Two Easy Ways to Add Texture to Your Photos

feature-notepadsExtra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Gritty cell-phone photos are the new faux-vintage, but we’ve got another way to add filters to just about any photo.

We’ll teach you two ways to add pattern to your pics. A little lace and some sunlight will re-invent your shots with shadows.

…While a scanner and crumpled paper will make people want to reach out and touch your photos (mind the fingerprints on the screen!).

Add Texture to Your Photos

p.s. Our pals at Artsy Couture are giving away 3 free photo wood block sets on Facebook today! (Plus a 25% sale on their site, w00t.)

Why Texture’s Cool

Sometimes you take a photo that just feels like it’s missing something. Fix up that lonely photo by adding some texture to it with layers in Photoshop or by using fabrics like filters when you’re shooting.

You can even choose a texture that complements the story being told in the photo itself. You can get doubly creative by mixing and matching themes and ideas!

Method 1: Shoot with Fabric as a Filter

ingred-smWith Method 1, you’ll be adding texture with tangible stuff like fabric!

  • A yard or two of fabric – lace works great, but think chiffon and taffeta too!
  • Tape
  • A window
  • Scissors
  • The Sun (may not appear exactly as shown)

Step 1 – Stretch!

paper-sm All good workouts start with a stretching session and this photo project is no different.

You’ll want to stretch that lace over a window (or get some friends to hold it taut above your subject!). Use tape to hold the fabric in place or the promise of a candy for your assistant friends.

Step 2 – Shine on!

paint-sm Angle your subject so it’s close enough to the lace that the pattern is clearly shadowed. Too far away and all you’ll get is some blotchy shapes!

Step 3 – Add texture to your photos!

Oh the dreamy possibilities!

You should see a pattern shadowed over your subject. The brighter the sun, the bolder the pattern. Snap away while the texture’s hot!

Method 2: Fake it!

paint-smMethod 2 creates the same effect just digitally!

  • 4″x6″ textured fabric or paper
  • A scanner
  • Photo editing software
  • A photo that’s just crying out for a bit of je-ne-sais-quoi

Step 1 – Scan away!

paint-smPick out your fabric or paper. We used lace again, but crumpled paper is neat too – pretty much anything with a texture or pattern will do!

Drop a chunk of fabric or a piece of paper onto your scanner and scan it at a high resolution. Don’t worry about it being perfect – the whole idea is imperfection!

Step 2 – Layers upon Layers!

paint-sm Once you’ve scanned your texture, open it up in Photoshop along with the photo you want to add pizzazz to.

Copy and paste the texture into a new layer on your photograph. Your photo will be entirely obscured at first, but don’t worry, like Rocky, it’ll make a comeback!

Step 3 – Blend it like a margarita!

paint-sm With the texture layer selected, click the little box on the top left of your layers palate. This is your blending mode and it offers much more than crush, puree, and liquefy.

Click through to try out a few different flavours (our favourites are Overlay and Soft Light) and watch the magic unfold!

Step 4 – Finishing touches

paint-sm If it looks as garish as a gold lamé dress, you can tone down the effect by changing the opacity of the texture layer.

Mix it up with More Ideas:

  • Write a message on a piece of paper. Then use the writing as a layer!
  • Make your texture and photo interact. For example, shoot the photo as if your model is tearing apart the photo or crumpling it!
  • Photograph textured surfaces! Think stonework, rusty metals, etc.
  • Use your photo editor to give the texture color.
  • Go for themed patterns on holiday photos to give it that extra blast of cheer (like snowflake cutouts for Christmas)
  • Photograph glitter in sunlight and using the shiny dots as a sparkly layer over photos.