Photo Processing: Applying Photoshop Textures to Create Fine Art, Museum-Quality Portraits

As a wedding photographer, one thing that I offer to my brides is Fine Art Wedding Photos. My style of this is pretty simply achieved, and brides love it! Here is how you can add textures to your photos using Photoshop to create beautiful art.

1.  I start out with a photo of their choice.  Here you can see the photo chosen before any textures have been applied.  Open the photo in Photoshop.  Make sure you are always working with high res files.

2. Using the lasso tool, draw around the outline of the subject. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Then apply a Gaussian blur from the filter menu at the top of your screen. This helps to make sure that particular area of the photo will remain smooth when you apply your texture.

3. Once you have your photo open in Photoshop, and your Gaussian blur applied to your subject, you then need to open the texture that you are applying. You can find textures everywhere on the internet. I purchased this particular texture from Nichole Van. Make sure you are using a high res texture as well.

4.  In Photoshop CS3, use the move tool to grab your texture and drag and drop it over to the photo you want to apply it to. If you are using CS4, you will need to have your texture visible on the screen, and then use keyboard shortcuts Ctrl A to grab the texture, and then Ctrl C to copy it. Select your portrait photo so that it is now visible on the screen, and then use keyboard shortcut Ctrl V to paste it on top of the portrait. You will end up with something like this:

5.  Once your texture is placed onto the photo, use keyboard shortcut Ctrl T to resize your texture to fit over your photo from corner to corner. Once it is resized, hit the Enter key.

6.  At this point, you should have two layers in your layers pallet. Make sure your texture layer is highlighted, and then you can play with the various blending modes by choosing the dropdown arrow and choosing one that you like. Most of the time I use the multiply blending mode, but in this example… I chose to leave it normal.

7.  With your texture layer still highlighted in your layers pallet, bring down the opacity to about 50%. You will be able to see the original photo behind the texture. You will also be able to see where you have your subject still outlined with the lasso tool, and it should be blurry where you applied the Gaussian blur.

8.  Once your texture is applied, press keyboard shortcut Y to get your history brush. Make sure you choose a brush size that will keep you in the lines of your outline. At the top of your screen, lower the opacity to somewhere around 15% before you start erasing the history of your photo. Slowly erase the texture (which will also erase the Gaussian blur) from the subject of your photo. You do not want to erase it all because you want it to blend. I always erase the heaviest on the face, leaving plenty to be seen everywhere else.

9.  Basically from this point on, you keep playing with your opacity, your history brush, and your blending modes until you reach a desired look. There is no science to this. Just have fun with it until you reach your desired look to your piece of art.

This is a great way to sell more expensive products to your clients. These look absolutely fabulous printed on fine papers and canvas gallery wraps. I almost always include at least one fine art print with every package I sell, and it never fails… the client always comes back for more.

Guest Writer: Wendy Cunningham of Wendy C. Photography
After spending years working on a degree in Business Education, Wendy decided to follow her dreams of becoming a lifestyle and fine art wedding photographer.  Wendy has spent several years being mentored by L.A. Fashion Photographer, Jason Christopher, and now this Nashville-based wedding photographer is hitting the wedding scene.

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