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Texture: An Element of Design in Photography

Although it is true that photography acts as a good visual medium, there are images that invoke other senses as well. For example, a photo on a food magazine with just the right detail that you actually felt as if you could taste it. As a photographer, you need to make your images speak not only to the viewers’ eyes, but also to as many of the other senses as possible; make them speak to their hearts. One of the major considerations when photographing for texture is the beauty in the details.

Fantastic Design in Photography graphic

As it is the case with all that photographers do, lighting is important in effectively creating visual and also textual experience o the viewers. The three aspects of light: quality, direction, and color, are just as defining when highlighting elements of texture as they are when photographing people, landscapes, and any other subjects. While it is very difficult to separate the three, direction and quality have the biggest impact on photographing for textures rather than overpowering them. For instance, soft and cool lighting will enhance smoother and softer textures like water or ice. On the other hand, hard side-lighting will not only accentuate and enhance the detail on a rusty stone or pipe statue, but also elevate it as a tactile experience. Ambient light mostly works best, providing a more natural and organic feel.

Always keep in mind that when shooting for texture, your model is not going to get bored or tired. Even your child would not get fidgety while speculating about the chocolate you promised if they sat for the session. The only issue you have to face when photographing for texture is how long your ambient light is going to cooperate and also your shutter speed. As a result of this, you have the luxury of taking your time. Experiment with your composition, play with the angles, adjust and readjust your camera settings. The available light may be your only important asset at such times, but you still need to endure that your camera sees the scene in the same way that you do. Your camera has no artistic intentions so you have to tell it what it is that you are seeing. So play with your aperture and shutter speed and see what they will bring.


A certain degree of preference and personal taste comes into play, but many photographers mostly use smaller apertures when photographing for texture. Shooting wide open and the resulting depth of field (DOF) can through bits of your image out of focus. This is something that you must avoid when shooting for texture because textures no longer appear as they should when they fall out of focus.  If you are including any background elements, it would be wise to use a wider aperture. Just like in a portrait, a background that is out of focus will add more emphasis to the subject and also foreground emphasis which in turn significantly enhances the textures in the frame. You should try tuning your exposures till you acquire the most wanted results.




Author: Mark

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