Adding Texture to an Image

Little things mean a lot in photography. Sometimes a minor modification to a photo can make a real difference. For the image below, I thought it wasn’t quite right. So, I sent it off to a mentor of mine… Indonesian photographer Rarindra Prakarsa… who always has great ideas and suggestions.

Rarindra suggested adding a texture to the white wall, which really made a difference in the image. Below is the before and after:




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Portrait of an elegant woman on North Avenue Beach in Chicago

In this blog, I’ll focus on the addition of the texture to the wall. This was actually the first time I’ve added a texture to an image. Here is what I did:

First, I had already taken pictures of textured walls. The one I used was from Venice. You can also buy texture images, but what’s the fun in that? When you take the picture, be sure to have the camera facing straight at the textured surface.

Second, I brought the textured image into the Photoshop file as a separate layer, placing it as the top layer. I added a mask to the texture layer to mask out everything except the white wall. Although a selection tool could also be used, in this case I just temporarily reduced the opacity of the texture layer (so that I could also see the image beneath it) and used a black paintbrush on the mask over everything but the wall.

Third, I changed the blending mode to “overlay”. You can also try different blending modes for a variety of effects, but “soft light” and “overlay” are good options.

Fourth (optional), I added a hue / saturation adjustment and clipped it to the texture layer. I then de-saturated the texture layer.

Fifth (also optional), I added a brightness / contrast adjustment layer and, in this case, reduced brightness and increased contrast a bit.

Sixth, and last, I adjusted the opacity of the texture layer down to around 45%. However, the amount should be based on your judgment of what looks good.

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