Creating a painterly look from photographs using painterly backgrounds and textures is a creative process that allows you to blend your photos with the aesthetics of traditional painting. This technique can transform your images into unique works of art.

Carly Sullens M.Photog., M. Artist, CPP “Before” Example
© Carly Sullens M.Photog., M. Artist, CPP “After” example

This creative process involves a thoughtful blend of elements, allowing the artist’s vision to guide them toward crafting images that stand as unique works of art. Textures, painterly backgrounds, and overlays emerge as essential tools in this artistic genre. These elements, when skillfully applied, give a unique, textured quality to photographs, conveying depth and a painterly aesthetic. 

And the best part? You don’t have to be an expert in painting or digital art to achieve professional-looking results. By experimenting with different textures and painterly backgrounds, you can explore your creative vision to produce captivating and distinctive images that transcend conventional photographic boundaries. In this intersection of photography and painterly backgrounds, you are invited to explore and experiment with composite art. 

What is Compositing?

Compositing is a technique that layers multiple images or elements into a cohesive whole. This method empowers photographers to construct scenes that surpass the limitations of a single shot. Fine art photographers leverage compositing to create intricate visual narratives and combine various elements to convey stories or evoke artistic expression. Each added element contributes to the overall narrative, compelling viewers to delve into the underlying messages or themes within the final composite image.

In today’s digital age, the possibilities for creative expression through photography are endless. With advancements in technology and software, photographers are able to push the boundaries of traditional photography, blurring the lines between reality and imagination. This allows for a more nuanced and complex visual narrative, challenging the viewer to delve deeper into the depths of their own imagination.

Yet, even with the aid of technology, the true essence of fine art photography remains in the hands of the artist. It is their vision, their perspective, and their ability to choose the different layers combined with their own photograph that truly makes a one-of-a-kind work of art. Each piece is a reflection of the artist, a testament to their unique perspective and creative genius.

© Carly Sullens M.Photog., M. Artist, CPP “Before” Example
© Carly Sullens M.Photog., M. Artist, CPP “After” Example

How To Composite

There are several ways to blend layers together, including opacity adjustments, blending modes, overlays, and masking. The simplest way to start compositing is by simply choosing a painterly background and a photo. To achieve the desired visual effect when blending these two layers, you can adjust the opacity slider incrementally. Depending on the specific layers you are working with, you will move the slider to find the optimal balance between the background texture and the photo layer. This process can result in subtle or dramatic changes, depending on your creative intent and the desired impact on the final composition. 

© Carly Sullens M.Photog., M. Artist, CPP

Backgrounds, Textures & Overlays

In the world of composite art, the background is just as important as the subject being placed into it. It sets the tone and tells a story, adding to the overall impact of the final image. Whether purchased or created from scratch, painterly backgrounds, textures, and overlays are essential tools in the arsenal of any composite artist.

© Carly Sullens M.Photog., M. Artist, CPP

Where to find Artistic Painted Backgrounds and Overlays

Some composite artists make their own painterly backgrounds and textures, while others purchase them. 

For those who prefer to create their own, the process can be both challenging and rewarding. It requires a keen eye for detail, a strong understanding of color theory, and advanced Photoshop skills.

There are several places that sell painterly backgrounds and textures, including places where you can purchase stock images. However, finding a cohesive palette of painterly backgrounds with overlays can take a lot of time. That is why I created a central place where fine art backgrounds, textures, and overlays are curated and cohesive.

Carly Sullens Artistry

Carly Sullens Artistry, empowers photographers to take their skills to the next level. Learn more about her here –

© Carly Sullens M.Photog., M. Artist, CPP