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Photographing textures

Photographing textures - Textures are fun to find, great to photograph and you can play around with them in Photoshop.

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Patterns and textures can be found all around us and you only have to look at a spider web or a honeycomb to see that nature is a key supplier. Shoot from the top of a hill and you'll have a patchwork of fields and forests in front of you and stand on the edge of a forest and you'll have strong lines of tree trunks dominating your shot but it's the close up textures, the ones you really have to look for that we're interested in.

Stand in your kitchen and open the fridge you'll find patterns in fruit and scales on fish which are just crying out to be photographed. Spend some time exploring your back garden or the local park and you'll find textures in decaying leaves, bark, blades of grass, repetitive flower beds, mushrooms and rocks. Head further out and you'll find mud cracks, patterns in sand, ripples in water, patterns in hillsides, shapes in coral - the list is endless.

Textures

Gear
Zoom lenses are useful for selective cropping but a macro lens will really get you close to the shapes and patterns you're trying to capture. A telephoto lens can be used to tighten perspective but have a tripod handy.

Technique
Look for subjects that have lots of repetition, but the pattern doesn't have to be regular, in fact the less regular the pattern is the more interest your texture will sometimes have. Mixing colours, lines and colours works particularly well. Don't include distracting objects and to emphasis the textures position yourself so your light source is on one side. That way you'll have strong shadows that will give your texture depth. A good texture shot is completely in focus and so watch out for camera shake. A tripod, remote release or the camera's self-timer will help with this. Experiment with different angles, light and subject distance to see what you get and don't be afraid to crop in even further during post-production if the image needs it.

Photographing textures can be fun and rewarding and once you start looking, you'll soon not be able to stop!

You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.

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