- Guaranteed for 2 full months
- Pay by PayPal or Credit Card
- Instant Digital Download
Where do you begin when you are considering using textures in your photography? I suggest you begin with the absolute best photo possible. Adding a texture to a bad photo does not make it a good photo. You want to make sure you have it exposed correctly, composed well, have a clear subject and not too much in the competing in the background competing. Textures work best with photos that are not too busy to start. Once I have chosen the photo I am going to work with, I do all of my edits before I add the texture, including adjusting the colors and sharpening.
In this article I’ll share some of my techniques for working textures into your photography.
You want to sharpen your photo before you add the texture. This is so that your subject is sharp and the texture isn’t over sharpened compared to the subject. You want the texture to enhance your photo, not compete with it. When I sharpen the photo I use the high pass filter as opposed to the unsharp mask. I like this method best because it defines and clears up all the edges of your subject without over-sharpening all the fill areas. Below is how I do this and the settings:
Once I am finished adding my textures to the photo I might do a final sharpen at the end if needed.
Once you are finished with your edits and sharpening, you are ready to add the texture. One concern people have in adding texture is how to erase the texture from the subject without it being obvious. You wouldn’t want to have the face of a baby be texturized, for instance, but you would want the face to match the rest of the photo in color and tone.
Working with vintage papers is another fun aspect of textures that you can use in your photography. I get vintage papers from several great sources including my own family documents from the mid 1800’s, flea markets, online searches, Etsy, etc. I have curated several collections on my website for sale if you don’t want to go through the trouble of searching for them yourself. I especially love vintage French papers because of their wonderful scripts, markings, and fancy headers.
Working with the vintage papers is the same as working with textures. Place the paper on your photo in the approximate location that you want to use it. You will notice in the sample that I have placed it on the top of the many textures I have used in this photo, but you can place it on any layer that you want, to get the look you are trying to achieve.
Next, adjust the layer using the darkening blending modes: darken, darker color, color burn, linear burn, and multiply. Experiment with them all to see which one works best on the photo. The goal is to make the paper part of the document disappear, and have just the writing remain. Then just adjust the opacity to suit your taste. You can add a mask to this layer if you want to strategically erase some of the text which I do quite often.
I hope you will give some of these techniques a try whether you are new to textures or have been doing them for years. If you do, please share in the comments below!
Further reading on using textures in your photography: