I just discovered textured backgrounds. It’s something I’ve looked at for a while, but hadn’t had a chance to experiment with. I’d seen some nice wildflower images with textured backgrounds. They were subtle and I think that’s why they worked so well. I can see that textured backgrounds are like HDR – it’s very easy to overdo it and end up with a gaudy looking image. But as with HDR, it’s very worthwhile experimenting. Some images work and some don’t. But the only way you find out is by trying.
Here’s an image of a Barred Owl to which I decided to add a textured background. It was my first real attempt at this and purely experimental. In putting this together I found that striking the right balance between opacity of the background texture, brightness, contrast, and vibrance/saturation is truly an art in itself. It’s easy to overdo it. But adding something subtle can take an average photo and give it some Wow-factor.
It’s so easy to add the background. Download a texture from the web or make your own. Add it as a layer in Photoshop. Set your blending mode to multiply. And then play with opacity and other parameters until you get what you want. I’m sure there’s a more methodical and predictable way to generate the results you want, but I’m new to this. And I’m just experimenting. I hope you’ll give it a try. For certain images, it really does take them to a higher level.