Page 1

Spice up your photos. Copyright Š 2012 by Nitsa Malik. Ideas suggestions and techniques discussed in this book are free to use but no part of this book may reproduced in any form or means except by a reviewer who can quote some text in review. Parts of this book were published in previous books by Nitsa (I am Not an Artist & So Much More than Photography) as well as on More than Photography Experimental and Creative Photography blog Copyediting: David Morgan and Ryan Malone. Photo editorial and layout advice: George Kleiman Photos, images, Text, methods, layout and design: Nitsa Malik Email: Special thanks and lots of love to Amit, Sivan and Noa. Also many thanks to David Morgan, George Kleiman, Steve Moulton, John Lowen and Bentzi Kalush for your support and advice. And thanks to Amit for lending her hands.

Cover design: Nitsa Malik Published in December 2012

Sky Meadows, Virginia.

Salt print on Strathmore

Contents Introduction 8 Chapter 1: Image and photo transfers 11 Basic image transfer (inkjet) 12 Transferring with transparencies 16 Xerox (photocopy) image transfer 17 Test transfer 18 Packing tape transfer 19 Paint transfer 20 Mixed media transfer 22 Simple mixed media transfer 24 Advanced mixed media transfer 26 Photo transfer to tile, mirror or glass 30 Wall art series 31 Gel layer transfer 32 Aluminium foil transfer 35 Transfer to Polaroid 36 Paint a transfer 38 More transfer ideas 40 Simple inkjet transfer 42 Photo transfer to Mod Podge 44 Transfer to mirror using transparencies 45 Image transfer gallery 46 Chapter 2: Texture and Layers 49 Canvas background layer 52 Aging color photo with coffee 54 Adding texture to a photo 56 Quick Photoshop texture tutorial Make your own textures 60 Texture from a book cover 60 Texture from mixed media collage Texture from mixed media collage Working with textures and layers Textures gallery 65 Chapter 3: Hand-coloring photos 67 Watercolor painting 68 Oils on photo paper 70

58 I 61 II 62 64

Colroing with pencils 72 Gouache paints 74 Inks 74 Acrylic paints 75 Freestyling 76 Distressed /Modified prints 78

Chapter 4: Alternative photography 81 Paper negatives 82 Salted paper printing 84 Cyanotypes (sun prints) 95 Final thoughts 102

By the Shenandoah river. Berryville, Virginia (2009) Texture layer ( page 56 )

Basic IMAGE TRANSFER (inkjet) What you need:

Inkjet Printer • Standard weight printer paper • Transfer medium • Receiving surface • UV-resistant clear finish •

This is one the most basic methods of transferring inkjet printouts from one surface to another and so a good place to start. It is fairly straightforward and quite enjoyable Inkjet printer to do. For this process you will need the following supplies: an inkjet printer, standard weight paper, a transfer medium, and a surface to transfer the image to. You don’t need a fancy printer and any low end printer will do. The images you are going to be printing don’t need to be of high resolution and are going to be printed onto a Standard standard printer paper. inkjet paper Image transfers can be done using different transfer mediums such as Mod Podge, Gesso, Gel Medium, wintergreen oil, acrylic caulk, acrylic paint and so on. Each one of these methods will provide you with a different appearance to your final transfer. After you experiment with different products you will be able to determine which one to use for a specific project depending on the end result you’re after. I often choose to make my transfers using Mod Podge though that’s entirely a matter of personal preference.

Mod Podge

Photo paper

Mod Podge is a water based all-in-one medium; sealer, glue and finish. It is available in gloss or matte and is most commonly used in decoupage applications. If you want to learn everything possible about Mod Podge check out Amy’s Mod Podge Rocks blog at: The receiving surface can be anything from card stock, photo paper, canvas, watercolor, wood panel, ceramic tile, mirror etc. Experimenting with different surfaces can be one of the most enjoyable things about image transfer. After your transfer is done, it’s a good idea to protect it with UV-resistant clear coating or a product called Preserve It! (Krylon), so that your transfer has a longer, happier life span.

Test transfer A great way of experimenting with image transfers is to make a fun test piece where you can try out different materials. Choose any size canvas board and partially cover it with pieces of an old newspaper and different textured papers. Make sure you use glue that dries clear to adhere the papers to the canvas. Mod podge is a good choice since it also acts as a protective finish. If you want to add some color to the mix use acrylic paints as they dry quite fast, mix different colors. Try experimenting with two different types of printed photos: inkjet and also professional photo prints. Also choose the two common types of image transfers; inkjet and laser (or photocopy). You can try transferring with different transfer mediums. And if you dare you can even try your hand in drawing.

