For many photographers, textures are one of the most endearing aspects of photography. The visual formed by the contrast of colours, shapes, light and depth is something that creates a unique appearance every time. It’s also a representation of how a photographer sees the subject of their work. That is, a look through their lens as to how they interpret their surroundings. Textures are all around us, meaning there is always an opportunity to get creative. Here are some tips so that you can emphasise the texture in your photos.
Familiarise Yourself Beforehand
Although a large element of photography may be spontaneous, there are just as many instances where we set out to photograph a specific sight, environment or client. With this in mind, and where possible, consider visiting the setting in which you will take your photos. You’ll want to have the foresight to understand how shadows, lighting and other factors will play into your shot. Importantly, check to ensure that neither shadows, reflections or glare will overwhelm or interfere with your area – or you may require additional equipment. Once you have this information on hand, then you can plan the best time to return to optimise your results.
Steady Does It
When we talk about texture, we are paying attention to the detail of the subject. Therefore, it’s important to minimise the risk that there might be any disturbances which bring the camera out of focus – even if it’s just a fraction, and particularly if you’re shooting at night with a slow shutter speed. To help, you will want to use a tripod with remote trigger, thus avoiding any vibrations. It may also be wise to employ the auto focus option on your camera, rather than fiddling around with manual adjustments that could lead to miniscule shifts of focus.
Positioning is Key
Textures are largely defined by the angle with which light shines on the subject, as well as the angle from which the subject is captured. Light that is coming from behind you, directly hitting the subject, will often wash out the photo or make it look flat. On the contrary, when light comes from an angle either side of you, it will add dimension to the subject.
In terms of positioning, photos should be taken from a 90 degree angle, with the subject facing the camera. Although there are workarounds using digital editing procedures, these are still constrained by the setup of the original shot. The other thing you must keep in mind is the distance from which you are shooting. Generally speaking, texture is better represented via wide shots for small patterns, and close ups for specific objects or materials.
Pay Attention to Framing
Wide angle lenses are generally frowned upon when it comes to texture due to distortion. With that said, prime lenses with wide apertures are likely to encounter issues with depth of field. The problem you may find is that they create a shallow level of depth, something that goes against the principle of dimension within textures. Concentrate on finding the appropriate shutter speed for your work, which will depend on the light available. The key watchpoint on this front is blown out whites, so keep the ISO in tow by reducing it.