Quality Photography on a Tight Budget!

As a small business owner in the T-shirt industry, we know how hard it is to market yourself. Business owners spend a great deal of money on marketing their products. We will provide you with tips on one aspect of marketing and that’s quality photography. 67% of consumers consider image quality to be very important when making a purchase. Prospective customers cannot touch or feel your product while shopping online. Good image quality should attract and bring potential customers in. However, we know that good photography can be quite pricey. There are many ways to photograph your T-shirts on a tight budget.

You do not have to spend tons of money to be creative. In this day in age, many people have smartphones. One advantage about smartphones is that their built-in camera will provide you with some really decent images, those that are comparable to high brand DSLR cameras. Using your smartphone and really good lighting such as daylight or light clamps can make the difference in your product photography. Knowing your camera phone settings and some basic photography will take your photos to the next level. You definitely want a phone with great image quality and megapixels. You also want to make sure the image quality settings on your phone is at its highest.

Here are a few items to help you launch your mini photography studio:

  • Smartphone (Iphone, Galaxy, Moto X Pure, Sony Xperia, LG G4 ) or Point & Shoot / DSLR Camera
  • Light Tent or White Boards for Photo Setup $20 – $40
  • Two Light Clamps Or Free Standing Lights $10
  • Tripod (Amazon) $20 – $90

Light clamps are around $10. You can find these in a local hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot. Two should be sufficient enough to exert enough light. You can use 3 at the most.

Light Clamp

Light Tents can be purchased online on Amazon or Ebay. They typically run about $20 – $40. There are also DIY examples as well. (See 2nd diagram. ) Purchase a tent or create one that is large enough for your apparel and set up.

light tent

light tent2

This home set up is a perfect example:


Willing to spend extra on a camera?

If you have the budget to spend more on a DSLR camera, then go for it! These cameras are becoming more affordable each year and they will provide you with great image quality! For those who are just starting out we suggest a camera that allows you to go full manual mode with the capabilities to shoot raw files. Manual mode will give you full control over your camera settings and raw files are typically better to use when post processing your photos. Here are some cameras to consider that are $500 or less:

Canon Powershot G9 Digital Camera – $429.00 (Point and Shoot)


Nikon D3300 – $449.96 (DSLR)


Canon EOS Rebel T5 – $499.98 (DSLR)


Keep in mind when shooting, that creativity is key! Big windows that bring in a lot of light are perfect for product shots as well. When photographing your T-shirts you can lay them down on a flat surface on top of the white board. Place the lights on both sides of your T-Shirt.  The white boards will act as your background and aids as another light source to reflect light. You do not have to be confined to just the standard white boards. Take your apparel outdoors and use textures. Have fun with it! Happy Shooting!