Packing tape transfer What you need:

• • • •

Laser photocopy (black & white or color) Scotch clear packing tape Burnishing tool A water spray bottle

1. Layer the packing tape over the image side of the photocopy. 2. Turn the photocopy over and burnish its back with a spoon in order to completely transfer the ink to the tape. 3. Spray the back of the photocopy with water and begin rubbing off the paper back to reveal the transfer. 4. When you are done your photo will be merged into the sticky side of the tape.

Layer the tape over the image

Burnish the back with a spoon

Rub off the paper to reveal transfer

Spray the back with water

9 ) Spray the back of your photo with water and gently remove and rub off the excess paper with your fingers in order to reveal the transfer. If you are using a photocopy you will have to repeat this step as many times as needed until the excess paper is completely gone. 10) At this point you will notice that there might be some paper left behind which is difficult to remove. Also the transfer looks quite rough and does not blend nicely with the background. So in order to better unify the background and the photo transfer, paint over the edges of your transfer using the same color you used for the background. Next you can paint over the white areas of your transfer with shades similar to the background. Water down your paint and dub it onto the white areas with a paper towel. For the smaller areas you can use a cotton swab. Make sure not to paint over the ink (black) parts of your photo, just the white areas where the paper can still be seen. Take a look at this picture: The left area was previously painted while the right side is still covered with the white paper and had not been painted yet.

And this is what the final image looks like:

11) Preserve your art work with a protective finish such as “preserve it!� by Krylon for inkjet or Krylon Crystal Clear if you used a toner based photocopy.

Quick Photoshop texture tutorial


Open the photo of your choice and the texture you are going to use in Photoshop. Photos with lots of sky or plenty of light areas work best and have the greatest effect.


Make sure your photo has enough contrast by adjusting the levels of brightness and contrast. Go to Image-AdjustmentsBrightness/ Contrast and adjust the settings by moving the slider.


Select the texture by clicking on All in the Select menu. Now that the texture is selected (with the marching ants around it) copy it (Edit-Copy or Ctrl+C) and paste it on top of your photo (Edit-Paste or Ctrl+V).


Make sure the layers palette is open (Window-Layers or F7). Change the Opacity and Blend Mode until you like the effect (Multiply 56% in this case)

Texture from a mixed media collage 2 What you need:

• • • • • • •

Any size canvas or hardboard panel. An old newspaper or any designer/art paper. Mod Podge or school glue Acrylic or water paints Optional: distress ink. Clear finish such as Krylon Clear Finish or Mod Podge

Sure you can make some beautiful textures on your PC and it will probably be an easier, faster and a cleaner process. However, if you like the direct contact with the materials, you will sure love this process. OK, now on to the details:


Cover the canvas panel with old newspaper and textured paper adhering it with Mod Podge or school glue. Don’t worry if your work is sloppy and there are creases and bumps as it will add a texture quality to your final collage.


Water-down the color of your choice and paint a thin layer over your collage letting the layer beneath show through. Paint the center lighter and go with a darker shade of the same color toward the edges. Cover your work of art with any clear finish; Mod Podge can be used for this purpose as well.




When the collage is dry you can scan it and use it as a background texture for your beautiful images (pages 5859). When blending your handmade colorful texture with the photo it is important that this vibrant background is subtle and does not overwhelm your photo.


Staunton, VA



photos Hand-coloring your photos not only allows you intimate contact with the photo but also a great deal of creative freedom. Most photographs can be hand-colored using watercolor, acrylic, or oil paints. You might also use gel pens, colored pencils, metallic pens, or even permanent markers. You can print out color photos and give them a whole new life by adding color to washed out areas or improving the color in the dull parts of the photo. But you will get the best effect if you print your photos in black and white and color them from scratch. The photo should be printed onto high quality photographic or art paper. Semi-gloss or matte are often better choices than gloss paper, which doesn’t hold the paints that well. You can also use watercolor or canvas papers suitable for working with acrylic, watercolor and oil paints. You can find them in any art supplies store. So try printing your photos on various papers and then see how each one of them works with different paints.

