Bringing Out The Texture

This week’a 52 Themes 2011 Group challenge is Texture.  In photographs, texture is often enhanced by side-lighting coming in from an agle – usually the more acute, the better. This produces longer shadows and so the difference between light and shade is more pronounced. It’s been a pretty grotty week weatherwise, so I thought I better make my own light to complete this challenge. I decided to get the props box out and have a look to see what I could use.

Overhead lighting from a desk lamp
Overhead lighting from a desk lamp
Strong side-lighting from the lamp laying down
Strong side-lighting from the lamp

Having found some rather nice textured and coloured paper in the box, I did some experiments with the desk lamp.

First I tried overhead lighting – which inevitably made for colourful but very “flat” images. Then I lay the lamp on its side and shot with the light coming at a very sharp angle to the paper. Guess which worked out best?

Here are some side-by-side comparison shots with the same composition, in each lighting scenario:

Side view - flat lighting
Side view - flat lighting
Side view - side lighting
Side view - side lighting
Top view - flat lighting
Top view - flat lighting
Top view - side lighting
Top view - side lighting

In the end, I went with a different composition for Day #1172, but still chose the strong side-lighting version to show up the texture to greatest effect.

Of course, when you’re outdoors and want to get better texture pictures, you will either have to wait for the sun to come out, or use flash – but much like the desk lamp, this should be off-camera to one side to give you the best results.

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