Food Photography · Photography

5 Easy Steps to Get Better at Texture Photography!

The photography club that I belong to has an upcoming competition with its theme as ‘Textures’. So lately I have been doing a little research on this topic.

Let us explore a bit deeper into this theme.

What is Texture Photography?

Dictionary definition of ‘Texture’ is that it is the feel or appearance of a surface. Examples are rough, smooth, silky, soft, hard etc.

Texture photography is when you photograph materials emphasizing their outer feel to touch. This can include brick, wood, rusty iron objects, peeling paint or anything at all. The list is endless! But tree bark and stone are more common than others.

Stop a moment to ask yourself:

When you want to photograph a 3D textured object in a 2D photograph, the touch and feel of which objects do come first to your mind?

There are several household objects that you can use to photograph textures. For me, the item that sprang to my mind immediately was dried dates. The patterns on the tough wrinkled skin of the dates would photograph well, I thought.

Textures - Dates

In this photo, the lighting by a flash and a white umbrella has produced a nice and even exposure. But, as I have used a 70-300mm telephoto lens, the photo is a bit soft overall. In spite of the small aperture of f/22, the depth of field is quite shallow and only a narrow strip across the photo is in sharp focus. Both the foreground and the background are out of focus. Since the photo is designed to show texture, we need more of it in sharp focus. There is also the white background peeking through in a few areas that draws the viewer’s eyes away from the main subject and is a distraction.

Solutions to above problems:

  • Maximum zoom of 55mm with kit lens produces a sharper photo.
  • Shooting from the top instead of at a sloped angle will take care of shallow depth of field problem.
  • Hard light defines texture more clearly. A bare flash at 45 degrees to the camera at the same height as the dates can be used. This produces a high contrast image with the half away from the flash looking completely dark. A simple fill light of a white towel, a white cardboard can be used. I have used a kitchen foil wrapped to a card board. This provides reflected light to the shadowed areas of the dates.
  • Shooting on a black background will eliminate distraction.
Textures - Dates
Textures – Dates

Settings used:

  • Lens: 18-55mm kit lens
  • Focal Length: 55mm
  • Aperture: f/22
  • ISO 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/60 second

More Photographs:

Textures - Rambutan
Textures – Rambutan
IMG_0332_resized
Textures – Babycorn

Fruits, vegetables and household items provide interesting and unusual subjects for texture photography. Bittergourd, cauliflower, dry fruits are some examples.

Summary:

  1. Use a hard light as main light and a reflector as fill light to emphasize texture.
  2. Use a sharp lens and the right focal length.
  3. Use a narrow aperture for maximum depth of field.
  4. Shoot from the top to keep everything in focus.
  5. Use a background of neutral colour to avoid distraction.

Did you know that textures are also used in photo editing software as a layer to add something extra to images with simple backgrounds?

Do you like texture photography? What are your favourite subjects? Do you have any tips not mentioned above? Please share your pictures in the comments below, I’d love to see them!

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