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The importance of image

In this article, the Ethical Fashion Forum offers some top tips on how to get imagery that showcases your sustainable fashion brand in its best light.
Fairtrade organic and minimalist clothing from Kowtow
© Mysource Ltd

Images are the final point of communication for your product. They represent all the hard work energy and pride you have invested. You haven’t spent months fine-tuning your collection just to let your brand down at the final hurdle have you?

A good image of your product will be one where everything involved makes perfect sense for your brand story: the location, the lighting, the styling, hair and makeup all needs to sit in unison together to make the image work. There needs to be some kind of narrative, even if it is really subtle. It is all about the prep work. You need to know your market and work out a concept that suits your customers’ taste.

Use professionals, it will actually save you money

It is ok to start with what you have, but make the most of what you’ve got, and know where to spend. The thought of overwhelming costs of a professional team may make you wince but do not be tempted to skimp. In this digital age these images will be immortal. You buy cheap, you buy twice.

There is nothing more frustrating than going to edit your images and struggling to find usable ones because the photography isn’t up to scratch. For press, it is tough to feature potentially great collections obscured by unprofessional or awkward photos.


An experienced fashion photographer will be able to direct the model to capture the best poses and will work closely with the stylist to oversee the hair and make up.

Without a professional’s working knowledge of how to maximise natural light, or how to use basic lighting equipment, it takes a lot of practice. Too much light and the clothes will get lost in the brightness, too little light, and they’ll get lost in the shadows.

You may have a great digital camera but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get great photos. Don’t count on your camera’s auto settings to do the work. If you are shooting on a sunny rooftop or a shadowy alley, auto settings, editing, and filters may not make up for it. Great lighting makes your products look their best, and you’ll benefit from it in the few seconds it takes your audience to form a first impression.

Regardless of where you choose to shoot, make sure the setting isn’t distracting to the product. A cityscape or landscape may look great by itself, but you’ll want the attention on your product, which is why plain studio backdrops are a safe bet.

Your model

You need to call in a professional, one who will be the right ‘face’ for your brand. This is crucial, because you are creating a story that your target market should want to aspire to, identify with and buy into. The model’s pose and expression needs to reflect the overall tone and narrative you’re trying to achieve.

Asking a friend, neighbour, or your business partner to stand in as your model may seem like it will save you money, but if they aren’t completely comfortable in front of the camera, it’ll probably show. Advice on this one is for your model to practice as much as they can and take several rounds of test shots to see what works.

You may find someone with a great look, but it doesn’t mean they’re a great match for your collection. Try to find someone who would accentuate the best features of your designs in the way you imagine your ideal customer to wear them.


A good stylist does more than just iron the clothes. Your stylist will act as a fresh pair of eyes on your brand and will be able to see your product in a new light. They have invaluable insight into the industry and will work with you to ensure you communicate your brand image in the most on-trend, commercially relevant way to reach your customers.

Going DIY

For those who still want to go the DIY (do-it-yourself) route, pay close attention to all the little details. Keep in mind, even if you go DIY, sometimes hiring professionals turns out to be less expensive on account of re-shoots, spending a tonne of time editing, or later down the line, a resulting lack of sales.

Optional further reading:

Image is Everything: The key to getting your products right
4 Key Reasons Why Your Imagery Might Not Be Working
Photographer Rachel Manns On How to Get Great Imagery That Sells Your Products

© Mysource Ltd
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