How to style and photograph a coat flat lay

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to style and shoot a puffer jacket in just a few simple steps

Coats and outerwear can be quite tricky to shoot on a tabletop, but there are a few styles that work pretty well when photographed flat lay. So in this product photography tutorial, we will show you how to style and shoot a puffer jacket for your web store, lookbook or catalogue.   

The reason most coats aren't photographed on a tabletop is down to the fact they are the largest type of apparel you can shoot. Most retailers instead tend to shoot them on mannequins and composite the image in post-production to make it look as if an invisible man were wearing it. Some also make use of special ghost mannequins that have removable chest pieces to do this.

In this tutorial however, we have chosen a fairly light, smaller style of coat that can be photographed in this way - a puffer jacket. A puffer jacket is a good choice for shooting flat lay as the material is fairly lightweight and can be styled more easily. Of course, you can apply these tips to whatever kind of coat you're trying to shoot on a tabletop. So to get shooting, let's have a run through of what you need.

The equipment you need

  • Camera - Any camera will suffice but a Canon EOS 5D Mk III is recommended as a standard for professional product photography
  • Studio lighting - Continuous cool LED lamps are recommended to ensure exposure, shadows and contrast are kept consistent
  • Your coat or jacket - A jacket or coat that will fit on your tabletop - we've chosen a puffer style jacket for this example
 

1. Lay the coat out on the tabletop

Spread the coat out evenly on the surface you'll be shooting on. Nice and simple. 

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2. Tuck the sides in

Next, to avoid making it look wider than worn, give the coat a more narrow look by tucking the sides in ever so slightly. 

Tip: if your sides aren't staying in, you can use double sided tape or pins to hold the material in place

 

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3. Narrow the sleeves

Because the jacket is quite box-shaped, you don't want it to look overly "boxy" in the final image.

To solve this, just pull in the sleeves to create a more narrow look.  

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4. Style the hood

As most coats and jackets have hoods, it's important to in style the right look. In this case, the puffer jacket hood looks quite nice open and held up. 

Tip: It helps to give customers a look at the inner lining by showing the hood in this way.

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5. Check symmetry and keep straight lines

Finally, make sure that the shoulders are straightened out and that the sleeves are styled symmetrically -  laying neatly and evenly at the bottom.

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And shoot...

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What we'd really appreciate is...

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Stephen Warr