So, I admit… I have been somewhat lazy in the past when it comes to reference images for my artwork. I am a huge fan of photo sharing sites like Paint my photo. com and I certainly don’t mind paying for the super high quality of the photos found on wildlife reference photos.com. I often turn to sites like these when I’m looking for inspiration.. or when I have a “Great idea” which i need to research further.
However, relying on outside sources for reference photos can be very limiting. When I have a great composition in mind, and no one has taken a photo that fits what is in my mind… ugh!! well it can be extremely frustrating, and I can waste hours searching for the right image.
I recently purchased a DSLR camera, which I intended to use mostly as a video camera for YouTube. Although the camera is doing a fabulous job so far, it does seem like a waste of a rather nice (and reasonably expensive!) camera to relegate it solely to this task.
Small problem… the last SLR camera I used took film, and I only used it for a few months with black and white film for a photography class. This new camera came with a thick booklet, and WAY too many buttons; and once again I leave myself in a position of having no idea what I’m doing.
So I have been watching videos and reading magazines and trying to get my head around this thing so I can get out and document some of the things that inspire me. My daughter and I went for an early morning trip to my local beach to see what we could do. A local bushfire gave the morning light a strange red cast, but we both got some great shots to add to my big book (file) of reference photos.
That afternoon I set up a still life with a wine bottle, glass and some fairy lights and fired away. It took some efforts to get the look I wanted. My black glass table stared again, and with the help of a stereo speaker, my iPhone torch and a bottle of ajax to prop things up, I had some great successes (and many, many, many failures) getting the right reference for my next colour pencil piece.
Ooooh, the opportunities this opens up for me! I can’t wait to get out and take as many photos as I can!
Great article Cass, glad I got to read it. I’m getting a new camera for Christmas so will be like you figuring out how to use it!