Saturday, January 02, 2016

Taking reference photos for paintings

Ever since I got my digital camera, I've been taking thousands of photos. About a year ago, I started focussing on taking some photos specifically to paint.  I made a number of mistakes and through this blog, sharing them so that hopefully some of you might not make the same ones.

Here are some of the lessons I've learned:
  • Take the  time to position or remove objects: I love flea markets and wanted to paint some interesting topics, especially blue glass jars.  I've learned that I may need to remove objects that I don't want in front of main topics. Otherwise some of those objects will upset the composition.
  • Take photos from all angles including straight on and from the side.  Even if I think that I have taken the best shot to paint, sometimes when I look at the photo when it's time to paint it, the layout and composition may not work. It's often not possible to go back to take another photo, so even if you think you have enough photos, take more. I've learned to walk around the subject and consider all angles. Taking photos from different views includes not taking all photos at eye level.  You'll be able to select the best view once you get back home.
  • Conversely, some times, there are better angles for certain topics.  Take for example, creeks with small waterfalls. I have many many photos take from the side and from the top of a waterfall.  I've learned that this topic is more appealing in a painting when the water flows toward the viewer.  I've learned to go down stream and look for places to take these photos.
  • For larger scenes, it's instinctive to want to capture the perfect photo.  Instead, you might want to take photos to capture the movement and the essence of the moment.
Even with decent photos, you can't always rely on using the photographs as is for a reference.  Often time you might have to make a some changes to the compositions. That's a whole different topic.

Today's artist find is Terry Armstrong:
rry Armstrong watercolour

Happy New Year and have a great week,

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