice of several camera settings such as exposure, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and choose an appropriate lens that can capture the desired field of view. Medium focal length lenses, such as 50mm or 85mm, are often suitable for capturing garments and accessories without distortion.


How to shoot Ghost Mannequin product images?

Taking photoshoots for Ghost Mannequin images requires a different approach than usual. By following the guidelines below, you can simplify the post-production process and achieve the best possible results:

Step 1: Test and adjust
Before starting the actual shooting, take test shots and evaluate the lighting setup. Review the images to ensure that the lighting is even, the details are well-defined, and the overall appearance is visually appealing and make any necessary adjustments if needed. 

Step 2: Capture the front and back view 
In order to capture comprehensive images of your product, start by capturing both the front and back view of the garment on the mannequin. 

Step 3: Hang the garments on a foam board
Proceed to style and hang your product on a white foam board then photograph both the front and back views once more. These shots taken with the foam board will enable you to capture the inner areas of the garment. This helps post-production when editor must digitally merge the images together. In the case your products are collared shirts or dresses, ensure that the collar is unbuttoned or open to allow the inner lining to be visible for photographing. 

Step 4: Capture additional detail shots
Take more close-up shots to highlight specific features like buttons, zippers, or pockets. These shots provide a comprehensive view of the product.

How to edit Ghost Mannequin product images?

This is the important part where you make the mannequin vanish from your photos and showcase only the products. Editing apps like Photoshop can be a bit complicated if you're not familiar with them. But don't worry! We're here to help you with an easy-to-follow guide, even if you're not an expert. 

To begin, ensure that you have the Photoshop app installed on your device. We will provide you with step-by-step instructions specifically tailored to this app.

1. Open the front, back, and foam board shots of your product in Photoshop.

2. Use the Pen Tool or Quick Selection Tool to carefully select and remove the background from each image, isolating the product. 

3. Arrange the front and foam board shots as layers, with the foam board shot positioned behind the front shot.

4. Align the layers by using the Move Tool or Transform Tool to ensure a perfect fit.

5. Apply layer masks to the front shot layer and use a soft brush to blend the edges where the front and back shots meet.

6. Use the Clone Stamp Tool or Content-Aware Fill to recreate any missing parts of the garment in the areas where the mannequin was visible.

7. Make any necessary adjustments to color, exposure, contrast, and sharpness using adjustment layers or the Image menu.

8. Once you're satisfied with the editing, save the final image in a suitable format, such as JPEG or PNG.

By following these guidelines, you can improve post-production efficiency and create high-quality Ghost Mannequin images.

Best applications to edit Ghost Mannequin effect for e-commerce products

If you're looking to edit the Ghost Mannequin effect for your e-commerce product images, there are several applications available to assist you. Here are some popular options that we recommend, as each one offers unique advantages and benefits:

  • Adobe Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop is considered the most useful app for image editing. It provides a comprehensive set of tools and features to create professional-looking Ghost Mannequin effects.
  • Lightroom: Adobe Lightroom is primarily known for its photo organizing and processing features, but it also offers editing tools to achieve the Ghost Mannequin effect. It is particularly useful for batch editing and enhancing multiple product images.
  • GIMP: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source image editing software. It offers a comprehensive set of tools for editing and retouching images, making it a popular choice among users seeking an alternative to Photoshop.
  • Pixlr: Pixlr is an online image editing tool that offers a range of editing features. It provides a user-friendly interface and can be accessed directly through a web browser, making it convenient for quick edits.

When choosing an application, consider factors such as your familiarity with the software, budget, and specific editing needs. We recommend you to explore the features of each application to determine which one best meets your requirements.

How much does a Ghost Mannequin cost?

The cost of producing a batch of Ghost Mannequin images varies depending on a lot of factors such as the number of garments, the complexity of products, editing requirements, and rates of professionals involved. Moreover, you should include expenses for photography, mannequin, styling and props, post-production editing, and studio rental and equipment. To determine the specific cost, it is best to gather quotes based on your project requirements.

Why do you need a Ghost Mannequin photo editing service?   

While it is possible to edit Ghost Mannequin images by yourself, there are several reasons why you might consider using a professional Ghost Mannequin photo editing service:

  • Professional Quality: A Ghost Mannequin photo editing service offers expertise in creating high-quality and realistic Ghost Mannequin effects.
  • Time Efficiency: Outsourcing the editing task to professionals saves you time, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your business.
  • Consistency: Professional services maintain consistency across your product images, ensuring a cohesive and professional visual representation.
  • Advanced Techniques: Experts in Ghost Mannequin editing have access to advanced tools and software, enabling them to achieve accurate and desirable effects.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Hiring a Ghost Mannequin photo editing service can be cost-effective compared to investing in software, training, and developing editing skills yourself.
  • Customization: Professional editing services can tailor the editing to your specific preferences and requirements, reflecting your brand's unique style and aesthetics.

By using a Ghost Mannequin photo editing service, you can benefit from their professional quality, time efficiency, consistency, advanced techniques, cost-effectiveness to enhance your product images effectively.

What to keep in mind when hiring a Ghost Mannequin photo editing service

When hiring a Ghost Mannequin photo editing service, there are several important factors to keep in mind. Consider the following points to ensure you make an informed decision:

  • Quality and Expertise: Evaluate the Ghost Mannequin photo editing service's portfolio and expertise to ensure they have experience and proficiency in delivering high-quality Ghost Mannequin editing results.
  • Turnaround Time: Consider the service provider's ability to meet your specified deadlines, ensuring they can deliver the edited images within the required timeframe.
  • Communication: Ensure that the Ghost Mannequin photo editing service has effective and timely communication channels in place, allowing for clear and efficient exchange of instructions, feedback, and any concerns.
  • Pricing: Compare the pricing structures of different service providers, taking into account the affordability of their services in relation to the quality of work delivered.
  • E-commerce Experience: Look for a Ghost Mannequin photo editing service with experience in editing images specifically for e-commerce purposes, as they will understand the requirements and standards for product images in the online retail industry.
  • Samples and Testimonials: Request samples of their previous work or testimonials from satisfied clients to evaluate the quality and reliability of their Ghost Mannequin photo editing services.

Considering these points will assist you in making an informed decision when hiring a Ghost Mannequin photo editing service.

In Summary

In conclusion, using the Ghost Mannequin effect in e-commerce product photography offers numerous benefits. By following our step-by-step guide provided, you can create professional-looking images that highlight the details and fit of your garments. However, while it is possible to undertake the editing process yourself, outsourcing to a professional Ghost Mannequin photo editing service can save you time and ensure high-quality results. Investing in this technique can significantly enhance the overall customer experience, boost conversion rates, establish a strong brand image and finally contribute to the success of your online store.

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