How do you print photos on a t-shirt?

The process of printing photos onto t-shirts is achieved by a printing technique called digital printing, which is also known by its alias name direct to garment printing. This process is similar to that of a paper printer but it uses a larger machine and different inks and of course is specialized to work on t-shirts instead of paper.

Direct to garment printing is known for its low one piece minimum and its affordability which are major pluses in the industry. However, there are also some drawbacks to direct to garment printing. For example it is not yet at the same level of quality as screen printing. The results can be more sporadic and difficult to predict. So while T-shirts printing with custom photos is possible it is not yet at a high enough quality at this stage for us to recommend using it.

Screen printing is a much higher quality printing technique and the results usually come out much better and much more consistent; however, for screen printing to work at its best the design should be in solid spot colors without any color gradients or shading present. Naturally since photographs are so realistic they are never in solid spot colors, just as things in life are never in solid spot colors, and for this reason screen printing usually is not a good option for printing photographs.

Thus, here at You Design It, we are not yet able to offer photographs printed on t-shirts since we wouldn't be comfortable offering products that might not have a high enough print quality. In general it is typically more difficult to find printers who will print photographs on t-shirts although there are some out there who will. When trying to get a photograph printed on a t-shirt it is important to be clear and realistic about your expectations and to realize that even a well done print may not look exactly like the original photo. Ultimately it comes down to your own preferences as well as what is and isn't a priority for you. In some cases it might be worth going ahead with an order featuring a photograph printed on a t-shirt, while in other instances this won’t be a good route to take.

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