Monthly Archives: June 2014

DIY Photography Tips

You need some pictures for your website; everybody does. And you have your own camera; everybody does. So you don’t have to hire a professional photographer, you can do it yourself. The price, the convenience…can’t beat it. But…you knew there was a “but” coming, right?….but the technology is only part of photography. Lighting and the subject are just as important. Knowing how to use all three (subject, lighting, camera) is just as important again. For the best imagery, hire a pro. A great brochure or website design can be trashed with mediocre imagery. Professional photography can make the difference. That said, there are lots of times when you can and should do it yourself, and digital cameras make it easy.  Use them. They are your friend. Here are a few tips to improve your shots.

Take Pictures of Light on a Subject

Photography is about light and the subject (the thing you are photographing), not the camera. So look at the light and shadow when you’re photographing. These tips are mostly about getting better exposure in your pictures and avoiding problems with light.

Use a Tripod

A basic tripod costs less than $20. Better ones are less than $75. A top-end tripod can run $1200. You probably don’t need one of those, but you should get a basic model. Any tripod makes lots of photography better. Get one and use it. It will come in handy for years.


Get a camera that automatically “brackets.” That means it can automatically take a series of pictures (often three); one is a little dark, one is about right, and one is a little bright. You’ll have better choices whenever you can bracket. Learn how to use that feature.

Use a Tripod and Bracket

When your subject is stationary, you’re using a tripod and you can take multiple exposures, those exposures can be combined in software to create a better image. Even if you don’t know how to use the software, your graphics person probably does. Multiple exposures give you and your designer more and better options.

Look Around and Behind

Do a quick check around your subject. Make sure there’s nothing distracting in the background. It’s easy to watch your subject, ignore everything else, and later discover something ugly, odd or distracting in the pictures. Try to avoid those distractions when you shoot. As a general rule, a simple background is best.

Look for Soft, Even Lighting

Generally, even lighting is better than sharp lighting. Even lighting comes from big light sources (or multiple light sources spread out). Reflected light is often soft. It creates softer shadows that are not as dark as sharp shadows. Sharp lighting comes from one or a few small light sources. Direct light from a bare bulb is sharp. It creates very sharp, dark shadows. It can also create bright, overexposed areas in the image. This isn’t a firm rule. There are times a small light sources is the best or only option. But as a general rule, look for soft, even lighting.

Don’t Use the On-Camera Flash

The on-camera flash is a small light source that creates sharp shadows. If you must use the flash, check out this tip from December 2012.

T-Shirt Screen Printing Prices

T-shirts…everybody wants to know the price of imprinting on t-shirts. Of course, it depends on specifics. What I can do here is provide prices for a typical screen printing project, so here goes.

Choosing a Shirt

There are thousands of options. Here’s a good place to start: If you find something online but can’t find it here, call and we’ll find it. BTW: Most prices you find at the above catalog are for 144 shirts of more. Contact us for a quote on a particular quantity of a particular shirt.


Standard T Shirts like this one are usually on sale for $3.50 at low quantities. This performance fabric shirt is on sale today for $4.50 at low quantities. Sales change weekly. Usually the same shirts are on sale for about the same price, but it might change any given week.

Screen Printing

Set Up

There’s usually a set up charge for creating the screens and setting up the machines for your job. Screen Printing Set Up (one color on light shirts): $30


These prices are for imprinting one color on light shirts. 24-35 qty: $3.80 each 36-47 qty: $3.24 each 48-71 qty: $2.76 each 72-143 qty: $2.28 each 144-287 qty: $2.00 each

Sample T-Shirt Pricing

Here’s a sample t-shirt quote for a sale-price Gildan – Ultra Cotton™ 100% Cotton T-Shirt 2000, one color imprint on one side. It includes a shipping estimate and Florida sales tax.
Qty Each Set Up Imprint Each Subtotal Shipping Estimate Tax Total
12 $3.37 $30.00 $6.60 $149.64 $13.00 $11.38 $174.02
24 $3.37 $30.00 $3.80 $202.08 $18.00 $15.41 $235.49
36 $3.37 $30.00 $3.24 $267.96 $22.00 $20.30 $310.26
48 $3.37 $30.00 $2.76 $324.24 $25.00 $24.45 $373.69
72 $3.37 $30.00 $2.28 $436.80 $35.00 $33.03 $504.83
84 $3.37 $30.00 $2.28 $504.60 $43.00 $38.33 $585.93
96 $3.37 $30.00 $2.28 $572.40 $50.00 $43.57 $665.97
144 $3.37 $30.00 $2.00 $803.28 $70.00 $61.13 $934.41

500 Shirts is the Magic Number

The piece price goes down as the quantity goes up. At 500 shirts, suppliers offer special pricing, and imprint prices are under $1.25 each. At over 700 pieces, imprinting is under $1 each. Of course, if you need a detailed quote on your project, call Pacesetter Media at (813) 685-9206.
Logo Design, Hillsborough County Parks

Some Blues Turn Purple in Print

When creating artwork for printed materials, some blues on a computer screen shift toward purple when printed. I have to correct for this problem regularly. Here’s what to do about it. First, screens don’t and can’t display exactly what’s printed. Many screen colors shift to the nearest printable color when printed. In particular, blue often becomes purple(ish). The solution is changing the exact color mix. Commercial printing is usually done with four colors (CMYK, see below), so you need to work with software that edits CMYK files. Here’s one example of a color that looks blue on screen but turns purple in print: Blue-Purple, Cyan (C): 100 Magenta (M): 97 Yellow (Y): 18 Black (K): 19 The CMYK formula is: Cyan (C): 100 Magenta (M): 97 Yellow (Y): 18 Black (K): 19 That second number, magenta, should be lower than 70% of the first number, cyan, or you risk a shift toward purple. The solution: In this case, change the color to a new mix with magenta less than 70% of cyan to prevent the purple shift (C100, M49, Y0, K70). A CMYK Blue, These colors might look similar when separated with some white space, but the formulas for each are different. To the point, the second color doesn’t become purple when printed.