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Photographing for Textures
Photographing for Textures
gas01ine, updated 2008-06-06 03:13:32 UTC 88,313 views  Rating:
(6 ratings)
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1.2 Exposure

When making the exposure try to have the aperture in the medium levels, such as 5.6 or 8, When your surface is a little more structured try a bigger value, 11, 16 or even 22. This guarantees that everything is crisp in focus. Unfortunately these f-stop values will result in a considerably longer exposure time so bring a tripod. Oh, and be sure to align your camera parallel to the texture, i.e. when taking a photo of a brick wall or tiles.

Average Histogram

Provided your digital camera comforts you with the luxury of having a live-histogram, then use it. Set your f-stop to the appropriate value, 5.6 or 8, as mentioned above and change the shutter-speed until the histogram looks like the one on the picture. Note that there are no peaks, neither on the left side or on the right side which means nothing is completely black (RGB 0 0 0) or completely white (RGB 255 255 255).

1.3 Flash Photography?

I dont really recommend flashing surfaces for texture-photos. The light will decay towards the edges, create very hard shadows (provided the surface isnt too flat) and if it is reflective you will have the flashlight as reflection in the middle.

But if you really want to use the flash or have to because you are shooting against the sun, try to flash as subtle as possible to get the desired effect and/or hold a very thin white sheet of paper or frost filters about 30cm before it. This will scatter the light and reduce hard shadows and direct reflections on the surface.

Flashed and indirect lit surface comparison

1.4 Denoise

Reference Card

Now this is for the professionals: To make a professional noise removal in Photoshop possible you can printout the reference card on the picture or make/use your own at least a gray card. Shortly after the exposure of the texture, put it as close as possible to the surface you just photographed and change the focus on the lens so everything is blurry. Expose now with the exact same settings and lighting conditions as the surface before only this time with the reference and unfocused. In the unfocused gray there will be only the noise of the camera/film visible, so you can build a noise profile of a certain shot with NeatImage in Photoshop and remove that noise from the texture.

Texture & Noise Profile

Finally, you are ready to make the outdoor exposure.