View Full Version : Reference Photos

12-12-2007, 01:51 PM
Hey everyone! :wave:

I might have access to some reference photos for use (I might be able to post a few here) but before I move forward with that project, can you help me understand the importance of reference photos? (Since I'm a papercrafter by trade, it helps for me to understand the artist's perspective)

My understanding is that reference photos are used more as a visual guide whenever you're creating a painting. (or drawing) With that being said, are there subjects that you would prefer to use (people or scenery?) or is there a format that you look for in reference photos. (I'm trying to figure out if I should create a downloadable .pdf or just a .jpg, etc.)

Let me know so that I can get a few things put together for you.

Also - if you have any other suggestions of items I can provide, please let me know.

Lady Carol
12-12-2007, 03:21 PM
Hi Ginger, reference photos are very important to the artist from all angles. They may be use as simply as a loose idea or to the other extreme may be reproduced meticulously.

Have you seen our Reference Library (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/)? You are very welcome to upload the images in there and that will solve the issue of the downloadable PDF. Here is a link (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=446620)that describes the RIL and what makes suitable material. That way the images would be of use for everyone not just those who visit acrylics, unless you want to restrict who uses them.

12-12-2007, 03:35 PM
Thanks Carol - I'll check it out. I know that we don't want to restrict the medium for reference photos - we want everyone to have access to them.

Are reference photos used very often? I know for myself, I keep a cd of reference images that I call "sketches" because they might have various papercrafting ideas on them. It's somewhat tedious to go online and download all of the images but it works for me right now.

I just want to make sure that I'm supplying information that you artists are looking for.

Lady Carol
12-12-2007, 10:53 PM
References are used constantly. It really does depend on the artist though. I almost exclusively use references for my art as I know many do. I think the fact that we have such an extensive library attests to the fact that many members use references. We also have constant requests for particular images in this forum (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=115).

12-17-2007, 01:01 PM
Oh yeah, EVERYTHING I do is from reference photos... I've gone in the RIL looking for lots of stuff, and it's great when I'm in the mood to paint, but don't have a particular subject in mind. But mostly its nice to see different angles of stuff, or to see how particular trees/bushes/plants look in different lights, as well as how water looks in different light/areas...

07-12-2008, 07:16 PM
Ginger I use reference photos the most for adding in elements such as figures or an old cabin or barn, etc into my paintings. It helps to see how the light plays off of the fabrics or materials. I often use several photos to make one good composition. Any photos showing light and shadow are great for painting and you would be amazed at how some of us interpret them! Thanks for adding to the library, it is most appreciated.

07-14-2008, 07:59 PM
Ginger a good place on site here to go see how reference photos are used by many artists, is to go to the AMAE-All Media Art Events Forum that is up top on the forum list near the Café forum. There is a weekly event that is held every Friday or Sat. Called the WDE- Weekend Drawing Event. That has been going on for years now. Every week there is a new host, and they supply about 16 reference photos for artists from all over the site - any medium- to use and interpret as they wish. Then post on the forum in separate threads. It's a very good event and usually at least 30 or 40 different participants. Instructions etc. can be found at the top of the forum main page. Well worth the look there.

10-13-2008, 03:16 PM
Wonderful idea....wish I had seen this earlier!

01-13-2009, 11:17 AM
What happened to Reference Library?
It looks like there have been no new uploads for months...
I remember there was a bug or something, but it was supposed to be on the "todo" list...

09-23-2009, 02:07 PM
Hi Ginger,

You know the saying "Too many things to do, so little time". I take photo references so I can work on an idea in a later time. Photos also allow me to "take home" flowers that I chance upon in another person's garden or public area without snipping a single stem. With the introduction of digital cameras, photography has become not only easier and cheaper, it also allowed us to see the results instantly. We can take pics of color combinations found in nature, ideas that we think are great to incorporate into our art, and we can have perspective studies of our subjects all in one click. Plus, we don't need to print out pics anymore, just keep them in dvds and view as needed. For me, my photo library is a sort of diary. I can look back at what things interested me most. How my perspective or way of looking at things have changed. And it is something to fall back on when nature is not cooperating. I can paint sunlit flowers during relentless weeks of constant cloudy and rainy weather. But of course, there are rules to follow and working from photographs take training and practice too. I augment my photo references with sketches or notes done on site (specially my perceived colors because no matter how good your camera, some colors don't come out the same as in real life) and hope that my memory is good enough so I can reproduce what attracted me to the scene in the first place. Which is probably why I can only work with photos I took myself. The recall helps when details come out blurred in the photos.