Commercial Retouching, High-End Beauty & Fashion

How to Apply Textures to Create Interest in your Images

At times when you’re done retouching an image, it still feels incomplete, like something is missing to really make it come together. Sometimes the answer isn’t in further skin and hair retouching, but in your overall creative choices.

Like most techniques in retouching, subtle changes will do worlds of change for your image. I like to add textures, patterns or grain to give my images that extra oomph that’s missing. There are times I feel an image can look too “digital” for my taste and this is one of my favorite ways to add a “hand painted” feel to them.

Here is an example:


Photo & Post by Eugenia Carolina

RELATED: How to Quickly Add Color to a Gray Background in Photoshop

I wanted this image to feel more hand painted. The light grey background felt a bit too clean for me, so I decided to add a texture to it. I used these two textures to start with:RA_Textures_Eugenia Carolina_Texture1

RA_Textures_Eugenia Carolina_Texture2

How it’s done:

    • First I decide if the color of the textures adds or distracts from my image, in this case I decided it distracts. I converted my textures to black and white;
    • Then I head to the layer blend modes, where most of the work will be done. You can play around with them and see what fits your image. In this case I decided the blend mode “Multiply” would be best for the effect I was going for.
    • Since I wanted this texture solely on the background, I added a vector mask to the textures and masked what I didn’t want to show through. I then brought the opacity down to about 25-35% for each texture.
    • The last thing I did was add blur to the textures to create the illusion that they belonged to a distressed wall instead of an added digital layer. Here is the result:

Photo & Post by Eugenia Carolina


Photo & Post by Eugenia Carolina

Photo & Post by Eugenia Carolina

The effect is subtle, but makes a huge difference in tying this photo story together as a vintage art studio concept.

You can also add textures or patterns for a more dramatic, painterly look that’s very noticeable. For this series, I wanted a painterly, dreamy background to go with the hand painted makeup theme. I used this texture for the following image:


Here I decided the texture’s colors would add to the image rather than take away from it, so I just shifted the hues more towards lavender. The layer blend mode I used is “Overlay” at about 65%.

Photo & Post by Eugenia Carolina
You can do the same with Patterns and Grain.

Photo & Post by Eugenia Carolina

These are some of the ways in which you can make your images more creative. Have you tried adding textures and patterns to enhance your work? Let me know what you think below!

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