how to enhance an image with textures // 01

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I was talking in my latest blog post about how I sometimes like to add textures to my images to enhance them in a certain desired way, so I thought it would be nice if I shared with you my process of doing this. I am also giving away for free the texture from today’s little tutorial, you’ll find the download link at the end of the article.

I also want to mention that all I know of this subject I’ve learnt from watching tutorials on various other websites and I’ve adjusted the process to my personal workflow and taste.

This is one of the most basic ways to add textures to your images using Photoshop and it’s extremely easy to do too. However, keep in mind that something doesn’t have to complicated or complex to give nice results and sometimes the most simple tweaks give the best adjustments. Personally, I usually like to keep it simple.

So, here’s a black and white image of Manuela from a studio photoshoot earlier in September. I love her pose, her expression, but I feel the background is too plain, lacks detail and takes away from the feeling and story I imagine while looking at the picture. Then let’s try to give it detail and a bit of a grungy aspect.


I’ve built quite a consistent personal collection of textures, shot throughout my travels, during shooting on awesome deserted locations or location scouting trips. From my previous experience, I thought that an old wall texture would give the effect I want, so I tried a few of those until I was content with how it looked. I’ve also turned them to black and white before using them, as I was working on a bw image. The chosen one was:


Basically, what you have to do is add the texture on top of the image you’re working on, change its blending mode to “soft light” (you can also try “overlay”, but it gives a harsher effect) and then, using a layer mask, erase the areas where you don’t want the texture to apply. In my case, those areas included the face and skin. I also worked with different opacities of the erasing brush, letting a bit of the texture blend in at the edges on the hair and on the sweater, giving more of a painterly overall effect.


Finally, play with the opacity of the texture layer until you reach the level it works for you. In my case it was somewhere around 45%, but it all depends on the image and the look you’re after. Below you can see the result. Now it looks more like an image taken in a deserted location from another time, rather than in a contemporary home studio.


When to add the texture? Well, I usually add it at the beginning of the editing process, before starting to play with the colour layers, curves and levels. This helps to blend it in and make it part of the image. However, always have it on a separate layer, in case you later realize you want to change it or simply delete it.

In this particular case, I added it a little before making the last lighting tweaks, but this was because the image was black & white and I didn’t have much separate editing to do to the texture in order to make it part of the image.

The texture should complement the original image and become a part of it.


And as I promised, here you have a download link (or click on the image below) for testing out (for free! just add “0” when it asks you the price) the texture from today’s article.


If you like it, I have prepared a whole set for you including 5 high-res different images of this series PLUS their correspondent black & white versions, available for purchase at this link. (or click on the image below).

All the downloads and purchases are made via Gumroad online platform.


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