In our latest DIY Photography Hacks post we revisit the kitchen as an ideal hunting ground for the DIY photographer. Here we show you how to use a baking sheet as a background texture to add impact to your still life photography.
Words and images by Ben Brain
Flowers make one of the most alluring subjects for still life photographers – not only are they beautiful to look at, they’re also easy (and inexpensive) to source.
And whether you choose to shoot them in their natural environment or in a makeshift home studio, one variety or another is available all year round.
Here, we’ll show you how to photograph a simple jar of tulips using just natural light from a window and a basic DIY reflector made of tin foil (to bounce light back onto the subject for more even lighting).
Then, to enhance the image and add a more ‘painterly’ feel to the image, we’ll explain how to add a texture.
Experimenting with home-made textures is a great way to give your photos a creative finish, so here we’ll add an image of some old paper that’s been stained, scratched and marked.
- Download our 100 free Photoshop textures
On some DSLRs it’s possible to combine your texture and flower as a multiple exposure. However, for greater control we’ll use Photoshop, where we’ll incorporate our texture using layers and Blending Modes. Follow our simple steps to find out exactly how it’s done…
How to use textures and blending modes to get your DIY still life photography looking sharp
Let there be light!
In a simple home studio, try to use a background that complements your subject matter – we used an old dust sheet, which provided the perfect neutral backdrop. Place the jar of flowers near a window and then fashion a simple reflector out of silver foil to bounce light back onto your subject.
Create your texture
It’s a good idea to create a library of interesting textures, which you can then raid to add instant creativity to your photos, whatever their subject. Whether it’s old paper, the grain patterns of wood, stone or even a roasting tin, keep your eyes open; you never know when they’ll come in handy.
Merge your shots
Open the flower and texture images in Photoshop CS or Photoshop Elements, and use Adobe Camera Raw to get them looking their best. Once you’re happy with your images, open them both into one image as layers. Place the texture layer at the top of the stack and set the Blending Mode to Overlay.
Blend Modes: the 10 best blends for photographers (and how to use them)
10 common camera mistakes every photographer makes
Refraction of light: capture amazing photography effects with a glass of water
DIY Photography Hacks: make your own tripod holder