Since I last posted, the season has slipped from Summer to Autumn, and with it came the colder weather. That being the case, it seemed wise to spend some time with my computer extending on what I had learned about applying textures to photographs to get a more arty and painterly look. I think that this kind of approach to photography is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it – but I am more than happy to accept it as another facet of the art. And it does seem well so suited to floral photography too.
If I am thinking in terms of a ‘fine art’ approach when I set out t take photographs, then I have that in mind when I am choosing a subject and making choices re composition that may be the opposite to what wold normally be acceptable choices. Textures work well with soft focus and lots of negative space whereas a ‘normal’ flower shot would benefit from sharp focus and a full frame. So here are a couple of ‘before’ and ‘after’ examples:
In both cases, I composed with the subject slightly to one side and with that negative space to show off the texture. I haven’t done very much to the original captures other than to add one or more textures to add to the background.
So, if you haven’t tried this approach, I can thoroughly recommend it. I cannot draw or paint – but adding textured to photographs I have taken allows me that extra layer of artistic choices and allows me to arrive at something that is very much my own creation.
This can be achieved quite easily in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (PSE – I use PSE 14). I do some very basic editing – tone, crop, saturation etc – in Lightroom first and then right click to take it over to PSE. Once I’m over there with the picture opened up, I then open a texture from a folder on my computer. Textures are available in abundance all over the internet with a simple search. There are also endless sites that you can purchase textures from too: 2 Lil Owls French Kiss Flypaper and quite a few free ones here: Shadowhouse Creations
Now you have both your photo and a texture open, click on the texture and click A to select all and click C to copy it. Now move to your photo and click V to paste and T to take you to the transform mode so that you can alter the size of the texture to fit your photo. Once you have done that, look over to your layers panel and look at the blend modes. In particular, look at multiply, overlay, soft light and hard light. They are the four blend modes I use the most, along with leaving it ‘normal’. Once you have chosen the blend mode, you can play with opacity until it looks right to you. There are no rules – it’s all subjective! Once you have done that, you can go one step further and apply a layer mask to the texture and with a soft brush and low opacity, you can gently brush some of the texture back off the subject. Once you are happy with the look, you simply merge the layer (‘layers’ – ‘flatten image’) and you’re there. Save your creation and share it with the world. In this final pair of pictures, the dead flower was captured with a lensbaby lens so it looked pretty arty as it was, but I still felt that a touch of texture added to the overall look.
And that’s it for this week. I have deliberately kept the instructions simple because you will find your own way to do this if you choose to experiment. Look on youtube for a million and one videos on how to apply textures to a photograph. And if you find a trick I haven’t spotted yet, please leave a comment and let me know 🙂
A bientot . . .