E-commerce is an electronic market area. We can access varied products in numerous categories at just the blink of an eye. With so much comfort provided to us, we are definitely not complaining the fact that it has conquered our personal space. When something becomes an integral part of our life then we revolve our life around it, not the other way around. So e-commerce has totally changed our lives for good. We are seeing everything in a new light. People have lost the art of bargaining, the art of window shopping, the long walks on the market pathway. This all has faded into oblivion. We might not understand the pros and cons of this situation yet but we are starting to understand the limitations or adverse impacts slowly. With technology comes a responsibility. The responsibility to use it within limits as to be beneficial for us. However, the tide of the times favours the techno savvy people relishing in the virtual world of shopping i.e. e-commerce. Let us understand a very important aspect of e-commerce, the product photography, which is the display of clothing materials with the help of ghost mannequins. What ecommerce does is that it provides us a virtual market place. A place where we can explore and analyse or compare each and every product according to our requirements. But with being virtual it offers to experiment with multiple options that would be termed unthinkable in the real world. One of them is use of ghost mannequins. The term ghost mannequins refers to the fact where mannequins are not visible but the product has been displayed on a mannequin giving it more of a real look, as if on a human body. This has become essential as a clothing material can be properly visualised for all of its details regarding the look on a human body is pretty evident with the use of mannequins. But the sellers don’t want to give out the reality regarding the use of mannequins. Why is that so, one might wonder? Well, models are a better option when it comes to analysing the look of a particular item for obvious reasons, they are human, hence the actual structure, flexibility, curves are natural and hence give a better idea of the garment’s fitting. But some sellers or companies don’t always have sufficient funds to assign a model. Also, the volume of material might be less where hiring a model is not at all profitable. These cases make it essential.for brands to opt for mannequins. They save a lot of money and time. You don’t need to worry about any kind of makeup, entire look or any other similar traits. Hence ghost mannequins are the way to go if you really want to make it good by investing less money.
Now having ghost mannequins sounds easy but this is not the case in reality. It implies having a lot of post photography editing using specialized softwares like Adobe Photoshop, Corel draw etc. First you need to photograph the garment on the mannequin, which is just the beginning, and then begins the real work, the editing.
First the garment is put on the mannequin and it is made sure that the garment fits properly. It is ensured using clever tips and techniques. If the sleeves of the garment are longer than the sleeves of the mannequin then some photographers use a bunch of paper tissue to give it a fuller look. It gives the appearance of a fist, giving it more of a human look, bringing it closer to reality. What if the length of the torso of the mannequin is shorter than the length of a garment, especially a dress for women? Then also a clever trick is incorporated, which is to use a broad tape at the end of the mannequin edge and then putting on the garment. It avoids any fold overs, whatsoever, at the edges. Many such simple tips and tricks are required to make sure that the result is as close to reality as it can be. It all depends on the presence of mind of the photographer and these tips are not any hard and fast rule, they change and evolve according to the situation faced by the photographer. The proper fit is really mandatory as it could ruin the photograph of it doesn’t fit properly. It would look clumsy and awkward. Then a clever step is take which makes sure the image is complete. The garment is turned outwards and then the back of the mannequin is photographed. This is done to ensure that when the mannequin neck is removed in editing, it doesn’t look weird and incomplete. The back of the neck is copied from the other photograph to complete it. This step ensures that the mannequin doesn’t appear anywhere hence, justifying the name, ghost mannequin. After capturing these two photographs using the same exposure or lighting and every other condition remaining constant, the photo editing software is incorporated. This process involves giving finishing touches to the photograph. The mannequin body, wherever exposed, is removed from the image. Next, the neck part of the mannequin is removed, which renders the back of the neck invisible. This is not what we want but remember that we captured the back of the neck already. The second image is cropped and the back of the neck, which usually contains the brand logo and size details, is put at the right place in the first image. This completes the image in every possible way giving out the entire look of the garment and making the mannequin appear redundant. Any creases, rough lines are removed. Finally, the light or exposure is adjusted to give it a brighter look. At this stage, the colour variants of the clothing material can also be generated. Some companies prefer to photograph them separately, while some opt for a cheaper version and make do with editing the varied shades of the material available. After all the editing and checking out the final overall look of the clothing material and getting approval from the brand or company providing the clothing material, the image is uploaded on the desired online e-commerce platform.