Try Texture Blending

By Gary Smith

Try adding some texture to give an otherwise an ordinary image a stronger sense of feeling.

The starting point is this image from Boxing Day 2011 overlooking the Long Sands at Tynemouth.

Nothing special but I was attracted by the lighting conditions and the “Lowry-esque” figures on the beach. I was also lucky (it would be nice to say I waited for the “decisive moment”) to capture the bird in frame which I think adds a sense of movement as well as making an interesting triangular composition.  The wind was strong but this original camera capture doesn’t really convey what I saw and felt at the time.

I wanted to see if a textured effect could help. You can download free texture images from or I am using this sandstone photo.

Drag the sandstone (or other texture) on top of the original photo – it will appear as the top layer (of two) in the Layers palette.

You may find it necessary to re-size the texture image to match your original photo. If so – just click Edit/Transform and drag the corners to the correct size.

At this point all you will see is the top layer- the sandstone image. So click on Blend Modes in the Layers palette and select “Soft Light” .

Immediately you will see a textured effect overlaying the original image.

In this case it’s too strong – so reduce the opacity by moving the slider in the Layers palette to the left (see above screenshot) – in this case to about 45%.

The end result is a (pleasing?) textured effect on the original image which conveys a sense of “painting and texture” which helps a little to capture the mood of the original scene that I saw.

Different textures will give different effects and you can add several textured layers which combine to give a subtle overall effect in keeping with the vision of your image.

The technique is demonstrated with Photoshop CS but can alo be achieved with those later versions of Elements which have Layers..

Have a go and let us know how you get on.


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