How To Use Textures To Improve Your Photos

Overlaying textures on top of your photographs is an underused way of adding real interest and creative flair to a final image. This tutorial on exactly that might be the best one I have seen to date.

There are some genres that I have never found much use in adding textures. They also happen to be my weakest genres — like landscape work for example — and adding a texture overlay always felt like it was making my image significantly worse rather than better. What would add interest and intrigue to some photos, can make others look messy and jarring.

In this video by PHLEARN, Aaron Nace takes you through how he would add textures to a fairly simple (but beautiful) portrait. The textures can be acquired from many places, usually under a Creative Commons license, and even busy, ostentatious textures can have real value with the right treatment.

This sort of technique can be powerful with the right image, but it's sometimes tricky to decipher which images will work. As a general rule of thumb, I would avoid very clean-looking images, or images with flat, uniform backgrounds. This sort of post-production is particularly powerful when you pair it with an image that has some atmosphere to it, or is generally rather moody. An overlay texture, if properly executed, can accentuate that motif to great effect.

What is your best example of using textures on an image in post-production?

Rob Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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