Many people ask whether I work from photographs or from live sittings. The truth is that I would love to work from live sittings, but real life makes working from photos more feasible in most cases. However, I do not merely "copy" these photos. The point of a portrait is to capture the essence of the subject, which is always my goal in each painting. A photograph, on the other hand, is a snapshot in time, and can be very limiting in terms of illustrating one's true self.
When I take reference photos, I try and get to know the subject (if I do not already), and take hundreds so that I have plenty of material from which to paint the final portrait. The portrait is usually based on one or two photos only, but having many gives me more insight into one's personality. Here are couple of portraits and their reference photos that demonstrate how I've gone beyond the photo.