How to style and photograph a dress on a model for your web store

This tutorial will teach you how to style and photograph a dress on a model for e-commerce

Equipment used: StyleShoots Live. Discover more here.


In this tutorial we’re going to go through some top tips for styling and shooting a dress on a model for fashion e-commerce. 

We'll provide you with some general advice how to feature your dress in the best way possible. We'll cover the whole process from styling your model and prepping your set to actually taking great shots of your product.

What you’ll need

We cover the following stages

1. Styling
2. Preparation
3. Taking your photographs


1. Styling 

Style your dress with footwear and accessories that match the nature of the dress. Elements like hair, nails and makeup also matter a lot because they give the final look a certain polished feel.

Set design should match the dress

Set design should match the nature of the dress. If you’re shooting images for a spring / summer catalogue, make sure your background and your set design reflect that by including brighter colors for exmaple.

Choose the right shoes

Depending on the kind of dress you’re shooting, you need to pick the right footwear. In our case, we’re photographing a flared and longer dress that finishes about 7-8 cm above the ankle so we chose high wedges to give the whole dress a bit of a lift and allow the model to move more.

For our summer themed photoshoot we chose a bright yellow background.

For our summer themed photoshoot we chose a bright yellow background.


2. Preparation

Before you even begin with your test shots, you should prepare the look of your model, the set design, your lighting and your equipment. 

Adjust your camera height

When you’re shooting a full outfit, you need to look out for the camera height. Be careful to not distort the body of the model by positioning it too high up or two low down.

Place the camera at the level of the model’s waist height so you don’t get any strange distortions when movements happen.

Key light on the right

Position the key light on the right, facing your model. Use the reflector on the left so the light can bounce off of it and spread through the whole set area. That way you get a really nice summery, bright feel to the lighting.

Aim for a summery, bright lighting.

Aim for a summery, bright lighting.


3. Taking your photographs

Efficiency and speed are essential when it comes to fashion e-commerce photography. Preparation will help you achieve quality results within a short time frame.

Organize your work

If you can name your photographs as you go, do it. That way you will have clear references of what you’re shooting. This is particularly helpful if you're working with a lot of product in one day.

Make some test shots

Before you start with your photoshoot, make some test shots to see if the lighting is right and if everything's in place. Make any corrections if necessary after reviewing your initial images. Those could be related to lighting, styling, set design or camera settings. 

Cover all necessary shots

Make sure to cover all shots you need before the model gets changed. These could be front shots, back shots and closeups where you show off details.

Double check your lighting settings and if everything's in place before you start the actual photoshoot.

Double check your lighting settings and if everything's in place before you start the actual photoshoot.

Focus camera during movement

If there will be movement while taking a picture, focus your camera in the right spot at the right time - the point where you’re going to take the picture. That way when the model moves into position, you’re already in focus and you can take the shot exactly where you want it.

Get creative with the shots

Get creative and direct your model to try different poses so she showcases some of the unique features of the dress. For example, if you’re promoting a flared dress, twists and twirls will feature the playfulness of the dress.

Direct your attention

Throughout the photoshoot, keep on focusing your attention on the model, rather than on the camera or the screen that you’re using.

By doing this, you will get the best shots possible because you will know what is missing from the body of work and what needs to be re-done. Show the customer how the dress flows and falls.

Be obsessive about focus

It’s important to focus and refocus for every shot because you don’t want to end up with unfocused, blurry images.


Direct your model well, keep the eye contact going and review when you need to. Once you’ve got the shot, move onto the next thing.


A final note...

Thank you for reading our tutorial - hope you found it useful! This article is part of our ongoing series of tutorials on product photography, styling and lighting. If you found it helpful, why don’t you head on over to our YouTube channel and subscribe?

Better yet, follow us on InstagramTwitter and LinkedIn to get the latest updates, tips and tricks on product photography so you can drive conversion and increase sales! 


See more tutorials on fashion product photography, lighting and styling