Blog, Tips

Adding a texture

Why not add an extra dimension to your photographs by adding a texture. From giving your photographs the appearance of being printed on different types of papers or materials, to using surfaces such as rust, wood or peeled paint to add a new creative look and feel, adding textures is a heck of a lot of fun and creates endless possibilities for your photographs .

Adding textures is really quite a simple process, all you need is a basic understanding of using layers in Photoshop. The real trick is knowing what images to use and also what kinds of textures will work with them. There is no right or wrong, but you will know whether a picture works or not. It’s just down to trial and error.
The first thing to do is get yourself a few textures together. Get out and take pictures of all manor of things – tree bark, brick, wood flooring, peeling paint – all these and more can make interesting backdrops for your pictures. In addition to making your own texture library there are many other places offering ready made textures, which are great if you want to get stuck in as soon as possible…However, there are a couple of things to remember if using other peoples work. Firstly, I personally feel that there is a greater satisfaction if all the work that goes into creating your picture is your own. Secondly, make sure you look at the licensing terms of any third party images you want to use. Ideally you’ll want these to be Public domain should you wish to sell your work later down the line. I see a lot of folks offering textures under Creative Commons licenses and this is where you may want to really consider whether or not you want to use said images. The vast majority of creative commons works include the ‘non-commercial’ part, meaning that if you wish to sell your images you’ll need to get permission from the creator of the the texture first. To be honest this is an extra hassle that I can do without. If, however, you’re doing it for your own personal pleasure then go ahead and use whatever you think will work best for you.

Once you have your images the next thing is to combine them. Open both images into Photoshop and either use the move tool to drag the texture photo onto your main photo or simply copy the texture image and paste it onto your main image. You should see each image as a separate layers in the layers pallet. Making sure the texture is the top layer, change the blend mode to either multiply or overlay, whichever you like the look of best. After that you can muck about with opacity, rub bits out using the eraser tool, or pretty much do whatever you like.

For the images above and below I used the same texture image, (a shot of a dirty old window) which gives these images a more vintage feel, plus the uneven putty made for a good border too.

For the image above I used the same texture as the first two for the border and then added a second texture (peeling paint) to use over the paperwork.

For this image I used another dirty window covered with cobwebs, only this time I overlayed it twice and in different rotations to create a backdrop for the rose. I then used the eraser tool to rub through where the rose was.

It’s not very often that I do these kinds of images but they are a lot of fun and can make pleasing works of photo-art.

If you have any other suggestions and tips then feel free to leave a comment for others to see.

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9 thoughts on “Adding a texture”

  1. Dave, nice article. I absolutely love that picture with the waves. Fantastic! I love applying textures to my images! I think it adds a little something. Thanks for the texture inspiration!

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