7 tips to better photos for fittings

1 nice_but_useless_ftting_photoWhen communicating desired fitting or design changes to a pattern maker -or even to use as a record of your progress- it is critical to take useful photographs. Taking the time to take good photographs can reduce your costs and your provider’s frustration. If a fitting problem cannot be analyzed from a photo, it is not likely to be corrected quickly and will end up costing you more money and time. Toward that end, here are guidelines to taking photos for fitting that are sure to please everyone.

Setting up the fitting photo shoot doesn’t require professional photographers and you don’t need an expensive camera -as long as you have a steady hand and a cell phone that takes pictures. You will also need lighting that is bright enough to eliminate shadows. The photos I’m using as examples were taken with an older iPhone and the less than optimal shop lighting here, but even so, these photos are (tragically) 99% better than many of the photos I get from customers. Two other things to keep in mind are your model and to minimize distracting backgrounds. You wouldn’t realize it but I’ve had backgrounds that were so noisy that I couldn’t see clear outlines of the garment.

Prepare your model by having them stand normally, placing weight evenly on both feet. Feet should be (approximately) a shoulder width apart. You can use a form as I did but it is best for garments to be fit on live bodies. Hopefully you have a fit model who understands that this is not a fashion shoot so stylized posing is inappropriate. If your model is too tall for you to take photos head on of given garment sections, you need to get a low stool to stand on while the model remains fixed. Ideally, your model should stand in one position while you move around the body. Exceptions are cases in which the garment is designed for given applications (equestrian etc) so your model will need to stretch and hold. In such cases it is best to take the photos in series; first all of the fixed positions and then the second series, all with extended range of motion.

Selecting photos to take may not be obvious but an easy rule of thumb is to take one clear (not blurry) photo of each seam. By way of comparison, the photo that I opened with meets the lighting, posing and background criteria but it isn’t very useful with respect to seams except for the front yoke line and front waist tucks. I hope I don’t confuse you but a full front and full back photo is also desirable. I’ll explain in more detail as we go through this.

The seams selected for shooting on this shirt are:

  • Full front -this shows the horizontal yoke seam and waist tucks (shown top right).
  • Full back -ditto; horizontal back yoke seam and waist tucks
  • The back neckline and collar
  • The shoulder line (very very important, most people miss this one).
  • The side seam
  • The front collar and or neckline
  • A side view intended to show the garment balance.

Now I’ll illustrate each of these seams.

Full back: I want to see the horizontal yoke line (it's not exactly straight on the form but it is on a body).
Full back: I want to see the horizontal yoke line (it’s not exactly straight on the form but it is on a body).
The back neckline and collar. Make sure your model's hair is up!
The back neckline and collar. Make sure your model’s hair is up!
The shoulder line (very very important, most people miss this one).
The shoulder line (very very important, most people miss this one).
The side seam -you should notice that this one isn't exactly aligned to the side of the form.
The side seam -you should notice that this one isn’t exactly aligned to the side of the form.
The front collar and or neckline. We need to see how the collar is laying.
The front collar and or neckline. We need to see how the collar is laying.
A side view intended to show the garment balance. In this case, your eye needs to aligned with the hem to capture it properly.
A side view intended to show the garment balance. In this case, your eye needs to aligned with the hem to capture it properly.

 

Here is your cheat sheet:

  • Your model needs to stand properly and in a fixed position. You can move around the model as needed.
  • Hair up! We need to see the neckline and or collar.
  • Lighting -watch shadows.
  • No blurry photos -retake them please.
  • Take one photo of each seam
  • Take photos to illustrate balance.
  • Use a step stool if needed.

Stuff I didn’t mention above but just as important:

  • No black garments! We can’t see the seam lines and folds.
  • Garment closures should be fastened. If there are none yet, pin the item closed.

I hope this was helpful. Happy shooting!

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