I need to photograph clothes on a mannequin (will be doing the ghost mannequin effect) what kind of lighting arrangement should I use? I am very limited in space- about 6x7 feet.

Lighting equipment consists of two strobes, soft-boxes, scrims, diffusion filters, reflectors & various light-stands.

I would maybe consider buying another cheap light or maybe would add some constant light -someone suggested I should use two fluorescent tubes from the two sides of mannequin with one strobe to wash out background not sure if it would work & I'd rather not spend an extra dime on additional equipment- I'm hoping to make whatever equipment I have now do the job.

Basically- how can I set up my lights to make the clothes look like they are worth buying?

  • Note that the lighting in the example was not perfectly diffuse. The left hand image has shadow under the 'bust' and the right hand one under various folds etc. The left hand effect may in fact be desirable to give emphasis to the shape - if so you may wish to light slightly more from above. Mar 6, 2013 at 8:11
  • @RussellMcMahon i don't know if i like the lighting in the example it doesn't seem to compliment the clothing- i most certainly want a more diffused even lighting
    – Pastel
    Mar 6, 2013 at 14:14

2 Answers 2


The trick is going to be to bounce the lights off of something to try and increase the available space. Hopefully the walls are white, but if not, if you can get large, reflective white surfaces to put against the wall and then use the reflection to give you as much distance as possible to diffuse the light, then you can probably achieve what you are looking for.

It's probably too small a space to do that much direct lighting, but it's really hard to give a best approach without seeing the space and trying some angles.


If you want soft lighting like the example you posted then space isn't usually a problem. Provided you don't have lots of strongly coloured objects/walls nearby. If you are in a white walled space then you can simply direct one light obliquely at the mannequin and one light at the background and you'll be pretty much there.

You wont have much control, so you'll just have to accept the result you get, but it should be pretty decent.

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