Modeling Your T-Shirts 101 (Part 2)

Modeling Your T-Shirts 101 is a guest post that was written by tee and belt designer, Jon Wye. In Part 2, Jon discusses how to take model shots creatively  on the cheap. If you missed Part 1, check it out, Jon discusses how to create quality product shots using a DIY lighting box.

Method 2: Work The Camera In Your Kitchen.

With the previous method you can make your tees look as good as the big boys and the quality and style of the photos works for a small designer and a large designer.

But if you want to have your t-shirts on models (my new choice for displaying the tees online) it’s not that hard, just takes a little more time and patience.

1. Fabric Store Field Trip. Start by taking a field trip to your local fabric store or even your local home décor store. Head straight for the upholstery and home furnishings fabric section, look for the thick stuff. Make sure to bring your camera.

Jon Wye at the Fabric Store

2. Have fun! With a friend, pick out your top 5 or 6 favorite fabrics and start photographing each other posing in front of the fabrics or laying on them on the floor.

3. Review. I picked out many fabrics that I loved in person but ultimately looked bad bad bad through the lense of the camera.

Have Fun When Choosing Fabric

4. Two Yards or More. When you’ve found the fabric that suits your best, buy no less than 2 yards worth. You will need enough to go over your head and below your waist.

5. Positive Reinforcement. Treat yourself to a McDonald’s Cheeseburger, you’ve earned it!

McDonald's Cheeseburger

6. Hang and Tighten. Go back to your pad and hang your new fabric. Make sure it is very tight and shows no wrinkles.

7. Prepare Lighting. Bust out as many lamps as you can find and shine the light away from the fabric. Get some white paper, or better yet, some white foam board, and bounce the light back on the fabric. Indirect light is the best light for modeling.

8. WHITE BALANCE YOUR CAMERA. Again, this is very important. Photoshop can only correct so much. You will need to take a picture of something WHITE that is in front of the fabric (but not with any part of the fabric in it) and balance your camera off of that image. Again, consult your users manual. White Balancing takes some reading to understand, so don’t beat yourself up. Essentially you are telling your camera what your consider to be pure white in the photo, and your camera should adjust all the colors it sees around that. You’ll probably need to do some Photoshop work, but not a lot.

9. Work The Camera. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. That is very important. Too often I see model shots where the people are looking far too serious for their own good! To me, it’s a turn off! I laugh, thinking, are you really that full of yourself to strike a pose that looks more like a epileptic fit with make-up on.

Model It!

Threadless Blank Tee Photos Flickr Group

Here’s a great find for tee designer that I just discovered today. It’s a Flickr group for blank tees that can be used for mock up’s when submitting designs to Threadless. According to the group disclaimer, the images provided can be used by any designer in any way they see fit for any Threadless submission. This means that you can modify the images as you like. However, I could not find any mention as to whether or not it is kosher to use the images for design competitions outside of Threadless (i.e. Design by Humans, Uneetee, etc.). Also, it is posted that if you do use an image and your design is selected and printed by Threadless that you agree to provide a free shirt to the model in the photo (the person who uploaded the photo). 

Last I checked, there are over 700 blank tees available for use. This is definitely a great resource if you submit designs to Threadless regularly and are looking for fresh new models and/or blank tees. The site is maintained by Threadless forums regular, chelly.