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Why Not To Use A T Shirt Template As A Product Photo

Updated on March 15, 2013

Example Of A T Shirt Template

T Shirt Template
T Shirt Template

Your Fake Product Photos Are Causing You Sales!

While I completely understand that it seems like a good idea to use a t shirt template or mock up as a product photo on your website or webstore, there are a million reasons why you shouldn't be doing it. Sure, it saves money and time and it's easy to do, but that extra time and money that you spend could help make you a lot more sales, so the effort will pay for itself. So why shouldn't you be making this huge mistake? I'll tell you!

T shirt templates aren't meant for customers eyes, basically, they're ugly. They are extremely useful for seeing how a design would look when printed on a t shirt or other product, and they're handy for designers who are sending proofs to their clients. But they just aren't meant to sell actual clothing to actual customers.

Maybe you can say that people don't know the difference between a template and a real photo, but maybe you're wrong. People can tell the difference. T shirt templates can be pretty convincing, but when you see the same exact shirt on multiple websites with different designs slapped on top, it's a dead giveaway that it's not a real photo of the product. If you think you're the only one using a particular t shirt template then think again, unless you made your own, someone else out there is using it. Probably tons of people.

Templates don't show people how the clothing fits, and this is important! When you shop online you obviously can't try anything on. Size charts can guide you but there's nothing better than being able to see the shirt on a human being. Even if you can't afford to hire models, at least get a few friends together and have them model for you, and if that isn't possible then try to use a mannequin, that's the next best thing. If you can't manage any of that then you should still take photos of the actual products, even if it's just the shirt lying flat on a surface.

Low quality photos aren't convincing to potential customers, they like to see nice big, clear and high quality photos of the products they're buying. So if you know this, then it's common sense that a template isn't useful, it's not even a photo.

Another thing I see quite a bit is that people don't know how to properly use a t shirt template. When they apply their design to it in Photoshop or whatever program they use, they don't make sure that it actually looks good. Spend some time adjusting your settings to make it look as natural as possible before you ever even think about using it to show someone who might be interested in buying it.

All of these things matter when it comes to presenting your products to the world, so if you're making the common mistake of using a template as a product photo, you'll be doing yourself a huge favor if you find a way to get real pictures instead. When it comes to selling online, anything you can do to improve your users experience, should absolutely be done, if you pass up these mistakes then you're basically giving away sales to the people who are willing to fix them.

I hope this advice helps you improve your website and increase your sales, there are of course many other factors that come in to play but I'll write about those a different day. This is a great place to start for now. Now get out there and improve your product photos!

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    • theweaksend profile image
      Author

      theweaksend 4 years ago

      You can disagree if you like, but in the end it's still better to have real photos, even if templates will suffice, why not have the real thing anyway? What do you have to lose? Ebay is another world and people will buy anything there(it's known for scammers buying shirts to steal the design and resell themselves), but like I said launching your OWN website with your own store is much different because people don't have the name ebay or etsy or whatever to trust, there's no middle man to protect them so you have to do what you can to make it convincing. I used to have templates on my shop and I had endless customers contact me asking to see photos of the real thing or photos of the shirts on a person, once I switched my sales increased and the emails stopped. I'm sorry but I think it's very naive of you to not be willing to listen other designers and clothing line owners opinions on the matter when they are the ones who deal with it first hand. Anyway, good luck with your Ebay sales, I'll be here enjoying keeping my full profits and not paying fees just to sell my stuff. hehe ;-) Take care!

    • justom profile image

      justom 4 years ago from 41042

      Well with all due respect I disagree totally with the idea that people need to see the real thing. I've sold printed shirts for years on ebay and believe it or not right here on HP. If your presentation is good it's not needed and maybe you failed to understand my point about Etsy. It's like not seeing the forest for the trees. Don't know how to be more clear about that. As for asking artists and designers about anything I really don't need to do that, I'm surrounded by lots of them and even a few of them haven't a clue. Guess we'll just agree to disagree but I do thank you for not being like some other folks on here who refuse to approve comments. A discussion is always a good thing even if there's a disagreement. Take care, Tom

    • theweaksend profile image
      Author

      theweaksend 4 years ago

      Well with all due respect Tom, using templates for screen printing clients and using templates for a professional online store are two completely different things. They are fine for printing purposes but when it comes to actually selling shirts to retailers or directly to customers, they aren't good at all. I know this from experience, I ran my own clothing line for years and my experiences were always that people don't like buying a shirt if they can't see the real thing. Sure, some people will, but many more people won't. If you poke around on Mintees.com, which is the worlds largest community of the best shirt designers out there, they will all tell you the same exact thing. I'm not talking about Etsy sellers here, I'm talking about real clothing lines with real websites and brands. I could spend time telling you why I don't agree with you buy my Hub does that just fine. Thank you again for your input though.

    • justom profile image

      justom 4 years ago from 41042

      T-shirts are either screen printed, heat transfered or are printed on a direct print sublimation printer. As long as the template can be reproduced accurately IMO it doesn't matter if you use one. The example of the template you used is one that I would not consider a good one. In order to get a good shot of a t-shirt I would photograph the shirt then add a cropped shot of the printed area. Also the point about using a person to show the shirt is what I call (light heartedly) Etsy syndrome. You use a model to show the garment and all you see is the model with a very poor image of the actual design. Since your point was maybe more related to size I'd say the most accurate way to convey that is by 1st simply saying it's an L or XL then follow it up with how many inches it measures from armpit to armpit and from collar to bottom. I even include the weight (even though most folks have no idea about that) of the shirt (6.1 oz. I find to work just right). I have a degree in commercial photography and was a screen printer for 25 years just so you know where my opinions are coming from and that I'm not just trying to be a pain in the arse :-). Let me know what you think. Tom

    • theweaksend profile image
      Author

      theweaksend 4 years ago

      Hey Tom! Thanks for the comment. But I'm not sure what you're directing it at because this article isn't about screen printing at all, it's about t-shirt templates. Though I do have a good deal of experience in printing and the retail part of the t-shirt industry, I'd love to hear what it is you have to say and get your take on it.

    • justom profile image

      justom 4 years ago from 41042

      Just wondering what screen printing experience you have? I'm not sure if I could disagree more with the whole hub. I'll wait for your reply to tell you what I think. Peace!! Tom