By, Sarah Arnoff of Sarah Arnoff Photos
You wedding dress is probably the most beautiful piece of clothing you'll ever wear, but that doesn't necessarily mean you want to have it sitting around in your closet for 50 years. The whole point of a wedding dress is to wear it (hopefully) once. Selling an item quickly heavily depends on what kind of imagery you have to display—people are more skeptical of an item when they can't see it properly. So whether you are just trying to recoup costs from your big day or wanting to make sure someone else enjoys your wedding attire as much as you did, here are some basic tips to photograph your dress to sell, focusing on three main areas: lighting, display, and details.
As with any type of photography, light is the most important aspect. If you are shooting your dress in dim light, especially with a phone, you're results are going to be less than appealing and less accurate. Aiming for brightly lit areas—near windows or maybe even outside—will ensure you can capture your dress in the most flattering way. There's a reason windows are so popular for wedding dress photos: They backlight the dress and outline it's shape and details. When I'm shooting dresses indoors, I usually use a window and a flash to produce an even lighting situation. If you are just using the light available to you, try and stick with natural light. Indoor lighting can have a very yellow or orange color cast, which will change the way the camera captures the color of your dress.
Also, dramatic lighting doesn't necessarily mean a great photo for selling. Though the photo below on the left has beautiful, moody lighting, I wouldn't select it to showcase a dress for sale. The one on the right, however, is brighter and better shows what the dress looks like.
Imagine a situation where you're shopping for clothing online. Unless you are extremely familiar with the brand or make, it's difficult to tell how an item will fit. This is probably the biggest concern for dress-hunting brides—seeing something you love online doesn't mean it will fit you the way you want. So though hanging a dress up in a window can give a great overall picture of what it looks like, you'll need show how it fits as well. So, you can either pop that dress back on and pose for a few shots, or go through your bridal/wedding photos and select a few best photos. Whether you are posing or rifling through your professional pics, these next concepts apply to both situations.
Make sure you really display how the dress flows. Billow out your train or wrap your skirts around you very slightly to give the cloth a natural, flowing look. Angle your body slightly away from the camera, so you're not getting a shot straight on, to show how the bodice hugs or where the waistline falls.
Showing your dress in action might be a good thing to add as well. It might help potential buyers see how the fabric will handle on the big day.
What is unique about your dress? Does it have a dramatic scoop back, or intricate lace and beading? What drew you to this dress in the first place? Whatever the answers to those questions are, show them in the photos. Backlighting comes in handy here, since window light brings out beading and lace details really nicely.
Don't be afraid to get in close. If you have good light, you'll be able to capture details without worrying about blurry or grainy shots. Even phones can get nice up-close shots.
I hope these tips help you get gorgeous shots of your gorgeous dress! Good luck!