Coloring with pencils

Coloring pencils won’t work well on a coated smooth surface, such as glossy photo paper. Therefore, its a good idea to select a matte surface with “tooth" to print your photo on. Tooth refers to a surface with some kind of texture that can grip the color. You don’t have to be limited to specialty inkjet papers so try experimenting with acid free uncoated art papers. You can use any type of coloring pencils and don’t really need to get the expensive artist kind though they will be easier to work with since they usually are softer. Though it is always a good idea to pre-coat your inkjet print with spray fixative, you don’t have to

do so when using dry medium such as pencils. However, if you choose to use watercolor pencils then obviously you will need to prepare your surface with fixative to prevent smudging of the ink. Using colored pencils is pretty straightforward; use the side of the lead for broader areas, apply more pressure for darker shade and color lightly for a lighter one. You can also build up a darker shade by layering a few lighter coats. To eliminate strokes and blend color better lightly use a cotton swab over the color area. To mix any other color you need, pick two or more colors and use a light hand to layer and blend them together. Again, the cotton swab will be quite helpful when you blend your colors. Colored pencils are not always easy to remove but if you made a mistake and need to take away some color there are a few solutions you can try: 1. Frisk Film - This is a transparent masking film which is easy to peel and leaves no residue. 2. Tapes for Lifting Color - This one does not fully remove the color but can lighten it to create a soft effect. 3. Erasers - Work only on lighter areas. Can be also used to blend colors. 4. P.M. solution - A corrective solution for blending and removing color. 5. Scraping out color - You can use an artist knife or X-acto knife to lightly scrape away the color. Protect your colored photo with a UV protective finish such as Krylon UV Archival Varnish.

Alternative Photography (cyanotype & salt printing) Alternative photography is a style in photography that employs the use of historical and non-traditional photography methods. Many of these processes do not require a darkroom and mostly utilize chemicals and other equipment that are readily available. Chemicals can often be purchased as a kit which lets the beginner quickly start experimenting with these processes. In no time you will turn your digital creations into oldfashioned beautiful art while having the opportunity to experience what it was like to be a photographer in the 19th century.

Opposite page: Greenwich Village, NYC Cyanotype on gray tone watercolor paper.

Mixing the solutions (does

not apply to the pre-mixed kit)

Salt solution

- Place 500ml of distilled water in a mixing dish. At this point you can add gelatin to your solution. Sizing the paper with gelatin will prevent the solution from sinking into the paper, If you are adding the gelatin to your solution, place 4g in hot water(100째F) and stir until completely dissolved. Add 11g sodium citrate and 11g ammonium chloride and stir to dissolve. Or dissolve one tablespoon of non-iodized sea salt in 500ml of distilled water. Store the solution in a storage container (preferably brown glass bottle).

Green Cove, Virginia / Salt print from paper negative on canvas

Silver nitrate solution - Place 100ml distilled water in a mixing bowl and add 12g silver nitrate. Stir the solution and transfer to a brown glass bottle. Store in a dark place.

Coating the paper


Since the salt solution alone is not light sensitive, this step can be carried in daylight or under normal room light. Cover your work area with old newspapers. Tape down your paper so it doesn't move during coating. Use a dropper to squeeze the salt solution into the shot glass (around 15 drops for a 5”x7” print.) Pour the solution onto the center of the paper you are printing on. Wet your brush with distilled water and use it to spread the solution evenly until it has been absorbed by the paper. If you are adding the optional potassium dichromate solution for contrast you should add a drop or two to the salted paper solution before applying it to the paper. If you are using the sea salt solution simply pour it into a tray and soak your paper in the solution for a few minutes. Hang dry the salted paper. You can store the paper for any length of time until you are ready to continue. When you are done pour the solution back in the container and store until next time.


Though there is no need for a darkroom this step should be done in dim light. It is also recommended that you use rubber gloves, eye protection and open all windows before handling silver nitrate. Cover your dry salted paper with the silver nitrate solution (about 15 drops for a 5”x7” print), let the paper completely dry and store it in an area that does not receive any sunlight.

Amit / Cyanotype print on Canson Edition watercolor paper, toned in sweet tea.

Spice Up Your Photos  

Creative and experimental photography techniques to put a spark in your photos. eBook full download :

Spice Up Your Photos  

Creative and experimental photography techniques to put a spark in your photos. eBook full download :