I have recently been experimenting with adding texture layers to photos, and I am finding the different looks I can create quite interesting. This can be done with images of texture that you have photographed yourself, or you can purchase them thru many online sites, and even download freebies from Flikr.
The textures I prefer to use are "Dirty Pictures" from Totally Rad (http://www.gettotallyrad.com). The interface is incredibly easy, just a few clicks and I have an assortment of 21 texture choices added to my image, viewable in a thumbnail collection. I can scroll thru the samples and choose the one that best suits my vision. I can then customize the image to my liking, tweaking opacity, blending mode, etc. I downloaded the software, tried it on one image, and was hooked--- I sent Totally Rad a fan letter right away! The texture is added as a separate layer, so I can set up layer masks to control or remove the effect in certain areas if I choose to.
I am working on a collection of my own texture photos, (rust, peeling paint, moss, tree bark...) which I can add to the software. How cool is that? The software can also be personalized with my choices in defaults, favorites, previews... If you are looking for a simple way to add texture layers to your photos, you really need to try this. The wonderful people at Totally Rad have given me a 15% discount code to share with you, just use ppsop when ordering.
I love the way textures can add interest to photos, giving them a different mood and feel. Here are some before and after images: