Tips for Finding and Photographing Texture Images

Let’s face it: textures are everywhere. When we think about the word ‘textures,’ grungy images generally come to mind first. Prominently rough, dirty, stained, or scratched objects are regarded as textures. But even things that appear to be flat and smooth generally have some sort of texture to them. Whether it be fine fibers, or glossy streaks of marble, imperfections of some sort are always there, adding subtle irregularity to smooth objects. And when it comes to photographing textures, no surface must be overlooked.

Let’s pick up our trusty camera, and start photographing textures somewhere very close to home. In fact, we might not even have to leave our house. Most people think they need to photograph textures somewhere urban where they can find multitudes of rusty dumpsters tormented with graffiti, or someplace spooky like an abandoned farm house, complete with broken windows, peeling paint, and tall stacks of firewood. Yes, those places are great for finding textures, but if you don’t have access to places like that, don’t feel left out. You don’t have to go far to find textures. Try searching in your attic, basement, or garage if it’s old objects you’re hoping to photograph. Let’s get started!

CarlyArtDaily’s Texture-Hunting Tips!

1. Take lots of pictures.
Allow yourself plenty of time to take pictures. Don’t rush it. Walk around slowly. Stay focused, (get it?!) and allow yourself to be uninterrupted. This might seem a bit extreme, but try to take between 50 to 150 pictures each time you go out “texture-hunting.” Keep pressing that shutter button until your finger hurts. And then go out and shoot some more the next day.

2. Use autofocus.
What we want to get are crisp, clear images filled with the details of our surface’s texture. Autofocus makes sure to capture macro details with precision, and is much quicker than shooting in manual. So if your camera has a setting for Macro, be sure to utilize it.

3. Everyday objects are key.
Get up close and personal with items you have in your house. The desk you’re sitting at, the blue walls in your bedroom, the fabric of your curtains, the porcelain of your bathtub. Open up a sketchbook and photograph a blank page. Be the person who takes pictures of things that most people would overlook.

4. Get as close as possible.
We want to make our two-dimensional photos seem like they could really be experienced by touch. Let’s hold the camera only inches away from our subject. Zoom in on the single fibers in the linen on a tablecloth. Let’s preserve the clarity of the details in every surface we photograph by shooting at a close distance.

5. Shoot straight on.
To avoid any issues with wonky perspective, align your body (and camera) so that it’s directly in front of your subject. That will help us achieve that flat textured look. Shooting at the best possible angle, guarantees us that we have no out-of-focus parts to our images.

6. Be steady.
Try taking a deep breath and holding it in for a second while you press the shutter button. Also, if you have one, a tri-pod can be very handy when shooting textures.

7. See things from a different viewpoint.
Once you think you’ve photographed an object from the most promising angle, reverse it. Turn things upside down and inside-out. Look under things. Climb a ladder and photograph things you would have normally missed while on sturdy ground.

8. Lighting is crucial.
Don’t use your camera’s built-in flash. It will just make your images look washed-out, and cause unwanted glare or reflection.

9. Go outside.
If you’re shooting outside, do it on a cloudy day. This will promise an evenly lit image without any harsh shadows. The great outdoors is filled with many natural textures, and the scenery is always changing depending on the time of year. Fresh green grass in spring, dry grass in summer, dirt patches and fallen leaves in autumn, snow on the ground in winter…you get the picture.

10. Be artistic!
Even if you don’t consider yourself a traditional artist, you can create textures with just a few simple brush strokes on paper. Use ink, paint, crayons, pens and other traditional art supplies to mark up some surfaces. Also try crumpling up paper, splattering paint, scratching metal surfaces, etc.


So that basically wraps it up. I am in no way, shape, or form a professional photographer. I do not own top-of-the-line camera equipment. I probably can’t answer your questions about aperture or DoF, nor do I want to have the Nikon vs. Canon debate with you. But I hope that my tips were helpful and I can’t wait to see your photos! Share them with me in the comments below.

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