I use a lot of textures in my photographs. Textures add interest, help tell a story, even hide small imperfections. When using textures a light touch is the way to go, using a heavy texture tends to make the image look fake or gaudy. There are many photo processing plugins and programs that add textures for you with the click of a button. What many people do not realize is that creating textures is very easy and a lot of fun.
Due to health issues, I have not been photographing very much in the last 2-3 years. Now that life is good, I am back to photographing; at least on a limited basis to start. While hanging around the house, I realized that I really enjoy teaching, so I decided to start up my blog again.
Today I am going to talk a little bit about how to create textures and how to use textures. To create textures, you will need a spark of creativity. That is pretty much the secret to creating textures. They are ridiculously easy to create. To use textures, you need to have a photo editing program that allows layers and you will need to know how to use layers. Each of my Texture blog posts will focus on one topic with some examples.
What is a texture?
A texture is an image that is overlaid upon a photo. In imaging processing software such as Photoshop, On1, Topaz Studio, Paint Shop Pro, and others, that contain layers, you simply "stack" one image on top of another. If the software you are using allows layers, the software will also have Blend Modes, Fill and Opacity options. Using these options allows fine tuning of the photo you are using as the overlay. Textures are typically used on the background of an image, leaving the subject with little or no texture. This allows the subject of the image to stand out. Simple textures can be rocks, concrete, rust, burlap and fabric, even another similar image.
With the recent stormy weather here in Connecticut, I am going to talk about one of my favorite subjects: Clouds!
Clouds come in such variety, it is hard to pick a favorite. When out taking the dogs for a walk, playing with the kids in the yard or park, or just out enjoying the day, look up! Most days there will be clouds. Not all are interesting, but I tend to take a lot of photos of the sky to add to photos with blown out backgrounds. Blue sky with fluffy white cumulus clouds, sunsets with wispy cirrus clouds, or fuzzy sheep looking stratocumulus the possibilities are endless.
Last night just before sunset, while out playing with the dogs, I noticed that there were some huge cumulonimbus clouds gathering in the east. Knowing that sunset to the west was going to be a bust (no clouds, clear sky), I hiked to a nice open field and looked east/southeast and waited. And waited. Then POOF! Sunset came and the clouds lit up like fireworks. In occasions like this, a tripod and cable release for the camera is best. You want a very low ISO to help prevent noise, the lower the noise the better quality the photo. When creating textures, you want the best quality image you can capture. These two images were taken at ISO200, f14, 1/160 second shutter speed.
The only thing I did to this image was to add a simple curves adjustment:
Then 5 minutes later:
Same cloud, just more gold as the sun was setting. (note: under expose gold images 1/3-1/2 stop to prevent them from being blown out)
So when out shooting, don't forget to look up, and don't be afraid to take photos of just clouds, even if there is not a pretty blue sky.
One example of using clouds for a texture.
Part 2 will discuss Blend Modes, Opacity and Fill options using the top image.