Using Textures from Around the House to Make Any Portrait Epic

You can take a decent portrait from a  studio and make it something truly unique and epic simply by using textures that you can take around the house.

Studio Set Up

These pictures were taken using a Godox 47″ Octabox umbrella soft box with a diffuser on a boom arm with three wireless speed lights inside and two grey backgrounds. This helped with some beautiful lighting on our fantastic model, Elena Webster, but it wasn’t anything different than you could get in any studio. Using textures help transform it into something epic.

From Studio Portrait to Huntress



Nikon D3300, 50mm, f/7.1, 1/200, ISO 100, model: Elena Webster

Basic Edits

I first did my regular edits on the studio image. After making a copy of the background I started with the background. Part of the wall was showing along the edge of the picture, so I used the spot healing brush tool to fix that in just one quick swipe. I keep the edge really soft to help it blend better. This tool is fantastic for doing quick clean up of blemishes. I then copied the layer and used an unsharp filter and a mask to sharpen the eyes, hair, bow, and clothing. I personally don’t like sharpening the skin too much unless I want to emphasis freckles or wrinkles or other things like that.

After these basic retouches, I used adjustment layers to adjust Levels and Vibrance. Using adjustment layers and copying layers before making changes, helps prevent disruptive editing. One great thing about digital art is that you can try something and then change it back if you do this properly.

Once these basic edits are done, I add my texture. By adding a simple texture from around the house, you can completely transform and transport your image through time your.



The texture on this image came from a oil spill on my garage floor. Such a small thing made a huge difference as you can see below.


Adding the Texture

Once the basic edits are done, you can add your texture. I actually edit my textures before I pull them by sharpening them and bumping up the contrast. This helps the texture stand out more. I then save them as a jpeg to be used in the future.

I pull the edited jpeg into photoshop as a new layer over the image. I then lower the opacity to at least 80% and play with the layer modes until I find the effect that I want to use. That can be found right next to the layer opacity on the layers panel. On this image I used the screen mode and ended up dropping the opacity down to 42%. I then added a mask and masked out the texture on her face and hands as well as some on her clothes as needed. Using masks, gives you full control of where you want the texture to effect the image below.

Using Color LookUp Tables or LUTs


Nikon D3300, 50mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO 100, model: Elena Webster

For this image I used the same texture from the oil stain in my garage, but this time I used the soft light layer mode at 68% opacity. A quick and easy way to add other effects, is to use color lookup tables, or LUTs. Those can be found with the other adjustment layers at the bottom of the layer panel (the circle split between black and white). For this image I used the filmstock_50.3dl lookup table at 60% opacity. This added another fun texture to the image without having to mask it out.

Other Textures from Around the House


Nikon D3300, 50mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO 100, model: Elena Webster

So many things from around the house can be used to create awesome textures to use. For this image I used a picture I took of a large stone outside my house, as can be seen below. Other textures have come from the worn parts on my 1995 Toyota to half finished projects being sanded and painted. By taking pictures of interesting textures that you come across whenever you have a camera, you can create your own catalog of textures to use in creative project like this. If you don’t have time to create your own textures however, is an excellent resource.


For more ideas on how to use textures to create backgrounds in photoshop, go to

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