I always work from my own reference photos except when doing animal or property portraits for a customer. The photo helps me recall the feeling of the place and reminds why I was excited about the scene. My b/w sketches also help.
But I'm surprised when I view the reference photo after the studio piece is completed and see how much I interpreted rather than copied the photograph.
Here is the pastel "End of Autumn 3" that I showed in the last blog.
|"End of Autumn 3" 18"x24" pastel|
And here's my reference photo as well as the cropped version of the photo. Cropping in photoshop is an invaluable compositional tool.
|Swift Camp Creek Fall Reflections|
The completed pastel may seem photorealistic but as you can see by comparing it to the reference photo, the photo is as much an inspiration as a reference.