i am often asked about the softness that i achieve in my photos. because we’ve discussed aperture and camera lens capability, now is the perfect time for me to address the question. plus, the answer is simple. texture. yup. that one little word is going to change the way you think about taking photos and once you’ve got it on your mind and begin putting it into practice, you’ll be immediately enhancing the visual appeal of your photo.
let me explain. we already know that by shooting with our aperture wide open we are creating soft images. however, just because parts of the photo fall out of focus doesn’t mean that we should forget about them. in fact, i treat it as quite the opposite. in almost every image i take, i add texture to parts of the photo that i know will be out of focus and i compose my shot almost entirely around those textures. there are three different places that you can easily add texture and immediately enhance your photo. let’s dig in.
foreground texture: in my youngest daughter’s room, we have book ledges hanging above her changing table. because they are ledges, her books are displayed visually and therefore double as colorful decor in her room. i use this to my advantage by using them as colorful ‘bokeh’ (the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens) from time to time. by taking a couple of steps away form her changing table, i am able to compose the image to still focus on my daughter while also incorporating the books as bokeh. it’s also important here to note that my husband was standing right next to her changing table as well, just in case she decided to launch herself off. safety is always my number one concern when i am snapping photos so please be mindful and take extra precautions when you’re shooting as well. anywho, below you’ll see the final image that was composed with foreground texture. had i NOT used the books as texture, the image would’ve likely fallen a little flat because the texture adds that little extra bit of softness for a better visual appeal. don’t worry if you don’t already have something hanging on the wall then you can hop over bestwallclock.com to add additional beauty to the wall or you can add some foreground texture by setting a pile of books or a stuffed animal at the edge of her changing table and pushing her changing pad (and therefore, her) back a little bit.
background texture: let me begin by saying that i am no joanna gaines. my interior design skills are sub par at best so i’m not even ashamed to tell you that i decorated my mantle entirely with background texture in mind. now, by sitting my subjects on the middle couch cushion, i can take soft, beautiful images knowing that everything on my mantle will fall out of focus and add the touch of softness that i love. in fact, in an attempt to add even MORE softness to this particular image, i threw a fluffy blanket over the back of the couch for some added texture and i’m so glad i did. it added the perfect hint of softness to up its visual appeal. again, don’t get discouraged if you don’t have something in your house already set up. moving ANYTHING and placing it behind your subject will immediately add background texture. to maximize the softness, simply place your subject as far from the background texture as you can. the further your subject is from the texture, the softer the it will become.
direct texture: perhaps you aren’t working with a lot of depth like a foreground or a background, but you’re still looking to achieve softness. no problem-adding texture directly to your subject, under your subject, around your subject..you get my drift..can still add softness. in the image below, my daughter is simply sitting in a chair. there is nothing in the foreground to act as texture and her back is literally touching the background so there’s little hope for softness there. with this in mind, i made some texture adjustments which resulted in a super soft, dreamy image. first, i added a blanket with a textured edge below her. i also put some crochet knee high socks on her, knowing that if i set my focus on her eye, her legs and blanket underneath would fall out of focus. to take it even one step further, the shirt she’s wearing has ruffles on the sleeve which added an extra touch of softness and perhaps, because i’m little crazy, i draped a blanket on the back of her chair for even MORE texture. the image only has the appeal of being super soft because there are textures that are falling out of focus. without the blankets, crochet knee highs and ruffly sleeves, the photo would’ve merely been my daughter sitting in a chair. even adding one blanket will made a world of a difference. you’ll see!
this week i challenge you to add texture to your images. whether you add it to the foreground, background, or directly to your subject, you’ll find that they’ll be immediately more visually appealing. don’t be afraid to create your own textures or move things around in your home to achieve the look you’re going for. don’t forget to post your images to social media using the hashtag #ClubClickPic2! i can’t wait to see your images!