Why Add A Texture Or Background To An Image?

What is the benefit of adding a texture or background to an image?

I believe adding a texture or swapping a background in an image can often be the difference between having a ‘good photo’ and creating a ‘great image’.

I don’t add textures or backgrounds to all of my images however there are circumstances where their inclusion certainly creates a wow factor!

Do I use my own images as textures and backgrounds? Yes, the majority of the time I do. Last year I started building a collection of photos for the sole purpose of creating my own texture and background library.

What’s the benefit of using my own texture or background to one I can download from the internet? The main reason I’m building my own collection/library of images is due to a number of photography competitions where the rules state that every aspect of the final image must be 100% created by you.  If I was to purchase and/or use images downloaded from the internet I would not be eligible to enter these competitions. It’s been the driving incentive for me to photograph my own set of ‘stock’ images to use as textures or backgrounds.

As I have added to my library I’ve discovered that there are some images that just don’t work well as a texture overlay however they do make excellent background layers.  For instance, I took a photo of a bright green, timber textured wall. I wanted to see what it would look like if I changed the colour and toned it down – would it pass for a texture?  In this particular circumstance it didn’t work well as a texture however I really liked it as a background. Here are the steps I took to create this image.

Here is the original image – a section of the bright green, timber textured wall.

My original texture or background photo

My original texture or background photo

I processed the image in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom by adjusting the white balance, Temp 12941, Tint +150; vibrance went to negative 62 (-62) and the orange saturation slider was also pushed to negative 48 (-48).

Colour adjusted through Lightroom - New texture

Colour adjusted through Lightroom – New texture

The Lightroom processing was a good start to creating a texture of background. I opened the processed image in Adobe Photoshop, added a couple of filters, adjusted the curves and now I have a base image I’m happy with.

Snapshot of Photoshop working on the texture

Snapshot of Photoshop working on the texture

Now for the fun part, to play and see what happens.  I chose a photo from my glamour photography session earlier this year with Heather.

Original photo of Heather

Original photo of Heather

Then opened my texture/background and moved the texture into the image, creating another layer.  I then dropped the opacity of the new layer to 35%.  In my opinion having the lines throughout (overlaid as a texture) really didn’t work as they were too strong across Heather, even with the opacity turned down.  I decided to mask off the area covering Heather so the texture was now only visible as a background.

Merging the two photos and Playing in Photoshop

Merging the two photos and Playing in Photoshop

To finish off I soften the whole image with a couple of my favourite filters.

My final Image of Heather on the new and improved background.

My final Image of Heather on the new and improved background.

The possibilities truly are endless when playing with textures and backgrounds. You are only limited by your imagination.

Until next week.





Photo A Day Project – Final

My July photo a day project, 31 days and 31 photos all using my Olympus OMD-EM5 camera with the 12-50mm lens.  In this my last installment I share with you the final 3 days, days 29 to 31 and tell you what I learned during this process.

Day 29

Today was a beautiful day, the sky blue, sun is shinning, a perfect winter’s day.  I was fortunate enough to finish a little early and make the drive home in time for sunset.  Just down the road from home we have this massive property which is to be developed at some time in the future, many of the trees have been cut down to make way for “progress” but there remains a nice little cluster of tree’s right near the road on the top of the first hill.  As the sun sets behind the trees you see the beauty of a true landscape and today I timed it perfectly.  When processing the photo I chose to look at it in Black and White, a true testament to the old B&W film days and the most stunning B&W landscape I have taken to date.  Today’s photo transforms into “Ye Olde Landscape”


Day 30

Sitting in the office today sorting through ideas for my photo a day, the dictionary on the corner of my desk caught my eye, that instantly gave me the idea for my photo.  Since starting photography I have a list of cool and creative shots that I want to learn and master and the heart shadow ring photo is on that list.  First task, find the torch – second task, find “love” in the dictionary, now start to experiment with the technique – place the ring near the word love in the middle of the book binding and use the torch to create the shadow heart.  Sounds easy well I would give you one tip, use a tripod and cable release or better yet have an assistant, it’s very hard juggling everything with only two hands and still holding the camera still enough to take the photo.  Today’s photo is “The Duality of Love”


Day 31

Woo hoo I have made it! Well actually not quite yet – still have to find my final photo a day to finish the project.  Walking around the boardroom in the late afternoon I caught sight of the sun creating shadows on the wall of the objects from the desk, only down side the blinds are interrupting the light.  Opening the blinds right up I got into a few weird positions and angles to keep myself out of the shadow area.  In processing I wanted to keep the look very contrasty, a black and white look using a filter in exposure 6.  It’s “Adam’s family” table worthy – perfect – Today’s photo is “Light your way into Darkness”


And then it was over – I had done it another challenge, 31 photos in 31 days. A great selection of photos and honestly only one I consider boring, so for me this challenge is a success.  It opened my eyes and forced me to look at things within my daily life differently.  I believe this experience has taught me alot, I have grown during the month, found inspiration from things I see everyday and pushed myself outside my comfort zone.  Each day finding something new, something different and create something unique.  A true challenge but such an enjoyable one.

