I can’t blame all my bad photos on the camera though. I have my fair share of blurry pictures and family members who are missing the top half of their head. Some bad photographs are just that, bad. Some, however, are excellent for references.
Reference photographs are a collection of photographs you put together on various themes. This collection is used as inspiration for creating original artwork.
Start a collection of photographs of possible subjects for painting. Organize your photos into categories to make it easy to find the different elements you want – sky, water, trees, flowers, barns for example. You can use the sky from one picture, the water/waves from another to compose your painting.
Keep some photos of people and some of benches and flower pots or other objects that draw your eye. You could include some of these elements in landscape or cityscape paintings.
You want pictures that aren’t too busy. Look for simple shapes both positive and negative. Keep your great shots, but not as a reference photo. You may be tempted to just copy it and where is the challenge in that?
Arrange these photos where you can access them easily either in photo albums, binders, file folders or boxes or even on the computer; whatever works for you. I prefer to hold the photographs in my hand so all my photos are on standard size 4 x 6 inches paper. Once you have decided how you want to organize your reference photographs treat yourself to an “Organize your Photos Day”. Have your organizational supplies on hand and a beverage of your choice and start organizing your photos. Have fun with it and maybe even share the day with your artist friends.