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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Texture Blending Saves The Photo

I was recently making some photographs in downtown Pittsburgh and took this shot of the K & L Gates Center.  I liked the abstract appearance that resulted from isolating a portion of the building and placing the corner of the building in the center of the image.  This is basically how the picture appeared right out of the camera.  I used Photoshop to remove the distortion that results when pointing the camera upwards (I couldn't keep it level because there were trees etc at ground level and I wanted a purely shape based abstract image) and added a bit of contrast to restore the appearance to what it actually looked like (shooting the image in RAW format requires this). The day was overcast and gray, and that is exactly what one sees reflected in the windows....a bland gray sky.

K & L Gates Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Copyright Howard Grill

I liked the general idea of the photo, but found that it looked far too 'bland' and not representative of what the building seemed to portray to me on that morning walk.  So I  thought about ways to add interest and mood to the image in order to convey what it felt like that morning.

After several failed attempts to try to 'spice up' the picture, I decided to give the texture blending technique a try.  This technique takes an image that is purely a texture, in this case a photo of a canvas portrait backdrop, and seamlessly blends it into the  main photo by using the soft light, hard light, or overlay blending options in Photoshop.

K & L Gates Center With Texture Blending

Copyright Howard Grill

I thought that this restored the right feel to the photograph and rescued it from the 'circular file'.  Is it real?  No!  But, as I have mentioned before, I don't think that pure reality is necessarily the goal of fine art photography!