Texturize This

All surfaces have texture. In photography it’s not the literal surface of the monitor or the viewfinder, of course. But the visual or implied texture. When we look we can imagine the sensation of what we would feel if we touched that surface.  Our brains translate we are seeing into the idea of feel of a surface.

Ars Magna Studio | The Visual Thinker | Texture from Ars Magna Studio on Vimeo.

The illusion of tactile texture can bring realism and can help the viewer enter the image.  And this isn’t adding textures in post-production.  It’s about what textural qualities we are seeing. Surface texture changes with light.  As lighting moves and changes, a surface’s texture is either  emphasized or minimized. Sometimes you want things or people (say for example a bride) to have a smoother texture; sometimes you want them warts and all.

Jocelyn, of Studio Mathewes, shares in this image.  With soft directional light coming in from the left, we can see the subtle differences in surface texture; the satin couch, the pleats in the dress, the lace, the bride's hair, etc.  A formally symmetrical composition, the image is easy to read as a series of shapes, patterns and a study of textures.  The clues to the environment -the ornate mirror, vintage wallpaper, and classical sofa - is playfully at odds with the subject's casual posture, her feet splayed out, kneeling on the cushions.

Watch where the natural light source is coming from (or direct it if you bring your own lighting with you). Use additional lighting to enhance a surface quality or to underplay it.

Kate Rose, who sent me a ton of gorgeous images to choose from, loves to use texture when she's shooting location portraits. In the first image, Katie plays with depth of field, isolating the subjects within soft textures.  The summery color palette is reinforced by the soft feathery framing of the couple and their tender embrace.

Here, Kate plays with visual texture.  The patterns in the escalators and the mosaic are flattened by the camera's perspective and become textural elements within the frame.  The couple are separated from the patterned and textured ground by a slice of light that creates the contrast for the focal point.  Thanks, Katie, for two totally different takes on using visual textures.

Midday sunlight that exaggerates all textures - can it be a good thing? Can people really look good in the cold light of day? Post some links to your favorites with revealing textures.

The Visual Thinker is Boston Wedding and Portrait Photographer Allana Taranto of Ars Magna Studio who preps limes for gin and tonics by rolling them out on the counter just like her dad taught her, but that is neither here nor there.