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A Painterly Touch: Interview with Photographer, Teresa Pople

Tea and Flowers

Tea and Flowers

Teresa Pople is an English photographer living in Kos, Greece.

French Kiss Textures

I’m always delighted when I see Teresa’s art appear on RedBubble and the Facebook Page. It’s such an honor and pleasure to see my textures used so creatively. Although I can often recognize glimpses of the original texture, she truly uses them in a unique way. The textures become a paintbrush flourished to create a delicate, harmonious, vision with colors that are absolutely delicious.

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Tell us a little about yourself, Teresa.

Teresa

I’m an Englishwoman who has lived in Greece for the last twelve years with my husband, Chris and two ancient cats and a dog. I love the whole process of photography from the anticipation of grabbing the camera to the final save of the finished work—and the wonderful feeling if it goes right.

Centre Stage

Centre Stage

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How long have you been photographing and what drew you to photography? Do you also have traditional art skills? Did you go to school for photography or are you self taught?

Teresa

I don’t have any traditional art skills. I have always wanted to be able to paint but I find a blank page very intimidating. That’s the beauty with photography, the page is filled with something I’ve chosen and I can take it from there. I became interested in photography about 25 years ago when I saw a photograph of a field of poppies with a magical depth of field and wanted to be able to create something as beautiful. This was pre-digital and to be honest it was too expensive to be able to experiment as much as I needed. With the onset of digital a whole new world opened up but it wasn’t until about three years ago that I really began to get absorbed by the whole thing. I didn’t go to photography school but have obtained as much information as I can from the internet and books, particularly on the basics, so that I began to feel comfortable with a camera and could concentrate more on what I wanted to photograph rather on how the camera works.

Mellow

Mellow

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What inspires you or moves you?

Teresa

I love the natural world and that’s where I get my inspiration from. There’s so much beauty and intricacy that is so easy to miss with the naked eye but when it’s captured on a photograph the detail in the smallest flower is incredible. Photography has made me see things in a different way, the way light shines through a petal for example or the different stages of a flower opening — it’s like an extra dimension has been added to my life.

Rose Meringue

Rose Meringue

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What makes you want to grab your camera?

Teresa

A calm early morning before the light becomes too harsh when there are flowers in the garden or in the fields and the sun is shining through the petals and leaves.

Three’s A Crowd

Three's A Crowd

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Do you tend to shoot with natural light, flash or a combination? Is there a certain kind of light you like most? Do you shoot with post-processing in mind? In other words, do you shoot any differently if you know you will use textures?

Teresa

I always shoot with natural light even if I photograph flowers indoors I always place them near a natural light source. I think that flash photography is a separate skill and one I haven’t got around to mastering yet.

I love the early morning when the light is bright without being too harsh and everything is fresh. I know people talk about the golden hour before sunset but for the photography I love, the early morning is best. Fortunately we live in an isolated area because I’m often out and about in my pajamas and dressing gown with my camera and can frequently be found sat on the ground trying to get the perfect angle.

I don’t shoot any differently if I know I will use textures, I just try and take the best possible shots of the subject. I don’t think of the texture as hiding anything in the shot but rather bringing more prominence to the parts that are revealed so the photo has to be the best that I can take.

I also shoot Raw, it’s much easier for me. Red flowers in particular are difficult to get right as the red often becomes over-saturated and is blown out. When I shot jpegs I always had to adjust the saturation in the camera and underexpose to get the red right but with Raw there’s no problem I can get it just the way I want it during post-processing.

Blooming

Blooming

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What equipment do you have in your Camera Bag?

Teresa

Two DSLR cameras the Sony A55 and A200 and 3 lenses. Sony 18-55, Tamrom 55-200 and the Tamrom 90mm macro. I also have a Panasonic Lumix TZ6 which I keep in my handbag so that I can capture those unexpected  magical shots.

Drippylicious

Drippylicious

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What Photo Editing software do you use?

Teresa

I use Photoshop Elements 9. I would love to have the full Photoshop but I haven’t been able to justify the expense. I used to use Paint Shop Pro X1 but decided to make the switch when I started to work more with textures as there are lots of tutorials that use Photoshop and Elements. I did about a weeks work on the internet (all free) when I changed and I’m glad I did. Actions become second nature after a while and I am able to concentrate on what I’m doing rather than on how to do it. I’m not an expert by any means though.

Full Bloom

Full Bloom

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Do you regularly use any 3rd Party filters & plug-ins? If so, what are you favorites?

Teresa

I love the Topaz Labs Filter plugins* and use these regularly, particularly, Adjust ,Detail, Simplify and DeNoise I’ve also started to experiment with Redfields Fractalius filter.

Busy Bee

Busy Bee

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Are you a gardener or do you find your florals and macros out in the world — or a bit of both.

