How to photograph swim shorts flat lay

We show you how to style and photograph a pair of men’s swimming trunks in just a few simple steps


Skip to 2:56 for the section on swim shorts

Equipment used: StyleShoots Horizontal. Click here to learn more

Shooting a pair of swimming shorts is relatively quick and easy. In this product photography tutorial, we will show you a few methods for styling and photographing men’s swimwear for your web store, lookbook or catalogue.

You may choose to style your swimming shorts flat on the tabletop, or to vary the look slightly by adding stuffing for texture, so we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to give them a pro styled look. 

 

Here’s the equipment you'll 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 sandals
  • Tissue paper - Stuffing the shorts with paper adds texture
  • Pins - Some straight pins are useful to hold fabric in place
 

Styling the shorts without stuffing

1. Lay the shorts out on the tabletop

Spread the shorts out evenly in the center of your surface.

The front and back of the waistband should be even across and the legs should be symmetrical.


 

 

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h53m19s899.png
 

2. Fold the sides in

Next, to give the shorts a slimmer, more natural shape, make a
small fold along the outer seam of each leg and tuck it under.

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h54m03s288.png
 

3. Style the crotch

One of the tricky things when shooting shorts flat lay is styling
the extra fabric at the crotch.

There are different techniques, but we recommend simply
overlapping.

Lift the crotch up a little bit, tuck it under and overlap it with the inner part of the legs. This creates a clean line.

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h54m29s065.png
 

4. Position the legs

You will want a bit of a gap between the legs, as the shorts
would appear on the body, but make sure the gap is not
unnaturally wide.

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h55m12s416.png
 

5. Adjust the hemlines

It’s very important that you match the angle of the hemlines on
both legs.

 

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h55m57s160.png
 

6. Style the drawstring

Many swimming shorts feature a drawstring closure. You can
choose to style this in a number of ways.

We’ve opted for a simple knot. Giving the excess laces a few
basic curves will provide a sense of movement.

These little details are what will help your product stand out.

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h55m46s229.png
 

And shoot...

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h56m17s500.png
 

Styling the shorts with stuffing

1. Add tissue paper

If you would like to add a bit more volume, place a few sheets
of tissue paper in the shorts.

This will give the effect of showing some depth.

 

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h56m39s248.png
 

2. Style the shorts

Once you have added the tissue paper, go ahead and style the shorts as above.

Make sure everything is even and symmetrical.

Tuck in side seams, adjust the crotch and legs and fasten the closures.

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h55m46s229.png
 

3. Adjust texture with your fingers

By gently pressing down on the tissue paper with your fingers,
you can vary the texture and add movement to the fabric.

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h58m05s983.png
 

4. Position the light source

Move the light around to see what position best highlights the texture. 

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-09h59m38s073.png

And shoot...

vlcsnap-2017-08-11-10h00m19s718.png

What we'd really appreciate is...

Thanks for reading our tutorial on photographing swim shorts for fashion eCommerce — part of our ongoing series of tutorials on product photography, styling and lighting. If you found it useful, why don’t you head on over to our YouTube channel and subscribe?

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flatStephen Warr