Product Photography: Mannequin photos in email creative

Apparel retailers often use a white mannequin for their product photography. Its cheaper than using a model, has prestige among high-end brands and provides no distractions to shoppers. 

Low cost in-house photo studios, compromising of a white backdrop and mannequin abound. While this is great for e-commerce sites, there is scepticism over using the same product photos in your email creative.

 ”I don’t have the images to send email campaigns, only what’s on my site” is a comment I hear often. 

Not being able to afford lifestyle photos like Saks or Nordstrom, many retailers choose not to send out newsletters. To reassure and inspire, below is a collection of nine newsletters featuring clothing on a mannequin.

Burberry: {view email here}

Burberry apparel photography newsletter

I used the same layout myself in this email, using photos I took. The shadow on the floor, and gradient background are added in Photoshop. I always clone out wrist and shoulder joints if they’re showing, and color correct the mannequin so its 100% gray-scale.

Intermix Lust: {view email here}

Intermix newsletter

In spite of a total disregard for best practices, Intermix newsletters perform extremely well. The collage layout, in the style of a fashion magazine is mirrored in brands like Shop Intuition, Who What Wear and Kitson. Most of these stores have new merchandise coming in daily, and do their apparel photography in-house.

Barney’s: {view email here}

Barneys emal

In contrast to Intermix, I like the lack of color and clean design of Barney’s newsletter. Where Intermix is feminine, Barney’s is androgynous.

Forzieri: {view email here}

  Forzieri ghost mannequin photography

Forzieri always design stylish emails, they could use more HTML but their creative is among my favorite. In this email they create the Ghost Mannequin Effect, discussed in more detail in this Get Elastic post.

It appears a ghost is wearing the clothing, and you can see through to the label in back. It’s a very nice effect - though a pain in the butt to achieve in high volume. They also edited in a floor and wall, creating a nice ambiance. Check out the Forzieri website, its very stylish with great product photography.

Anthropologie: {view email here}

Using mannequin photos in your email

Your mannequin should compliment your brand. This vintage style dress form, used by Anthropologie clearly works with the clothing. Leaving in the shadow on the floor, is always a nice touch with a full length mannequin shot.

Ron Herman: {view email here}

Ron Herman product photo newsletter

Ron Herman regularly send out newsletters featuring a dress form. Again it works with their casual, retro brand.

Steven-Alan: {view email here}

White mannequin photos in newsletters

Steven-Alan have a similar look to the sparse Barney’s and Jake designs. I like how they accessorize their apparel shots.

Crewcuts: {view email here}

Crewcut product photography in newsletters

Crewcuts use these shots on their website to highlight each category. Its always more interesting to see whole outfits rather than a single item.

Jake: {view email here}

Jake apparel photography

Its worth spending a little money on a quality mannequin or dress form. The natural pose of the Jake mannequin elevates these photos. They can cost around $1,000 new. 

I bought a used mannequin from Rubens Display and a couple on ebay for around $200-$400 each, but its hit and miss. For a new mannequin check out Goldsmith, its were Bluefly purchased theirs. I hate mannequins with heads - as you can see from my portfolio - but that’s just my taste!



2 Responses to “Product Photography: Mannequin photos in email creative”

  • Fashion models? We don’t need no stinkin’ high-priced fashion models | MailChimp Blog
    December 10th, 2008 05:24

    […] Here’s a very nice article from a resourceful graphic designer who came up with a stylish alternative to using high-priced fashion models for your email marketing. Be sure to check out her email design services, too. Looking for email designers, programmers, or consultants who can help you? Check out these MailChimp experts. […]

  • mannequins in product photography | Mannequin Madness
    July 8th, 2009 20:54

    […] mannequins to use for your ecommerce site or email marketing campaigns?  This blog entry  on StyleCampaign, a website about email marketing photography, has inspiration […]