I'll be honest with you, of course.......I haven't painting anything
from real life since about the first couple of months I began painting.
After having struggled with lighting, positioning, composition, subject deterioration, items wilting and rotting, etc., with one of the first still-lifes that I painted, I quickly decided that a camera was a much
better way to achieve a relatively "accurate" record from which to paint.
I "paint out" whatever photographic aberrations (distortions) may have occurred in the reference photo, as I'm creating my painting.
At present, I use a site called, "Paint My Photo", on which photographers post their photos, with the goal of artists being able to use them as reference photos, much as the Reference Image Library is used by artists on Wet Canvas.
There is an excellent photographer on that site who posts photos of many still-life paintings. I always need to be aware that he often tweaks his photos with many Photoshop effects, and I generally avoid using those photos, but about 50% to 60% of his photos are relatively "pure". I use those, and I painted this from one of his really good photos.
The lighting in this photo is the factor that caused me to look at it twice, and my purpose in painting this was to convey that sort of "theatrical lighting".