Re: question- just curious about reference images
I print out the photo and tape it to my easel, above the canvas.
I think copying is fine, especially for beginners. There is enough to learn about just putting the paint on the canvas without having all the added complexities of painting from life.
But painting from life should not be neglected. It presents many challenges that you do not get from copying.
Until fairly recently, traditional art eduction focused very strongly on copying. In Paris, the art students would go to the Louvre and copy the great masters. A few still do that.