wine on the keyboard

The Great Texture Challenge

by Kay~Kacey on 2/9/2009

Okay, the title of the post kind of gives it away, but indulge me, okay? You can do that, right? (No, it’s not a contest for showing us your favorite photo where you’ve applied a texture. It’s not really a contest at all. More of a challenge. I’ll explain in a moment. I hinted at the challenge in this post about my comfort shoes.)

Okay, moving on…

Textures can be fun to use on your photos. They can give a little creative twist. Sometimes an otherwise blah photo can be made into a work of art. An added texture can set a mood, hide a flaw, make a statement. Here are some tutorials for adding textures to your photos. If anyone has a really good link to using textures, feel free to leave it in the comments.

But I digress…

I decided to make my own textures (another hint re: the challenge…) and use them on some of my photos…

orange poppy

This is pretty. But stark. I was looking for more of an artsy look.

crackled glass

I added this texture (my favorite texture so far!) It’s a macro shot of some etched glass we have on a bi-fold door.

Orange Poppy Art

Here is my finished California Orange Poppy.

kacey self portrait

This is a horrible self portrait I took when I was experimenting with natural light.

grid texture

Here is a grid texture photo I took. It was the back of my ironing board. Figured I should use my ironing board for something! :lol:

caged by winter

Here is an example of a texture attempt gone bad… :roll: I guess I was going for a caged in look. :wink: So we’ll call this Caged in by Winter.

dying roses

Here are some dying roses that SuperGuy took in Palm Springs. I don’t like the varying background intensity, and to be honest, I’m in a vintagey mood. (I still say that’s a word. Do you hear me Apple spellcheck??)


This is a basket that I need to pitch because it’s falling apart. I grabbed a quick photo and desaturated it.

vintage roses

Put them together and presto, I have a Vintage Roses.

Now none of these are stunning examples of textures added to photos…because I could spend hours and hours messing around in Photoshop adding textures to photos and I’d never would have gotten this post written. But they give you an idea what you can do with textures. Well, and what you should NOT do with textures. :wink:


Textures you can use are all around you. This one?

father and son statue

It came from this father and son statue.

I’ve added my textures that I’ve taken (about 20 of them) to my flickr texture set. Go look and see what all I found to take a photo of and use it for a texture. It was such fun.

I took pictures of things like:

our shower door
pampas grass
milk glass closeup (of course!)
an etched vase

You don’t need a macro for this, since, as we know, I don’t have one! (But some were taken earlier with the The Photography One’s stolen borrowed macro.)

Here is the Challenge

Take some texture photos of your own! Share them with us. I’ve set up a flickr group you can use if you have a flickr account. The group is cleverly called Kacey’s Texture Group! I know, brilliant and creative name, isn’t it? Feel free to add to the your texture photos to the group. Please!

I’ve changed the permissions on my texture files that I added to the group so other people can use them. (I usually reserve all rights on anything I add to flickr.)

If you don’t have a flickr account (Why don’t you, you can get a free one. It’s a great way to share your photos. I’m going to post about flickr and all the ways to have fun there in a future post.)….wait, I’m lost on that impossibly run on thought/sentence. I’ll start again. If you don’t have a flickr account, feel free to do a blog post with your texture photos there, and link back here in the comments. Same thing if you use some other public web hosting site besides flickr.

abandoned stuckeys

Have you tried to create textures before? Try it, you’ll like it. Unleash the creative nymph behind the lens and look at things in a new way. Okay, grab your cameras and go find some interesting textures! (SuperGuy, if you’re reading this…we don’t really want to see the NYMPH behind your lens, you know, so just go with your creative side, okay?)

The Great Texture Challenge has begun! Let’s get a great group of textures that we all can use with our photos.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy February 9, 2009 at 7:30 am

What fun! We need you to teach at our museum. I love the “Caged in Winter” photo. Wearing that striped shirt makes you look as if you’re behind bars. Maybe I’ll indulge you in this texture hunt!

Kate February 9, 2009 at 7:48 am

Thank you so much for the tutorial links. I’ll be checking them out when I get home from work. Also, it’s funny (we’re always on the same wavelength) but I was thinking the same thing about textures and making my own . . . things I’ve been seeing lately just looked like they could be photographed and applied to my pictures.
Great ideas, Kacey!!

mary February 9, 2009 at 8:27 am

So glad I got my internet service back in time to see this fun challenge. I took a macro shot of the ice in our driveway last week, and Kate suggested I use it as a texture. And now that you mention it, I am seeing all sorts of fun things that might work… hhhmmmm……Let me see what I can find. :)

Kacey February 9, 2009 at 8:49 am

I KNOW, I see textures everywhere now!!! It’s an illness :wink:

Spread Your Wings February 9, 2009 at 11:03 am

what a fantastic idea! you sure did a superb job of teaching the art of adding textures. I finally got a flickr account so now I can participate. this will be fun.
(btw i like your self portrait – the lighting is nice)

Kelly Boyce February 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Wow – those are AMAZING! Its so awesome all the different things you can do! I so want to take a photography course, with a really good digi camera…

iPost February 9, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I made a texture the other day when I scanned my son’s sweatshirt! I like the textile look :love:

Suzanne February 9, 2009 at 9:20 pm

I love the caged in winter pic, too, LOL.

CindyP February 10, 2009 at 11:06 am

i wandered over here from Chickens in the Road……

I have just recently decided to take photography a little more serious and learn photoshop…. your site is awesome!! As I read your post and followed the links, I just had the ah-ha moment for textures!! Thank you!! It’s endless what can be done, huh? I especially like the vintagey roses myself! what an awesome vintage valentines day card that would make!

Thanks for the post, it just boosted my inspiration level!

Trent Rose April 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Great technique. I especially love the old Stuckey’s, where is this at?

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