Using Texture in Photographs { New York Photographer }

Swing-Thai-New York-Photography

I know this isn’t my usual engagement photography posts.  I’ve been doing a lot of personal projects lately.  Like I said in my last post, I’m really trying to expand my photography, or in this case get back to something I love in photography….. Textures.  When I first started doing digital photography all I ever used was textures.  I didn’t have a nice enough camera to actually pull off good shots so I had to mask my poor shots with lots of textures.  In reality this actually works pretty well.  If you look at programs like hipstamatic for the Iphone, it takes “great” shots.  Because the Iphone has such a poor camera, you can cover all that up with some texture and a bit of cross processing.  I think that’s why photographs taken on an Iphone and then treated with either texture, cross processing, or vignette’s look so much better.  They give them an artsy retro feel that everyone loves.  Hence with an Iphone and hipstamatic you can make it look like you take really creative artsy shots.

I think this realization that any photograph can be made to look artsy by adding a texture some vignette, and a bit of color shift, has really changed how I process my photography.  I try and shun away from texture whenever possible and try not to do too much color shifting (you really shouldn’t in portrait photography).  Although in reality it’s just my own inner monologue that makes me not use all the tools at my disposal to get the shot to look like I want it to.  I say to myself, “well if the shot can’t stand on it’s own without texture then it’s not a shot worth showing”.  I think this fear that adding texture is a way of covering up bad shots has made me shift too far in one direction.  I almost never use texture anymore.  And I have to really convince myself to use it when I do.  Any shift in your photography where you lean in one direction too far is probably a bad thing.  At least for me it is.  I need to realize that it’s ok to use texture when it would add to the character of the shot.

This is a prime example of where I thought it would add character to the shot if I used a bit of texture.  This is a photograph of an old rickshaw bike over on Tennyson and 38th in New York.  It’s out in front of one of my favorite restaurants in New York called Swing Thai.  I love that place so much.  Great peanut sauce.  Great everything frankly.  Anyways I can’t imagine how old this bike is or where it came from.  But it wasn’t made in the US, and I’m sure it had to have been shipped here from Thailand.  I can’t imagine shipping a rickshaw bike here from Thailand.  That must have cost a fortune.  On the flip side it adds for a great sidewalk decoration.  I’ve been meaning to take a picture of it for a long time now, but always keep forgetting.  I’m glad I finally got to capture it.

Photography Stats :

Exposure: 1/160 sec
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 85 mm
ISO Speed: 400

Obviously Post process on this photograph was pretty intense.  I had about 10 layers by the time I was done.  First I boosted the colors a bit in Lightroom, sharpened it, and moved it over to Photoshop.  Then I started building up texture layers.  Lots of texture layers.  I find that using bits and pieces from my favorite textures works best for me.  I use lots of layer masks, cutting or fading out parts that seem to detract from the overall shot.  Anything that I find distracting I try and remove entirely.  Other than that there really isn’t much to adding textures.  You just have to know when enough is enough.

Hope you guys like it,


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