Most of us these days have various electronic devices which are capable of taking multi-megapixel images….the latest digital cameras start at about 8 megapixels, and go upwards from there…mine takes 14 megapixel photographs. Mobile phones and smartphones start at at 3 mp, and the latest smartphones make picture files of about 10 mp’s.  Scanners make high definition scans of our photos, which can then be increased even more in programs such as Photoshop. But the original picture needs always to be high in resolution to start with, to increase the quality.

Yet, for all our latest technology, very few of us have a good understanding of photograph quality, and the use of high or low file size for different reasons.  In the T-Shirt printing business, our job is to provide you with a shirt design of the highest quality, which will say what you want to say, and show what you want to show, without people having to squint, or come right up to you to read what your text says..

If you’re thinking of taking a photograph of  little Sally, and presenting it to Grandpa on a T-shirt for his 60th birthday, here are some tips:
a) Program your camera to shoot the highest possible quality…don’t skimp on quality just to save space on your camera
b) When taking pictures of children, it’s always a good idea to use the multiple shot function, in case the child moves. That way, the camera will take several shots in quick succession, and at least one of them should capture the child before he/she runs away, or puts his/her finger up their nose!
c) If you’re taking a group of kids, set the “smile” sensor on the camera, or if possible, the “multi-smile” sensor which detects when each person is smiling, and takes the shot.
d) If you want to capture and freeze movement, put the ISO setting up higher than the default 100 ISO which is standard for a sunny day.
e) Have your subject facing the light source…many pictures get deleted because what you thought was a great picture comes out as a dark blob.
f) Plan your picture background. You may take what is a masterpiece photo of your child displaying his first missing tooth, only to realise when you see the photo, that in the background there is another child sitting on the toilet, or an overflowing Otto-bin next to him!

If you would like your photograph printed onto a t-shirt, and you might not want to include the background at all, make sure that you put the child against a plain contrasting or white background, so that we can delete it for you.

This is where the importance of a high resolution picture comes in. As we talked about in our last blog, pixels are square blocks of colour. On a low-pixel picture, when we magnify the picture to take out the background, the pixels resemble a set of coloured, blurred, steps and stairs. This makes it impossible to take out the background. On a pixel-packed photograph, using a selection tool in Photoshop, all the unwanted area of the photo is selected easily and deleted, and you will be left with a well-defined picture against the background colour of the t-shirt.

Here is an example of a medium quality picture which we were able to use. The customer wanted the background cut out, and a pair of angel wings drawn behind the little girl, and some text inserted. First the little girl:

Mum’s Little Angel

And here’s the same image with the background cut out, and text inserted:

“Angel” artwork for t-shirt

And finally, a sample of the artwork placed on a t-shirt, and sent to our customer:

Angel Shirt Sample

We hope this blog has been helpful for you, when you use your camera next….when you’re racking your brain trying to think of a creative gift to give someone you love, what better present than a t-shirt, polo, cap, mousemat or cooler bearing the images of your friends and loved ones? And remember….keep those megapixels high!:-)