How to style and photograph a T-shirt on a model

We share tips about styling and photographing a T-shirt on a model for your e-commerce store

Equipment used: StyleShoots Live. Click here to learn more.  


The basic T-shirt is one of the simplest and most worn clothing items. However, that doesn’t mean it should be underestimated when it comes to photographing it for an e-commerce web-store.

In this model photography tutorial we will show you how to prep your set and how to work the lights as well as the camera so you can end up with the desired consistent representation of the T-shirts you’re selling.


What do you need before you start?

Which stages do we cover?

  1. Styling & Preparation

  2. Lighting 
  3. Cropping & Camera Settings
  4. Taking Your Photographs

1. Styling & Preparation

Styling and preparation of your model and your set are the first essential steps you need to take before starting your T-shirt photoshoot. Keep in mind that the T-shirt is the star of the show.

Pick a casual outfit

When choosing the rest of the outfit that the model will wear, you need to decide on something that is simple and will not overshadow the T-shirt but will rather complement it.

The pieces of clothing you give your model should be comfortable and casual, just like the T-shirt - a pair of simple jeans can easily do the trick. 

Go for natural makeup

Make sure that the makeup of the model is also very simplistic and neutral because you don’t want anything to take away focus from the main product.


The T-shirt you're showcasing should be complemented by casual, comfortable clothing and footwear. 


2. Lighting 

We've said it before, we'll say it again: If you want your pictures to look great, lighting is one of the most important things to look out for in a photoshoot. The right lighting is necessary for a consistent, aesthetic look for your catalogue. 

Position your key light & reflector correctly

Point the reflector on your left directly at the key light on your right. They should be facing each other. That way you light up the whole set area, the environment becomes bright and you create a nice, even light that spreads across the whole stage.

Be consistent

Make sure you use the same type of lighting for each shot. 

This lighting can also fit a range of other products that you need to shoot throughout the day. For more ideas about lighting, check out our lighting tutorial.


This lighting setup is perfect for e-commerce shots.


3. Cropping & Camera Settings

There are a few tricks you can use to make the shooting part of your photoshoot process easier and more efficient.

Set up framings

Having framings set up is useful because you can easily get back to them while you're shooting. Those can be full body shots, upper body part shots or whatever works for the image you’re after.

Make sure your camera is in the right position

When shooting a full outfit, you want to make sure that the camera is pointed towards the middle of the body. That way you're not distorting the top or bottom half of the body.

For close ups (crop shots), you should position the camera at chest height in respect of the model. Then you can slightly tilt the camera down towards the model from that chest height position - that will let you take a better shot of the outfit.


Pointing the camera towards the middle of the body or having it at chest height gives you diverse perspectives of the T-shirt. 


4. Taking Your Photographs

Shooting photos of a model will always require a good dose of focus. When it comes to e-commerce, the highlight of the pictures you take needs to be the product you're trying to sell. That's why attention to detail is crucial during this stage. 

Present your clothing in the best possible way

The overall outfit of the model and the product you’re showcasing should be in their best state possible at all times while shooting. 

Make sure that the clothes on the model are not wrinkled and that there are no dirty spots, hanging threads or lint anywhere.

Also, continuously adjust the T-shirt and the rest of the outfit if necessary. You don't want your products to look odd in the final shots.

Work with the model

There’s a big chance that your model will be moving around the set - be conscious of that and refocus during every shot.

And instead of expecting the model to hit all the right poses, keep on directing him or her to change from pose to pose to get the shots you’re after. 

Take pictures from various angles

You might want to zoom in on a certain part of the T-shirt in order to show the special details of the product - sequences, stitching, material etc.

Shoot the front and the back of the model to show off all the best features of the item.

Don't forget to take a few shots from the side - you can see the profile of the model and the way the T-shirt looks from this particular angle.


Different Angle Examples

Combining all these tips will help you get consistent, clean imagery for your web-store and your catalogue.


A final note...

Thank you for reading our tutorial - hope you found it useful! This article is part of our ongoing series of tutorials on product photography, styling and lighting. If you found it helpful, why don’t you head on over to our YouTube channel and subscribe?

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