I love all the photos but if I had to chose a favourite it would be Day 27 – “Wall Shapes” not only did I look at a mirror I see everyday in a different way but I added another element by showing off the textures and lines that lie within this beautiful piece.  I now appreciate it even more.


As I close out my blog today I would like to sincerely thank my readers for indulging me for the last 5 weeks I enjoyed not only taking the photos but sharing a little insight into each day and how the photo came to be.

Until next week.


A Photo A Day Project – Part 4

Continuing on with my daily insights from my July Photo A Day Project, here is week 4, days 22 to 28.

Day 22

It’s a cool morning and around lunchtime down came the rain, even though I don’t have a garden I can appreciate that the rain is needed.  Come late afternoon the rain has eased and the wind has picked up, it is grey, cloudy and cold outside.  I have the perfect image in mind for today, just need to find the perfect location and subject.  A bare tree trunk in front of the grey and interesting cloud formations – Today’s photo transforms into “Dark and Gloomy”

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Day 23

At the end of a day chained to the office desk I take a late afternoon stroll near the farm on the way home.  Whilst playing with the macro settings on my camera I photograph a tree stump, the wood has split open in several places and it very dry.  By using the macro setting the textures within the wood are highlighted.  To add another element in processing I use sepia toning to really enhance the lines and textures of the wood.  Today’s photo “In Pieces”.

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Day 24

An impromptu trip to my hairdresser to say hi and to meet their new makeup artist provided opportunity for today’s photo.  Whilst sitting chatting I noticed this really cool looking money box with pictures of France stuck all over it, that sounds normal – but wait the money box had a timer clock stuck on the side, so unusual, so me.  Another bonus in a hairdressing salon you are surrounded by mirrors, so perfect to create reflections and come up with a great photo of the day.  A little colour filter added in processing makes this even more unique – Today’s photo is appropriately named “Time for Money”.

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Day 25

Thank goodness it’s Friday – come 5pm I am on my way home driving on the parkway (that’s a road, not a park for those wondering) and noticed the sun streaming across the fields – Im quick to turn on the indicator and pull off to the side of the road.  I am greeted by the last light catching on the strands of foxtail grass up against the fence line.  What beautiful light and framing for the sunset, the perfect view to end the week.  Today’s photo “Silhouettes of Dusk”

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Day 26

A social day today catching up with a girlfriend for an afternoon of wine, good food and company and I was too busy socialising to stop and think to take my photo of the day.  I finally realised on the way home and decided to take a quick detour into Emerald Lakes, there is always something here interesting to photograph.  By the time I got out of the car I was almost dark.  The first thing that caught my eye was the direct soft light coming from the lamp post next to the sandstone stairs and was shining up to the overhanging plants on part of the wall.  I took many photos from all sides and angles.  When I got home and looked I found one that had just enough elements to give the impression of a laneway, maybe like where “Jack the Ripper” would have been.  Today’s photo is appropriately named “The Laneway”

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Day 27

Sunday, Sunday another lazy Sunday :).  I am wandering the house looking for ideas, shapes, something out of the ordinary, something a little different.  In my reading room I have this stunning large mirror which when you look from the side you appreciate the scalloped edging and the textured details within the finish.  I squish my nose and face almost on the wall so I can get in nice and close and take a photo of a small section of the mirror to show off the details without showing too much of what it is.  In processing I added more light effect on the left side to further enhance the shape and detail.  Today’s photo is “Wall Shapes”

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Day 28

For a long time I have been researching and bookmarking different types of photos and techniques to try.  On the list was to photograph eating utensils in a unusual way.  Today I headed to the kitchen draw and grabbed a couple of forks.  At first I thought the stainless steel on the sink would give me a great reflective surface however due to the ripples this was not what I had pictured in my head.  Working with what I had I found an effect that was pleasing and at least interesting.  In processing I decided to use a sepia colour and increased the high key effect to highlight the forks.  Although happy with the final image this is a technique  I need to work on to nail.  Today’s photo becomes “Intertwined”.

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Week 4 of my project complete only 3 more days of July to blog.  Next week I will share with you the final few days of images and some out takes and favourites to wrap up the month and my July personal project.

Until next week.