How to Paint on Photographs

By Emmanuel Espejo, Jr. ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Paint (oil, acrylic or latex)
  • Photographs
  • Paintbrush
Painting on photographs is a fun activity that can broaden your artistic horizons.

Combining the art of painting and photography can give people the opportunity to explore a new avenue of artistic possibilities. You can collect all those extra photographs lying around and turn them into a work of art. It takes some imagination to figure out how to combine the two art forms but the results of such effort can be satisfying.

Look through the set of photographs you have and choose the one that you wish to paint over. Be sure to have another copy of the photograph if it is of personal value to you.

Determine how you will paint on the photograph. One way is to completely paint over the picture. You can paint over picture of a person, using the photograph as a guide to create a very realistic painting. Another option that you can do is to paint in additional elements on a photograph so that they complement each other.

Start painting on the picture. You start by putting in little details to the photo, adding shapes, colors or figures that can enhance the image. For a picture depicting people in the park, for example, you can change the clothes people are wearing by coloring the clothes. You can even add absurd elements if you desire, like painting in the Loch Ness monster emerging from the park fountain. You can also add broad strokes of color on the picture to accent and highlight certain elements in the photograph. You can add flashes of red to a picture of two young people dancing the tango to add to the sense of passion.

Wait a few hours for the paint to dry before adding in more paint. If you add colors to the picture before it dries, there is a chance that the colors will mix. This may not be an entirely bad thing since you may discover that you can create something exciting after accidents such as these.

Dry the painted photograph. Leave it in a cool and well-ventilated area. It will take about three to six months for the paint to thoroughly dry, depending on how much paint you have used. After the painted photograph is thoroughly dry, you can spray a fixative on it to preserve the artwork. You can get these in a local art or craft store.

About the Author

Emmanuel Espejo started writing professionally in 2008. He has written English subtitles for the Filipino television show, "Kahit Isang Saglit," and has also written for "Docusiyensya," a science digest for students. Espejo is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of the Philippines.