Teresa

I really don’t enjoy gardening, I’ve tried but I get no pleasure from it, which isn’t to say I don’t like gardens, I do, I love being in a garden but I do have a secret weapon—my husband Chris who is a Landscape Gardener. He loves creating beautiful gardens and I reap the benefits.

It is much more difficult to garden over here in Greece as we get no rain from May to at least the middle of September so there is a barren time in the summer, that’s when I go out and about and photograph other people’s flowers. My friends sometimes tip me off about flowers they’ve seen which they think I might enjoy. However, on the plus side we do have the most wonderful wildflowers in the Springtime so that makes up for the dry summer.

Sunlit Anemone

Sunlit Anemone

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What creative path would you say brought you to such a soft, painterly vision?

Teresa

I would have loved to have been able to paint, particularly watercolours where there is a wonderful harmony of shape and colour. Using textures is way is my way of creating something that seems to me to be beautiful and harmonious. I particularly love colour, it’s very important in my life and my work.

Clouds of Petals

Clouds of Petals

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It looks as if you often blur the textures to work as color washes. Is this correct? Do you have a favorite method for blurring?

Teresa

Yes I often blur the textures but usually don’t do this until I have used several layers of the texture in various blend modes. I then blur the layers individually to obtain the look I want. I usually use the Gaussian blur filter but sometimes run the Topaz Simplify filter to smooth the texture rather than blur it.

Dainty Daisies

Dainty Daisies

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Do you ever use Photoshop filters? If so, do you have any favorites?

Teresa

This is an area I would like to explore in more detail as I only use the Gaussian Blur filter on a regular basis

French Kiss Textures

What tips would you give someone beginning to use textures?

Dancing Daisies

Dancing Daisies

Teresa

I think the best tip I can give is to get to feel comfortable using layer masks. It’s rare that I will use a layer of a texture without making adjustments using a layer mask as it gives me the ability to create the variation between texture and detail that I find very appealing.

Also experiment with the different blend modes to see the effect on the texture these can produce dramatically different effects and remember that the opacity slider is a real friend. Something that looks awful at 100% can be stunning at 20%

If you have several layers of texture try and see them as all working together, sometimes it’s not until the third layer of a texture for instance that I will make more changes to the first layers mask. This is when it gets exciting and often becomes to come together. Also when there are multiple layers, turning off a layer can give an unexpected result.

I often do a “quick and dirty “run” of the texture to see if it will work. By this I mean that I quickly use a couple of layers of the texture with a little masking, which doesn’t have to be accurate, so that I can see if the texture is going to work. I used to spend a lot of time on the first layer mask only to find that the texture didn’t really work. This way I can get a feel of what is going to work very quickly . Sometimes there’s a moment when the first layer of texture has been overlaid on a photo and the opacity slider is pulled back a little and the photo beneath starts to be revealed—sometimes, not by any means always, that merging of the colours and the shapes is quite magical and I know I’ve got something potentially lovely—I love that moment.

Don’t become disheartened if things don’t work as you’ve imagined and above all enjoy yourself, you’re creating something that only you can create.

Peaceful

Peaceful

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Any advice to new Artists for finding their own vision?

Teresa

I am a great believer in viewing other peoples work as much as I can, that is why sites like Redbubble, Flickr etc are so valuable. The work I see there inspires me to try new techniques and quite often leaves me in awe but above all it makes me realize that I am an individual with a way of looking at things and expressing myself that is unique. So as much as I am able, I want my work to be a reflection of who I am. So the best advice I can give is be yourself. You have a viewpoint and style that is unique and that will naturally evolve just enjoy the experience and don’t put yourself in a box.

Beautifully Blue

Beautifully Blue

See more of Teresa’s Art and connect

Teresa’s Blog: Snap Happy

On RedBubble

Teresa Pople Photography on Facebook

Floating

Floating

* Topaz Labs Filters is an affiliate link. I get a small commission from any sales resulting from a click from this site (at no extra cost to you.) I really do love these filters. Nearly all of my own images use one of these filters. Thanks for supporting the site.

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29 Responses to A Painterly Touch: Interview with Photographer, Teresa Pople

  1. hannah October 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Isn’t she a gem!
    So glad you showcased her beautiful work.
    hannah recently posted..HALLOWEEN MAGIC

  2. missmoneypenny October 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    What stunning work – a real inspiration!!

  3. Linda Willets October 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Such beautiful work. So enjoyed viewing her art.
    Linda Willets recently posted..Fall Color

  4. Angie October 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Really beautiful. :)

  5. jennyw47 October 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    I love textures and this interview with Teresa has opened up many new possibilities and avenues to try and I can’t thank her enough for sharing her methods.

  6. Dianne October 30, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing Teresa’s beautiful work and her inspiring words.

  7. Di Mancino October 31, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Wow! How stunning is her work! So very glad you interviewed her, it now makes me want to go and try something with my flower photos I have. Thanks.

