7 tips to better photos for fittings

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Aug 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm / Designers must know, Fit and Sizing / Trackback

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!

9 Responses to “7 tips to better photos for fittings”

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theresa in tucson
August 13th, 2014
2:20 PM

Great tips, Kathleen, and that is a very nice blouse. Is it one of your patterns or for a customer?

Kathleen
August 13th, 2014
2:51 PM

Yes, this is one of my patterns destined for resale. There are 3 fitting versions, 21306, 21307 & 21308. The first is “average” sizing but with a larger cup size (D). The second has a smaller bust (B) but with a fuller hip and the last is for fat old ladies (like me). It has a larger cup size too. The 21307 would probably suit you except it is not cut for your height altho that is a possibility.

Vanessa A H
August 13th, 2014
4:12 PM

Katherine, love your blog. I like that blouse, too. My question is related to the other end of the body. I am trying to fit a pair of trousers on myself and have to have some one take the pictures so I can send them to the patternmaker. Is there anything I should be aware of besides front, back and both sides clearly shot?

theresa in tucson
August 13th, 2014
7:19 PM

The 21307 sounds right for me and adding length is routine by now. And yes, I will want one when you have them ready as this is exactly my style of blouse.

Kathleen
August 13th, 2014
8:22 PM

How tall are you? I had actually planned to make my patterns available in tall sizes. I did that for the men’s coat pattern I released first. There doesn’t seem to be resale patterns available in tall sizes so I thought it would be advantageous.

Kathleen Fasanella
August 14th, 2014
11:45 AM

Vanessa, that’s about it. Oh, be sure to pull your top up so the waistband can be seen clearly.

theresa in tucson
August 14th, 2014
11:26 PM

Kathleen, my driver’s license says 5’9″ although age has probably shrunk me a bit. Having patterns in long sizes would certainly be a help especially for those styles where more adjustment than simply cut and spread is needed. I’m long bodied with short legs (for my height) and have proportionally shorter arms so length adjustment in sleeves and torso is something I’ve always done.

Andrea
August 15th, 2014
9:57 AM

When I am photographing fitting garments on clients I always take one photo of each angle with flash, and another without. This can be useful in highlighting certain details that can be overlooked.

I would also suggest that a plain background that is a contrast to the muslin color, that the model is standing in front of (but not pressed against – the model should be a few steps in front of the wall) is useful. If you don’t have this (ie beige muslin, beige walls), then a colored sheet or width of fabric can be thrown over an open door. If you need to do this on a regular basis then purchase a roll of colored backdrop paper like photographers use in a midrange color, and paper a section of the wall with it as a designated photo area for fittings.

Also important: get to know your camera so that the pics are in FOCUS ! Washed out blurry pics are not much help.

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