- The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers
- The Adobe Photoshop CC Book for Digital Photographers
- Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book
There are a lot of opinions about whether or not you should use textures in photographs. Before saying anything else, I just want to take a moment and remind everyone that photography can be a very personal thing and what appeals to some people will look bad or cheap to others and vice versa. There is no universal truth about using textures but it's definitely a technique worth checking out.
Let's start with the number one mistake that I believe photographers make when using textures. They either use them to camouflage a technical flaw in the image or to turn a bad photo into a good one. Obviously this is a mistake that's similar to other failed attempts like turning converting a photo to black and white. With that said, adding texture can be a very smart move, provided you do it for the right photos. Again, this has to do with personal preferences and there's no science behind it. From my experience, textures work very well with landscapes and panoramas. They really help transmit the mood of a place. This is particularly true for surreal landscapes and advanced photo manipulations as well as retro style landscapes.
The right texture will help the viewer connect with the image easier. There are tons of textures you can easily get online so you might want to take some time to experiment. What I do want you to keep in mind, and think of this as a friendly recommendation, is to keep things subtle.
Don't let the texture be the star of the photo. Its job is to give the photo an extra touch of aesthetics, not to stand out and steal the attention. It's very easy to get it wrong, so tread lightly.
I also don't recommend using textures for portraits regularly, unless you're a beginner who's hungry for experimenting, in which case you should definitely try whatever comes to mind just to see how it looks. Textures can work very well for some portraits, but it really depends on the subject. I've used them successfully for portraits with martial artists. I would definitely not recommend applying a texture to a beauty portrait though.
Here's a great video tutorial with photographer Serge Ramelli.