Saturday, 18 April 2015

Create a Painterly Canvas Effect with Textures and Photo Veil [Photo Recipe]

Easter Tulips and the first episodes of the 4th season in Downton Abbey, inspired me to create this still life photo with a painterly canvas effect. 
At times I wish it would be possible to live one day in the early 19th-century ... Either in an aristocratic British family or on a Souther cotton farm in America. I would love to experience the interior design and the style of the dresses, and the etiquette in general, trying to perceive the difference in classes those days - that may be a bit hard to imagine in our modern society. 

I used a burlap cloth as a back drop to my image. I made the setting beside a window, using natural side light coming from the left. I did set the books, the can with the tulips, the small plate with a single tulip and a dried leaf to the right side of the frame, leaving the negative space to the left - for the painterly canvas effect, that would create the warm, old mood to the image.

This is how I proceeded with the editing and adding layers:

1. I adjusted the cropping of the image, making use of the rule of thirds, so that the tulip on the silver plate is in line with one of the golden sections.
2. I sharpened the image a bit, and adjusted the contrast, highlight and shadows in Lightroom.
3. Thereafter I opened the image in Photoshop, and added the following layers with 3 textures and one photo veil:
  • Camembert texture from Olde World Collection with blending mode Saturation, opacity 40%. Blending mode Saturation with the Camembert texture creates a vintage-like warm glow to the image - you will notice this effect when you look at the books in the before-after-image below. I brushed the texture effect away from the tulips, since I wanted to keep some of their blue-lilac color.
  • Lavendel Glow Left - Vertical photo veil from the Illumination Collection with blending mode Soft light, opacity 15%, adds a soft lavendel light effect.
  • Salerno texture from the Olde World Collection with blending mode Soft light 15% adds a mild and soft painterly effect. I brushed some of the effect away from the upper right corner, using a brush with 50% opacity.
  • Riviera texture from Olde World Collection with blending mode Hard Light, opacity 39%, adds some more painterly effect to the image. Using a brush I removed the texture effect from the tulips and the books - leaving it on the negative space, to my "canvas" background

What I like about Still Life Photography is the process of creating the image - Both setting up the scene, and the post processing ... Thinking about the light, the shadows, the balance, and what I want to focus on, together with the style and the feeling, I wish to convey. 
Already as I was setting up the books and the tulips, I had the textures from Olde World Collection in my mind - I like the rustic touch and the warm colour effect they create.

...Wishing you creative moments with photography and editing,



  1. Truly a beautiful transformation, Nina!

  2. Beautiful edit!

  3. Beautifully edited Nina. I love your still life photography x

  4. Very well done. Editing seems a bit of a challenge to me. :P
    Enjoy the weekend.

  5. I always like when you give an explanation of your process, Nina. I just downloaded a new layering app on my iPad.

  6. Beautiful... everything about I love..


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