Painting from a photograph ?

I was just wondering if the room has to be dark to paint from a photo , would it mess the colours up if i painted from a light-ish room? I also have roughly a 4-5ft window more or less right in front of where im going to paint. Hopefully it wont play with the colours too much.


  • Nope. No special lighting to paint from a photograph.
  • Well, you would certainly like for the light in the room to illuminate the canvas in a way that does not create glare and does not create excessive shadows from your hand right where the paint is being laid down. Mark recommends sunlight corrected bulbs too, actually. I'll see if I can find the youtube video he posted with this information.
  • edited September 2014
    I interpreted the question to be whether this would effect color matching. I don't think that it would. No matter what light you use (warm, cool, neutral, daylight, artificial), if the paint dab matches the paint on the photo, you're good to go. The appearance of the photo color and the paint color will be equally effected by the light used. Not so with painting a still life setup because the color checker is lit by a different light than the one lighting the setup.
    [Deleted User]lloydy
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] admin
    edited September 2014
    There are things that may hinder your work… for example, if the light on your canvas is not evenly distributed, you will likely have trouble judging the true values you've laid down when you step back and try to figure out what to do change or do next. But as far as actual color matching to a photo, Martin is correct, it really doesn't make a difference because the paint — when applied to a spot on the photo — is in the same conditions as the ink in that spot of the photo.

    @opnwyder‌ See the first page of the Online Course. :)
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  • KevinGE

    No! I have never been caught moonlighting!

  • @David_Quinn_Carder, it actually makes sense to me now, after having used the method, that the color temperature of the light wouldn't be so important when working from a photograph. I did find the video Mark made that I originally watched that made me believe that I needed color corrected lighting. It's what Mark says at the 3:10 point in THIS video about setting up an artist's studio. He didn't make any differentiation between working from a photo or from life in this video when he said that 5000K lighting was "really important", so I installed that lighting and promptly painted solely from photos. HA! Anyway, that video has a lot of good information regarding @lloydy's questions, so hopefully he'll find it useful.
  • edited September 2014
    @KevinGE I read the Gurney book and his blog post on this issue and I think that the reason that moonlight presents such a problem is that moonlight is about 400,000 times weaker than direct sunlight; it’s so dim that the color receptors in our retinas, called the cones, can barely function; rods are doing most of the work; and rods detect relative lightness and darkness, but they are entirely color-blind.
    So color matching from life or from a photo would probably be impossible in moonlight (although value matching might not be), but it wouldn't be because of the temperature of the moonlight, it would be because of the extreme dimness.
    [Deleted User]
  • @Martin_J_Crane‌ Right on. If you ever want to watch something really geeky on the subject, check this out:

    It gets pretty technical once he gets going.
  • Thank you all :) Just need to find somewhere near to where i live in UK that will laminate my two 16" x 12" photos now. I did find a local one in town but they wanted just over £10.00 each and thought thought SOD THAT lol
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