Adding Texture to a Studio Portrait: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

Adding Texture to a Studio Portrait: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

January 17, 2020 50 By Kailee Schamberger


In this video I’ll show you how to add texture to portraits taken against plain studio walls. Hello I’m Gavin Hoey, and you’re watching AdoramaTV, brought to you by Adorama, the camera store that’s got everything for us photographers, and in this video, I’m gonna show you how to take textured portraits in your studio when you don’t have a textured wall to shoot against. Now this is going to mean there will be some post-processing, Photoshop, we’ll get to that towards the end, but for now, it’s all about the photography and particularly the background. Now if you’re gonna do this regularly, invest in some seamless paper, preferably gray, it just makes life a little bit easier, but if you’re gonna do this irregularly, you can actually get away with something much more basic for the background as long as it’s fairly smooth. So with that in mind, let’s get a light set, let’s get a model in, let’s get shooting. So to help me out today I’ve got the amazing Beth. Beth is gonna be the model for this, but before we take any pictures, let’s talk about the background. Now remember I’m going to replace this background with something with a bit more texture, but to begin with I’ve got this fairly plain background. Now in this case, this is actually a painters dust sheet, and yes I know it’s not completely smooth, it’s full of creases, and it’s not really texture free, but that’s not gonna matter too much, partly because I’m gonna blur this out with a shallower depth of field, but mostly because we’re going to put some texture on top of that anyway. Now what you will notice is, the color. Now I’ve chosen that background because the new background I want to add is actually fairly close in tone, so that kind of makes sense to choose something that’s about right to begin with. Right let’s take our first picture, now where you put the lights entirely up to you depending on the look you want to achieve. I’ve gone with a fairly straightforward position with a little bit of shadow falling on Beth, I’m just going to check my exposure though, because although we’re going to do some Photoshop work, one of the things I don’t want to do is fix the exposure, especially when I can get it right in camera. So I’m going to shoot wide open for my lens f /2.8, so I get my flash to match my camera and let’s take a test like this, okay, Beth here we go, and when I do that, that works just fine. I’ve got a nice exposure on Beth, but that background looks nothing like you saw in the video, so for the background I’m actually gonna add in a second light, in fact the way I’m gonna light this whole scene is exactly the same as if this background really was a textured background. Don’t treat your shot any differently to a normal shoot, even though you’re going to do some post-processing later. So a second light, I’m going to pop this in right behind Beth, I’m going to turn on the modeling light so I can see where the light falls and point it straight back, something like that, let’s take a test picture see how this looks. That’s great, that puts a little bit of light on that background, I’m happy with that, so that’s my basic setup done. So now all we need to do is add some props for Beth to interact with, and do a shoot. So Beth are you ready? Okay, let’s find you something to work with. Yes I’m gonna give the bowl of fruit first, let’s try that, okay so let’s start with, yeah can I get you to hold it in two hands down there. Can I bring your other plait back across. Go turn towards that light. So that’s the photography done, and now I get to move into the post-processing, something I always knew was going to happen. Now to make this easier for me to get my head round, I’ve broken it down into three parts, there is any processing of the portrait adding the texture and then fine-tuning to blend everything together, so let’s have a look at one of the pictures and by the way, yes, I do have a bit of a cold, but I’m fine, so here’s one of the images. I want to add in the texture. In the processing through Camera Raw, I reduce the vibrancy to give it this sort of washed out look, and I think that suits Beth’s look really well, so what about the texture, well, there’s loads of textures online, you can buy them, you can find a few for free, this is a free one from my website at www.gavtrain.com What I’m gonna do with this texture, is first select it here inside of Photoshop, I go to ‘select’, and all, then go to ‘edit’ and ‘copy’ back to my main portrait, back to ‘edit’ and ‘paste’, now that will paste the texture on top of the portrait, and because Photoshop works in this way when you paste, you cover up what was underneath, now in this case it’s covered it up, and then some, because that texture is actually bigger than the portrait. So I’m gonna go to ‘edit’. ‘free transform’, find the missing bit, there it is and just sort of make it all fit, something like that, click on the tick or press ‘ENTER’ to commit to that change, now one of the advantages of using layers is that you can blend them together, and this is how you create the texture, and the final image together, so I’m going to change the ‘layer blending mode’ on the layers panel from ‘normal’ and I could choose say ‘multiply’ for a darker look. I could choose ‘screen’ for a brighter look, but mostly it’s going to be either ‘overlay’, ‘soft light’ or in this case… ‘hard light’ for a little bit more of a dramatic looking texture. It all really depends on the image underneath, and the texture you’re using. So that applies the texture, but it’s gone absolutely everywhere, including all over Beth’s face, so I need to fix that, but first there’s one more thing that may not be so obvious at first sight. Have a look, so when I was shooting these pictures, I was using a wide aperture for shallowish depth of field, but now I’ve got an InFocus texture, so that doesn’t really quite work, so I’m gonna go up to ‘filter’, I’m gonna choose ‘blur’, and I’m going to ‘Gaussian blur’ this texture maybe, you know five pixels looks about right – just enough to recreate the look of a depth in this picture, and it does work because you can now see that the hairs, those fine hairs do actually stand out, where before they were lost in the texture, but the texture does go all over her skin, so we need to fix that, because that isn’t healthy in any way, shape or form, and I’m gonna do that by using a layer mask, so ‘layer’ let’s come down to ‘layer mask’, and ‘reveal all’, and then I’m just going to get a paint brush make sure my paintbrush is set to black and try and get the brush opacity down to something like about 30%/40%, just so, I build the effect up with lots and lots of small clicks, I’m gonna keep changing my brush size as I go. I’m using the square brackets to make my brush bigger and smaller, and this should just help to blend it in, really I’m just trying to remove it from the skin, and leave the texture blending into the hair and the clothes, okay, and I could stop there. I’m really happy with the texture, it looks like it was always there, but to really bring this together as a complete final photo, I’m gonna add a little bit of toning, you don’t have to do that, but I think it’ll help in this case. So for the toning effect, I’m actually going to use the color lookup tables here inside of Photoshop. Now I’m gonna find them via the ‘adjustments panel’, you can also do it under ‘image adjustments’, it’s this little grid of nine here, click on that, and then I’m going to choose, well we could do all sorts of things, but it’s the top one here, and I want a nice warm color tone, so I’m gonna add the ‘full colors look’, that looks pretty good, that adds a lovely warmth to both the texture, to Beth, the background, it all looks really good. It’s perhaps just a little bit strong, so I’m gonna pull the opacity back for that layer, let’s make it around about 70ish %, and again you could stop here, but one more go, let’s add one more of these color look-up tables, and this time I’m gonna go with ‘tension green’, which adds a very weird tone, but I only want a little bit of that, so we’ll bring that down to the high teens, and that just adds just a little bit of tonality to that picture, and again helps just to blend the whole thing together, and with a few other tweaks and a bit of contrast adjustment, there is my final image, complete with its brand-new background. In an ideal world, I’d probably have this texture on my studio wall, so I could do everything in camera, but there’s actually a big advantage to adding textures in Photoshop, and it’s basically this, you’re not stuck with the same textured wall in your studio forever and ever, because trust me, that can become quite grating after a while. Now if you’ve enjoyed this video, or you’ve got any questions, leave me a comment below, click on the bell icon for regular notifications. All the brand new videos right here on AdoramaTV, and of course click on that subscribe button. I’m Gavin Hoey thanks for watching.