How to enhance the illusion of texture

Photo Boards are true-to-scale replicas of my own collection of wood, plaster and marble backdrops that I collected over the years spent freelancing as a commercial photographer. 

They are the go-to photo backdrop for all levels of photographer looking for a quick and easy change of background.

Even for pro photographers like the team here, grabbing a lightweight Photo Board is preferred to the time spent moving around heavy pieces of wood and real marble, so we've mastered some neat shooting tricks to enhance the illusion and ensure that Photo Boards look just like the real thing in our photos.


Photo Boards tips


We are using the PUTTY Photo Board for this demo, a lovely design for subtle detail and versatile too, thanks to the mix of grey and pink areas.

Positioning our candle base subject on the board as shown above, we can see that there's some lovely texture details in the Photo Board design. This shot looks great at a glance, but scroll down for a closer look at where the light falls.


Photo Boards tips


The yellow arrows show the light direction in the scene and the grey arrows illustrate the direction of the shadows falling from the candle base, created by that light.

The red arrows show the direction of light/shadows on the Photo Board texture, where highlights and shadows fall in the opposite direction.

A simple rotation of the Photo Board to align the shadows with those in the scene takes seconds and will add to the illusion of a real textured surface as shown on the right.


Photo Boards tips


The result of aligning our scene shadows with Photo Board shadows is shown below. Notice how the texture shadows in the Photo Board and the shadow of the candle base are now both falling to the right hand side? Suddenly the Photo Board appears to have actual texture, despite just being a smooth printed surface.

Next time you pick up a Photo Board, look to see if it has any cool texture shadows that you can line up with the light in your scene. Happy Shooting!


Photo Boards tips

Products Featured: PUTTY 60cm Photo Board

Props by


Lyndsey James
Creative Director

Photo Boards®

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