Bring Your Products to Life with the Ghost Mannequin Effect

September 15, 2014 - Holly Cardew

Calling all eCommerce fashion stores! Are you ready to take the next step in your journey towards awesome product photography? Give the ghost mannequin effect a try! The process isn’t as scary as it sounds, but it does take a little bit more effort.

A ghost image, or a ghost mannequin effect, is when your item of clothing looks almost 3D, like it’s sitting on an invisible figure. Take a look at the Nike jacket below. The ghost mannequin effect is the inside part of the jacket you can see near the collar.

nike jacket

How to create a ghost mannequin effect: Photography

Photos taken on mannequins or people are the best form of product representation because they show the product’s true form.

The problem with mannequins is they can look a bit unprofessional on an eCommerce site, so people often choose to remove the background and the mannequin along with it. But when you remove the mannequin and leave just the product, the item does lose that ‘3D’ effect. This is where your ghost image effect comes in.

To create a ghost image, you need to take one photo of the product from the front, worn normally. Then take a second photo of the back of the product, but here’s the catch: the product has to be inside out. Sounds bizarre, right? But when you think about it, the part of the product you see that creates the 3D effect is the inside of the product.


How to create a ghost mannequin effect: Editing

The tricky part about creating the ghost mannequin effect isn’t the photography, but the editing. You do need Photoshop or similar software. You also need to remove the background for the inside to be visible when placed behind the front.

Once you’ve got your two images without a background, you need to place the reverse product image behind the front image and manipulate it ever so slightly to fit the front image exactly.

Have a look at the photos below. The two at the top are just your regular unedited product photos. The two below are the same products but without a background. And finally, the bottom image is the awesome product image you get when you combine the two photos. Cool, huh?


This is definitely a step up from standard product photography. If you have the time, it’s definitely something worth considering because it really does take your product images to a whole new level.

Most major online fashion stores use ghost images; if you want a bit of inspiration have a look at the screenshots from Topshop above, as well as screenshots from Lorna Jane and Saba below.

Lorna Jane Saba 2

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