Product in Motion: Gap Inc.’s Photo Studio Captures Clothing to Fit Your Lifestyle
by Kelly Flanagan and Brooke Ginnard, Gap Inc. bloggers
Design is in the details. And it takes obsession with detail to breathe life into that irresistible piece of clothing. These are the people behind the scenes at Gap Inc. — the dedicated professionals who push themselves every day to create customer experiences that resonate. Get to know these heroes of their craft.
“Shopping" no longer just means shopping in brick and mortar stores. Browsing and buying online has become one of the primary ways we all shop. But have you ever wondered what's behind the experience of shopping online?
Enter Gap Inc.'s Photo Studio. The San Francisco-based team captures all of the photos found on Gap.com, BananaRepublic.com, OldNavy.com and Athleta.com with the goal of helping online shoppers evaluate clothing length and fit, fabric thickness and texture, and how well their potential purchases will pair with different outfits — all without trying on a single piece.
Although Gap is currently testing a virtual dressing room, photography is often the first point of contact brands have with their customers — whether that's in the form of marketing campaigns, advertising, content on social media, or on ecommerce sites — and it's the main way online shoppers evaluate whether or not to pursue the product they're interested in all the way through to checkout, or abandon their shopping carts entirely. (Think of your own experience in this regard: How do you navigate buying something online?)
To make that online shopping experience even more dynamic than it is today, the Photo Studio at Gap Inc. is experimenting with a new three-dimensional approach to the way in which its brands highlight clothing online. Studio teams work with brand styling and merchandising teams to capture clothing from different angles, on models presenting lifelike poses — ideally allowing shoppers to see how each piece falls from all angles, get inspired by the different ways to wear and style clothing, and eventually imagine how it may fit into their own lives (and wardrobes).
“Everything that we're doing here is aimed at helping our customer better understand how a piece of clothing will fit," explains stylist Katharine Adams. “We also try to inspire them to see themselves in the clothing."
Teams at Gap Inc.'s Photo Studio are divided by brand, ensuring that the product styling, model styling, art direction and overall look-and-feel are authentic to the unique brand being showcased, so that each brand feels distinct.
The folks at the Photo Studio are a talented bunch. They're flexible enough to pivot to the needs of each brand, but one of the most valuable parts of their process is that this kind of streamlined, all-in-one approach to online product photography allows Gap Inc. brands to share learnings with one another, experiment with different photography styles, and really learn what kind of online experiences their customers are interested in — across Gap Inc.'s entire portfolio of brands.
Learn how Gap is testing a virtual dressing room.
Meet the woman who makes fashion float: Tips and tricks for styling for the perfect laydown photo from a Gap Inc. Photo Studio stylist.