Making a direct transfer of a magazine photo or a photocopy is a relatively simple process.
liberally apply liquid or soft gel medium to the support, and place your photo face down over top of it. Use a brayer over all (this will squish out excess medium or gel - hence the need for palette paper!), and allow it to thoroughly dry (up to 24 hours, depending on how much medium you've used).
and lightly, lightly, lightly, start removing the paper from the back with a plastic scrubby (this will save your fingers for when you get down in later layers), re-moistening the whole thing as required.
Eventually you'll have a completed transfer and can begin to add additional layers to your painting.
Here's a helpful hint - if you've rubbed and scrubbed and cleaned your transfer, and still have a 'bloom' diffusing it, try adding a liberal layer of gloss medium over all - sometimes this will clarify things a great deal.