Using textures to change a background

Sometimes I find that I am a bit bored with using the same backgrounds in my images over and over.  I started looking for an inexpensive way to modify a plain background.  I wanted some thing that was easy to store, simple to use and didn’t cost a lot of money.

Digital textures / papers were the answer.

All of the textured papers used on these images were from Sarah Gardner Photography, Beach wood Textured Papers which you can find here:   If you aren’t familiar with Sarah’s work please take the time to have a look.  She lives in the UK and makes the most beautiful still life images.  Images that will make you smile and brighten even the dullest of days.  Sarah also designs textures and digital papers, has a fabulous set of actions for Photoshop, has a book published (called Art Beyond the Lens) and runs workshops.  You can find Sarah on Facebook here:

I placed the chosen texture over the image and adjusted the opacity to suit.  Next I masked the texture off the baby and props so that it was only applied to the background.  I modified the colour of the textures slightly to suit the colours within the original image.  Lastly I added some shadows to make it look more realistic.   All done.  It might sound a little fiddly but after you have done it a couple of times it is pretty quick and easy to do.  If there is interest I can post a step by step tutorial, so let me know if you would like more information.



  • Lisa

    This is amazing!!!!! I would LOVE to see a tutorial especially on how you added the shadowing:) Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Donna

    Loved article. Thanks.
    But the writing color is so very light on a white background. Could you change the font color.ReplyCancel

  • Sara

    Fabulous article! I love your work! I struggle with digital backgrounds because like you, I am intrigued by the inexpensive/portable/variety of them but haven’t mastered an ability to smoothly / naturally incorporate them into my photos! No matter how much I tinker with layers, I’m never satisfied. I’m wondering how you adjust colour and opacity as well as how you add shadows because subtlety in those areas is where I fall short. I would love to see your tutorial! Thank you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful images – both the background & subject matter. I would love to see a step by step tutorial … I’ve got a lot to learn in Photoshop =)ReplyCancel

  • Carrie

    These look amazing! I am interested to see the tutorial even though I think I pretty well understand your explanation.Found you through Sarah Gardner actually! Love her work and I am loving yours. New fan!ReplyCancel

  • mitra

    i wish i were your student,,but never possible…u r god of photography<3ReplyCancel

  • Margaret

    Hi!!! I Love to see step by step how do it 🙂
    Can’t wait !!!ReplyCancel

  • These images look fantastic! I would very much love to see a tutorial!! Thanks for sharing 😉ReplyCancel

  • hello, wonderful work-I’m interested in a tutorial-especially about the shadows. I have Sarah’s book-she is an inspiration (although I haven’t actually had time to try her ideas yet!)ReplyCancel

  • lisette

    Great! Beautifull pictures. I would like a step by step tutorial, i find changing a background still difficult.ReplyCancel

  • Felicity

    I would love a tutorial, thank you for being so generous with your time! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Tutorial? Yes please! These images are spectacular, by the way. I’m in the UK, but grew up in Brisbane, so blow a kiss for me please!ReplyCancel

  • Katarzyna Giemza

    I would love to see your tutorial Your examples look so nice It’s look very natural :)))ReplyCancel

  • Shannon

    These are amazing!!!! Would absolutely LOVE to see the tutorial on your work!!ReplyCancel

  • These are amazing! I would so love a tutorial!ReplyCancel

  • Your work is beautiful before AND after the textures.
    My question is; how did you brush off the texture from that teal scarf? It looks perfect!
    I would love to see a tutorial too!ReplyCancel

  • I LOVE these images and this technique! I recently purchased some of Sarah’s retiring textures. I would be so grateful for your tutorial. Thank you for sharing!!ReplyCancel

  • These are gorgeous. I love to see a step by step tutorial! THANKYOUReplyCancel

  • These look gorgeous and I would love to see a tutorial. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Liz

    I would love a tutorial!ReplyCancel

  • kari romano

    Yes! I’d love to see a tutorial!ReplyCancel

  • Theresa Widmer

    Add me to the list who would love to see a tutorial!!ReplyCancel

  • Laurel

    LOVE your work! Throw me on that tutorial list as well please! I have Lightroom 4… if I bought these layers/textures off you, do I have to have Photoshop?ReplyCancel

    • Dream Art

      Hi Laurel. I am working on a tutorial right this minute. The textures are sold by Sarah Gardner Photography. And yes you need Photoshop or Photoshop elements to apply them.ReplyCancel

  • Gorgeous, beautiful images! Love Sarah’s work as well 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Dawn Corbett

    How to make a picture even more beautiful !! I would love to see a tutorial. 🙂 dcReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *



S u b s c r i b e
F i n d   u s   o n   F a c e b o o k
R e c e n t   P o s t s
S e a r c h   S i t e