How to Integrate Textures in Your Images Using Photoshop

Photoshop is a powerful tool, whether you’re using it for simple tweaks or creating abstract and complex works of art. One way to elevate your photographs to another level is to incorporate textures. This enables you to change the look of your image from realistic to fantastical or you can make your photo look older than it is. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Starting With Texture

The best way to add texture to your images is to photograph an object with texture. These can include everyday items such as wood, gravel, interior/exterior walls or even rose peddles. Be mindful of what you want your photograph to look like so you can capture the best possible shot for what you’re trying to accomplish.

When shooting items like wood and flowers, keep in mind that the best textures come from macro shots with a high-quality lens. The closer you get, the more the texture will pop. For the most part, capturing fresh or living plants and flowers will look better when placed into Photoshop.

Basic How-to Tips

  1. Start by opening up the image you want to add texture to in Photoshop.
  2. Next, open up the image that you want to place as a texture. In your original image, copy the texture image as a new layer and place it above the photograph.
  3. Make sure your texture covers the photograph entirely or to your taste. Resize if needed.
  4. In your Layers Palette, change the opacity of the texture image so your photograph shows through. This step controls how much texture you add onto your image.
  5. Next to the Opacity option, you’ll see a drop-down menu with the word “Normal” in it. Click on it and scroll down to find the effect you want to try out. Use the Opacity tool again to tweak it to the level you want it.
  6. To gain more control over your texture, copy the background layer and place it above your texture. Manipulate the opacity to lessen the texture effects.
  7. If your image needs another layer of texture, repeat these steps until you gain your desired result.
  8. For added effect, use the Gradient tool to disperse the texture throughout your photograph.

Texture Finding Tips

When searching for textures to use over your photographs, think about your desired result. If you want your image to look old with a vintage feel, photograph the wall of an old concrete building or scan aged pieces of paper onto your computer. If you want your picture to have a sense of motion, take a picture of running water from above.

If you’re using water to add texture to your photographs, for example, don’t feel like you have to be limited to rivers and streams. You can manipulate water by dropping food coloring or liquids with different densities to get cool effects. Don’t hesitate to be creative with your layers in Photoshop either. Add several layers to make a new background or only apply the texture to certain parts of the image. The overall lesson is to be creative and try different tools and techniques until you achieve the look you want.

When you’re working on a new project, walk about town and photograph anything and everything, from grass in the park to jeans in a department store. Textures are out there waiting to be captured and use. The only limit is that of your creative mind.