Product imaging is a complete mandate for ecommerce sales. How you position your product and what it conveys finally determines if someone buys your product or not. The product image is always the deal breaker, the clinch in the deal and the final decisive point.

The online fashion industry is one of the biggest growth sectors in the world. If a company is not on-line then it is really not giving itself a chance to increase its sales. Being on-line is a must for any new or existing business model.

The “ghost mannequin”is NOT a mannequin. Instead it refers to a type of photographic effect for showcasing products online. Online retailers desire to display clothing that has the “shape of the mannequin but the mannequin itself is not visible in the photo.


Whilst a good optimised website is key, so are good quality images and zoom functions. Potentially any on-line retailer is selling to those who require a great amount of information in a limited amount of time. Ghost imaging is one such technique that product photography includes. The clients take a photograph of the back and front of the image and we then stitch them together to create an Invisible Man effect.

Using mannequins for product images is an efficient and cost-effective way to promote your products. Product images seem more professional and consistent as Mannequins allow products to hold their shapes, which can make a great alternative is to create a ghost mannequin effect for your product images, asbut, mannequins can be distracting, so like the one below:

This may appear to be difficult to reproduce. But creating a ghost mannequin effect is actually quite simple if your products have been photographed correctly. You can also outsource this editing work to professionals and get back your ghost mannequin images in 24 hours, ready to sell.

All of these options however are time consuming and can be costly.

So is there something out there that can create the invisible mannequin effect and cut time spent on digital photograph editing? The answer is yes!

Optto do it yourself. Simply follow a simple process that consists in combining two images of the product.


Take a look at the two “base” images that we used to create our ghost mannequin example:

Using some of your own suitable product shots (e.g. a clothed mannequin and a top-down shot of your product turned inside-out and laid flat), follow these simple steps to create your own ghost mannequin effect in Photoshop:

Open your files in Photoshop and create layers.

First, you will need to open the mannequin image and the top-down image in Photoshop. Select your mannequin image and create a new background layer. Fill that layer in with white; it will serve as your overall background when you’re finished. It’s also helpful to label your layers so that you can tell them apart and remain organized.

Use a selection tool to select the dress in the mannequin image.

Now it’s time to select the product in your mannequin image. Zoom in tight and choose your favorite selection tool: quick selection, lasso, or magic wand. All three can help you to accomplish your desired selection. Keep in mind that, in most cases, using a white background when shooting allows you to remove the mannequin easily because of the color separation between the product and the background.

Refine and place your mask.

Once you have selected the entire product, refine your mask so that it is nice and tight, eliminating all of the background and mannequin. This can be accomplished using the Refine Edge tool in the Select menu. Click OK in the Refine Edge dialogue box and place a mask on your shirt layer. At this point, you should see your product floating freely on the white background that you created in the beginning. If necessary, refine the mask slightly more and/or refine the product’s edges again to give it a nice, clean look.

Rinse and repeat previous steps with the top-down image.

Now, it’s time to switch gears and repeat Steps One, Two and Three on your top-down product image. This type of product image may seem a little odd at first, but having one to work with is important; photographing the product inside-out will allow you to show the inside back of the dress, completing the mannequin illusion. We promise that it will look great in the end! Create a new layer, select out the product, and create and refine your mask.

Combine the images.

When both images contain tight, clean masks, drag the mask from your top-down image over to the image of your ghost mannequin product image. Organize the layers so that the top-down image is lower than the mannequin image. Then, adjust the positioning of the top-down layer and adjust its proportions so that it fits perfectly behind the mannequin layer, just below the shoulder in a rounded curve.

Remove unnecessary parts of the top-down layer.

At this point, it’s a good idea to “hide” your mannequin layer and brush out the unneeded parts of the top-down layer. You really only need to keep that neckline triangle between the shoulders. Once you’ve done this, double check that your layers are clean and that nothing is out of alignment.

Add shadows and save.

Finally, add a shadow between the two layers to give the product some depth, and save a copy of the Photoshop file with all of the layers intact, just to be safe. Once you’ve saved the layer file, flatten or merge all of the layers together and save the image again as a different file. This final step will make your image look professional and realistic.

As you can see, by taking into account these steps, you can create your own professional apparel product images having the ghost mannequin effect.

Remember that this effect on your product images will not only make your products look more attractive and unique, it will also bring the look of your online store to a highly professional level.