To Add Texture or Not?

October 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Someone asked me recently why some of my photos are presented with textures and some are not.  I realize presenting every photo with added textures would probably give me a definitive style, and it might help with sales.  However, I choose to let the photo decide whether a texture is appropriate or not.  Some photos call out for the addition of a texture, such as the Eastern Kingbird photo "Wishing" above.  The background behind the bird was non-existent.  White.  Blown out sky.  By adding one of my jeweled sky textures, I was able to give this little bird a beautiful background, create a mood, and give the photo more of a message to deliver rather than just a pretty bird on a branch.  

Now let's look at a different photo:

Angry SwallowAngry SwallowOne Tree Swallow expresses his anger toward another on a wooden post alongside Lake Graham in Jackson, TN. Perhaps he didn't like what was being served for dinner?


This photo was already perfect in my opinion.  There is a mood present in this piece already, and the background is pleasant and unobtrusive.  By adding a texture, it may have taken away from the strong presence of the birds and what's going on in the scene.  I actually began the photo preparation with a texture, but it begged to be left alone.


AirOBatics - Tree SwallowsAirOBatics - Tree SwallowsIt's just amazing to me the stunts these tiny birds perform in the air! I watched this pair at Lake Graham for hours. By the time I left, I was exhausted just from watching them.

This photo "AirOBatics", like the first photograph in this post, once again had a blown out white/gray sky behind the birds.  And truthfully, the shot was too dark overall.  While it's a good action shot, the detail in the birds wasn't as crisp as it needed to be due to the darkness of the original.  By adding this light gray texture, it purposefully softened the bird's features, yet still allowed the incredible action to be shown.  And it added some detail and interest to the plain boring background.


Other than being a little dark due to it being a gray October day, this photo "Pinson Mounds Eagle" was in pretty good shape.  It did ask for a little color, however, so I added a softened texture to add a touch of vibrant color into the clouds behind the eagle.


I wonder if other photographers allow their photos and subjects speak to them and say what should be done with the final photo?   Or am I the only one who has conversations with my photos? :)


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I am a photographic artist living in Tennessee, and I love to spend my days in nature capturing life's most serene and peaceful moments, whether it be in landscapes, watching birds and wildlife, or simply enjoying the beauty of a simple flower. I hope you enjoy my work, and that it will bring a moment of serenity into your day. --Jai Johnson 


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