On Wednesday 8 July we were delighted to welcome professional artist, photographer, and teacher Elizabeth Jane Lazenby BA(hons) Fine Art QTFE(2) ASEA LRPS CPAGB BPE3 EFIAP LMPA. She Zoomed in from Barnsley to explain the what and the how of using textures in the post-processing of digital images.

Zoom conferencing has again enabled us to bring in a great speaker who is based too far away to visit us in person.

Jane has been a keen photographer since her teenage years and has successfully combined this with her fine art painting and her love of teaching.  She describes herself as a professional equine and fine art photographer – and she also says she is “daft as a brush, gobby, northern, and a lot of fun”!

For the first half of her talk Jane set out to demystify the subject of textures with a beautifully illustrated PowerPoint presentation.  Her use of textures involves Photoshop editing but she was at pains to explain that, while Photoshop does terrify some people, her techniques are in fact simple.  And the use of textures can turn a reject into a winner!

It may be hard to say what images textures should be used for.  Jane’s advice was “just try it and see”.  She quoted Jean Bryant – “The fear of being wrong is the prime inhibitor of the creative process”.

Textures can be used to give an image a creative edge, to fill gaps, to cover an ugly or distracting background, to add interest, to add atmosphere, or to unify an image.  The textures can be obtained as free downloads or bought.  But it is much more fun to make your own.  Also, as Jane pointed out, for images used in competitions where the work must be all the author’s own work, it is of course essential to use your own textures.

Making textures is straightforward.  Just take pictures of the textures you come across (Jane likes to use a 50mm lens and natural light).  They can be found everywhere – in paving (old flagstones, etc), in junkyards (galvanised or rusting metal, etc), in the home (there are lots of household surfaces) and garden, in abandoned buildings (cracked and/or peeling paintwork, etc), and so on.  And the textures can be “quiet” or “loud”, it doesn’t matter, they can always be adjusted as required in Photoshop.

The textures are applied to the image using Layers.  You can add more than one texture.  You change the Blend Mode, colour, intensity, and opacity in Photoshop.  And you can mask texture out of areas where you don’t want it.

Jane went through the various Blend Modes available in Photoshop.  There are 27 arranged in groups.  She explained that the theory is complex, and the names don’t make sense.  “But you don’t need all that stuff.  Just try them out and see what works.”  Her “best friends” are Multiply which darkens, Screen which lightens, and Soft Light which adds contrast by softly darkening dark tones and lightening light tones.

Getting to the nitty gritty, Jane outlined three basic methods for applying textures to an image.

  • Texture Top Layer plus Blend Mode – the simplest approach.
  • Texture Sandwich plus Masking – the most thorough approach.
  • Paint It Out then Texture Over – the most “faffy” approach.

In the second half of her talk Jane demonstrated the techniques used in these methods by processing a variety of images previously supplied by club members.  This was live editing, visible on screen in real time, with a detailed step-by-step commentary (plus plenty of questions and discussion).

We saw her own textures being brought in and added to images.  We saw textures pulled out of images and then put on top of them.  We saw Blend Modes changed, opacity adjusted, masks painted to keep textures off details, masks copied to other layers, textures changed to black and white (to just bring in texture without colour), textured vignettes created, and much much more.

Before our very eyes, with alchemist-like skills, Jane transformed the submitted images into works of art!

This was another excellent Zoom presentation.  The explanations of the first half, with plenty of Jane’s gorgeous artistic images to admire as well, were a great lead in to the live editing of the second half.  All very instructive and enjoyable as Jane showed us how quickly and easily it is possible to achieve wonderful results.  This is sure to fire the imagine and creativity of club members.

More of Jane’s work can be found at

www.ejlazenbyphotography.co.uk   |  www.animalfineart.co.uk  |  www.blackequineart.com

Jane also has a YouTube channel with instructional videos at


If you didn’t know, you can also post your comments at the bottom of the page. Engage with other Members and share your thoughts on the entries and judging. 

NB: Members can watch the recording of the meeting in full on the ‘Members Only’ section of the website.