Let’s set some simple working definitions first:
Product photography is about documenting the product’s features, flaws, dimensions, etc.
Fashion photography is about selling the clothing/product. Fashion photography is a type of product photography, since the focus is on the product and not the model.
Glamour photography is about making the model look good in clothes, usually with the goal being “that is sexy”.
As a business owner, when shooting to sell clothing online, I try to resist the temptation to take creative glamor photos, and I try to shoot in natural or studio light, perfectly, with a high aperture (so everything is in focus).
When other businesses ask me to shoot fashion photos, I am assuming that they want to show off their products… and high end looking fashion photography can be quite time consuming and requires alot of skill and creativity!
Basic product photography, on the other hand, can be done very efficiently with a pretty simple setup… ultimately, it depends on your budget. I take more time to shoot images of products and clothing that I know is going to sell with a higher profit margin.
Below are some photos which illustrate glamour vs fashion vs product photos.
Fashion photo of Tiffany… See how this image shows off the lovely yellow overlay and length of this 1940s prom dress… but it does nothing to make Tiffany look more attractive or sexier, and to stay true to the colors of this dress, I did not dramatically alter the coloring. For high end, high profit, clothing, I want to shoot this type of image:
Here’s a very basic product photo of that same dress… I would rather see it on a model! To illustrate the features and flaws, I included even more pictures on its listing page. Ideally, I’d like to take fashion photos of all my dresses and clothing… but, time-wise, it is much more efficient to put on a mannequin or hanger and shoot in the studio.
Here is a glamor portrait of a model in an 1800s dress that I’m trying to sell. Note that I took artistic liberties with editing it, and that this focus is clearly about the model and not showing off any important details of the dress:
Here’s a product photo I shot, to show off the true color of this old dress, and how thin the fabric is. I shot this with a chain hanging from the ceiling, a piece of white butcher paper, and one light.
Here is an example of very high end product photography. Note how everything is in focus, there is a slight reflection, and few shadows. The background is seamless, and you could easily remove the background to make it transparent. I used three lights and an elaborate set-up, and then further cleaned up imperfections in Photoshop (there were some scuff marks on the plastic from repositioning this wine rack gift basket).
I chose the glamor portrait for the main “featured” image in this post. Why? Because glamor photography is great for catching attention, and this blog entry isn’t trying to sell the dress she’s wearing