Sep 2023

Choosing between Flat Lay and Ghost Mannequin Photography: a matter of presentation and audience

In the vast realm of online content, one recurring debate revolves around the choice between two distinct styles of product photography: Flat Lay and Mannequin. While some sources insist that this decision primarily hinges on budget considerations, we beg to differ.

In our view, the preference between Flat Lay and Mannequin photography isn’t merely a matter of financial constraints; rather, it’s a strategic choice that profoundly influences how you present your products and resonate with your target audience. In this blog post, we delve into the nuances of this decision, exploring the ways in which each style can impact your brand’s identity and customer engagement. Let’s unravel the art of visual storytelling and discover how to make the right choice for your unique offerings.

What is Flat Lay Photography?

Flat lay photography is a popular product photography style that involves placing the product on a flat surface, facing upwards, and capturing it from above. This technique works well for fashion brands that offer standard products such as t-shirts, pants, or hoodies, as it allows for better visibility of differences in cuts, such as straight/slim or leg width in pants. Flat lay photos can achieve various effects, from products laid flat to naturally hanging items with visible folds. This technique is also highly recommended for fashion brands with products featuring intricate prints or as a base for applying digital prints

  • Able to showcase differences in cuts even without special styling.
  • Provides a consistent look, making it ideal for showcasing prints or embroidery.
  • Suitable for photographing products of different sizes.


  • Packshots taken with this method may make it difficult for customers to envision how the product will look on them.
  • No possibility of photographing the product from different angles.

What is Ghost Mannequin Photography?

Ghost Mannequin Photography is a type of product photography that removes the mannequin from the photo, leaving only the garment visible. It is a popular technique used in commercial photography, particularly in the fashion industry, to showcase clothing items’ fit and intricate details without the distraction of a mannequin. This style of photography is also known as invisible mannequin photography and is a useful way to present clothing products without any obstructions. 

By discreetly removing the mannequin, customers can better envision how the product would look and fit on them.

Based on our experience, Ghost Mannequin Photography is most effective for brands with unique and innovative products that have distinct cuts and designs. This technique can help customers better understand the product. Another advantage of ghost mannequin photography is the ability to capture the product from various angles, which is not possible in flat lay photography where photos are limited to the front and back views.


  • Allows customers to have a detailed view of the clothing’s cut and details, especially with more unique designs.
  • Easy for customers to comprehend and can be used for various types of clothing.
  • Ability to show dynamic poses, body in motion.
  • Enables you to capture the product from various perspectives.


  • It requires an experienced stylist who can properly arrange the product on the mannequin.
  • Takes more time than traditional product photography due to the advanced post-production process.
  • There are different kinds of mannequins, usually need to have different silhouettes/sizes.
  • Necessitates a significant equipment investment – mannequins can be rather costly.

Overall, both ghost mannequin and flat lay photography can be effective methods for capturing product images. However, it’s important to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages before selecting the appropriate technique for your fashion brand and products.

If you’re curious about how your products would appear in both Flat Lay and Ghost Mannequin, don’t hesitate to request test photos from us. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to conduct AB tests and determine which photography style yields better conversion rates.