  8. Cathy October 31, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    wow! your photos are truly magical and inspiring! thank you for sharing them : )

  9. Celeste Mookherjee October 31, 2011 at 4:46 am #

    I’ve loved and followed Teresa’s artful photography for quite a while on Flickr and RedBubble, and I’m delighted to see her receiving this well-deserved recognition!

  10. DiEtte Henderson October 31, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    Amazing work! So dreamy and romantic, I love them all!

  11. Selina October 31, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    simply stunning work!

  12. Judy October 31, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    Oh how wonderful this work is…what a talented lady. I just hope that someone is going to create a tutorial so I can try recreate the style….please, please, please?????

    • Leslie Nicole October 31, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      I’ll see if Teresa is game…I think the main thing is just to get comfortable with textures. As you learn the techniques and practice, your style will emerge. Think of how you can use the texture to balance your image and selectively obscure areas with texture and allow other areas to come forward. It’s all about learning technique, playing and practicing. What do you think, Teresa, does this reflect your own technique?

      • teresa October 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

        Hi Judy, firstly thank you so much for your lovely comments I’ve been overwhelmed by the kind things people have said about my work today . . . . . .a huge thank you to everyone.
        Leslie summed up so concisely the essence of what I try to do when I’m working on an image . . . . . it’s all about balance and harmony between the image and the texture and I don’t think there is any one way of achieving that. Actually I’m sure that if I reworked the original images I would come up with different results.
        I can certainly give you some ideas of how to approach this but it really is about getting comfortable with your editing program so that you don’t have to pay too much attention about how to do something so that you can concentrate on what you are doing.

        As you put down your first layer of texture you will get an idea if it’s “happening” or not. Play around with different blend modes, use a layer mask to reveal parts of the image below. Decide if you want to have lots of detail in which case you can reveal more of the image below or do you want there to be some detail but overall more of a suggestion of detail. Do you see what I mean . . . I can’t give you a step by step but when you see it you will know it.

        Add another layer of texture, if you use ctrl J (with Elements 9) that will also duplicate the layer mask now you can work on either mask. Keep looking at the image as a whole as you are working. You can move between the masks as required, sometimes it’s just a little change in opacity that’s needed or slightly more or less texture. Sometimes I get rid of the mask on a particular layer and start with a fresh one . . . .thank goodness for the undo button :-)
        Above all, keep practicing and enjoy yourself . . . . . . .
        Teresa xx
        teresa recently posted..Roses are . . . . . .

        • Judy October 31, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

          Thank you to both of you for these hints and ideas. I’ll keep experimenting and if I ever get anywhere close to your amazing work Teresa, I’ll be more than happy.

          Thank you for the free texture on Facebook Leslie, it’s quite lovely and makes me so very tempted to get the whole set…sighs…if only!

          x

  13. First Night Design October 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Fascinating and inspiring interview.
    Sarah
    First Night Design recently posted..Bon Voyage 2012 UK Calendar Infant Organic Creeper

  14. fotogran October 31, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I have seen Teresa’s artful photography before but never cease to be amazed at the beauty she creates. So very, very lovely…

  15. Bob Jensen October 31, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this Leslie. I would say that your work and Teresa’s work is outstanding, but that would just be an understatement!

    • Leslie Nicole October 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

      Wow, such a lovely comment, Bob. Thank you on both counts. And, hey – I’ve been seeing some great images in your Flickr stream.

      • Bob Jensen November 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

        Thanks Leslie. I have another Civil War reenactment coming up soon, and am real excited about an upcoming Pow Wow. A Chiricahua Apache I recently did portraits of is going to get his friends to pose for me. These Native Americans make great subjects for texture use.

  16. Maria November 1, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    Such an inspiring interview. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful images and your words.

  17. Linda November 1, 2011 at 2:38 am #

    I have been an admirer of Teresa’s work on Flickr and Redbubble for some time now. I was very pleased to see this interview and learn more about her. Great interview! Thank you both.
    Linda recently posted..Hello There

  18. Cat Girl 007 November 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Wonderful images and excellent interview!!

  19. Angelika Perry April 23, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    Teresa, I absolutely love your pictures and style you do them in. I’ve read over this interview and agree that working on each image is an artistic journey that might never be repeated with the same output twice. I’ve been experimenting with different blending modes, filters and plugins as well but I’m very fascinated on how you get around to creating or putting your textures in the images. Do you make your own? Do you scan them in? Would love to know your texture secret… LOL

    Thanks
    Angie
    Angelika Perry recently posted..Software, apps, filters and presets… oh my…

  20. CheyAnne Sexton December 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    incredible art here and love hearing about her and her process. Makes me antsy to texture again. I’ve heard of French Kiss Textures and can’t believe it took this long to get here. Already signed up for email.
    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne
    http://www.cheyannesexton.etsy.com
    http://newmexicomtngirl.com/2013/12/10/its-winter-watercolour-time/

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