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I'll paint from photographic reference quite often especially when I do larger works. But if I want the painting to have the look as if I painted it from life then I need to gather some of that information from life; that information being color, value and their relationships. I generally use photos for the drawing aspect of the process. So I get out there with the model, paint smaller sketches and take a picture from the same view point. The reason I work this way is because the camera does not see the same color, value and subtleties that the eye sees. I want the color and value relationships to look as if I painted them from life.