#Good Challenge: Textures

This week we challenge you to capture not ‘what it looks like’ but ‘what it feels like’, literally.

By using sharpening or blurring techniques, depth of field, or light you can trigger an interesting response in the viewer. We all know that visual perception plays a crucial role in our everyday life and there are multiple studies on how we, human beings, perceive visual information. Psychologist Richard Gregory believed that we make our best guess of what we see based on expectations, beliefs, prior knowledge, and past experiences. [source]


"Madeleine" by Marina de Wit


Texture stimulates the sensation of touch which makes it one of the most interesting aspects of photography. Suddenly our photograph is not just about the mood or emotions it evokes but about another sense – our 2-dimensional photograph suddenly having a new dimension. How we react to what texture we see is based on our prior experience and will vary for each of us so now it is not just about how the photograph makes us feel, but is about how it feels.


"Copper" by Chris Yeoman


Whereas our sense of vision operates at a distance from the world, our sense of touch brings us up close and personal, to the sensitivity of our fingertips, face, and skin. Using textures can trigger very personal, deeply felt experiences. Think of a teddy bear, soft couch throw, prickly cactus, or sandpaper – even without seeing these objects you can already ‘imagine’ how they feel. The memories and emotions they stir can be equally varied and subtle. As you add textures into your photographs you invite the viewer to be completely immersed in what they see and make it not just unmissable but also a memorable photography project if the techniques to photograph textures are used correctly. Here the importance of using the light cannot be underestimated:

  • Front lighting might emphasize sharp, bold, contrasty textures

  • Side lighting creates fine shadows that accentuate detailed textures

  • Diffused lighting helps us appreciate the subtle tones of smooth, silky textures


"Striped Pajamas" by Kelly Pettitt


In post-processing you can create magic and turn a sharp object soft (or vice versa) with blurring or sharpening. Just remember to make sure you still keep the sense of reality in your images as, for example, stones made to look too soft will unlikely evoke any ‘past experience’ in the viewer and hence has a high chance to fade away from their memory very quickly.

As a member, submit your photo in the Community Chat or explore the app for some examples from our members.

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