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Learning the Fine Art of Mixed Media Photography

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

Mixed media involves taking different pieces of art and mixing them together in one piece. Examples include a painting with 3D elements or a collage that combines various materials like newspapers, fabrics, foils and more.

You can add photography to a mixed media piece, or you can take a picture that includes mixed media. To achieve the latter, you will have to create the mixed media image and then capture it. The wonderful thing is, when using photography, you can incorporate humans which is difficult to achieve in other other types of mixed media art.

Mixed media photography is not easy, but it will get you out of a creative rut and make for some spectacular pieces. Here are some ideas that will get you inspired.


One suggestion is to project an image on top of your subject. This will work well if your subject is a human, but you can use anything such as a piece of food or furniture.

Start by setting your subject against a plain background, ideally white. To get your projection to show up, the background will need to be fairly dark in terms of lighting.

The best way to make the image project on your subject is to use a projector. But if you don’t have one, you can also use a flashlight, or a small lamp such as a table or work lamp. These may even work to your advantage as they will be easy to move around.

You will also need to use a slide as your projection image. If you don’t have one, you can use any of the following:

• Clear acetate marked with paint or markers

• Glass or an acrylic panel that’s been painted, scratched or otherwise altered

• Old newspapers

• A cloth with hole in it

• Clear acetate marked with markers or paint


Paper can make for an interesting mixed media piece in and of itself. One idea is to take a piece of paper and place select objects on top of it. Then spray them with a single or multiple colors of spray paint. Lift off the objects and you will have a photogram effect that makes for terrific photos.

You can also set cardboard cut outs against a vibrantly painted background. Spray painted metal objects can be integrated in this type of photography to make a standout look.


There are so many ways to use paint in multi-media photography. One way is body painting. There is no end to the ideas you can come up with using a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of body paint. Just make sure to keep your equipment clean.

You can also paint objects such as fruits and existing pieces of art to offer an alternate take on reality.

Print Juxtaposition

Print juxtaposition can be a lot of fun and you will get some great pieces using this technique.

You can print juxtapose with people. For example, you can shoot a picture of a person holding a photo of a mouth over their own mouth. It produces an image that can range from weird to wacky.

Another option is to take a photo and put in on top of an existing piece of art. For example, you may take a paint splattered board and put a black and white print on it, so the board frames the print. The piece can be photographed or displayed as is. However, in order to take credit for it, you will have had to have created both pieces.

If you go this route, plan things out in advance to make sure the pieces you are using will fit together in terms of color, size and style.

Mixed media photography makes for unique art. The tips in this article will help you achieve a look that stand out in a sea of others. What will you be creating at your next session?

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