Sign-up for the 100 Portraits eBook

Page content

Traps in portrait painting based on photography

Traps in portrait painting based on photography

I’m often criticized because I explain how to paint a portrait from photography. Working from life is the only true religion, I always hear. I never answer because I know how things are in my profession. I say it again loud and clear: almost all my colleagues use photography when it comes to a commission. Only, they would rather keep silence in public. Anyway, I do not want to talk about that.

What’s one of the hazards of working from photography?¬†


The exposure. The lefthand picture shows a portrait that I painted from life in my studio during our Tuesday sessions. I always take a picture of the model before we stop. That shot you see on the right. A major handicap in photography can be seen at a glance. The light-dark contrast is too big. In particular, the light parts suffer from the loss of the subtle nuances. I notice in my classes that many people¬†overlook that phenomenon. So make sure that the print that you’re working from is not too light and that there is difference between the light and the high-lights.

Finally: of course work from life. Study as much as possible with a live model in front of you. The more training in direct perception the more your work from photography improves.

More posts on working from photography:

Work from photography.

Contact with the model.

More about photography.


More posts on painting from life model:

My favorite model.


Power of perception.


Or leave a message

Comment Section

0 thoughts on “Traps in portrait painting based on photography

Leave a Reply