Cindy Briggs

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How to take travel photos to paint for later

I used to carry a variety of camera, storage drives, memory cards, and back in the day, rolls of film. Now, it’s so much simpler to just take photos for painting with my small iPhone. When I travel, I can take upwards of 200 to 500+ photos a day, and often just a percentage of those will work for a painting. So when your are excited about a scene, take multiple shots of it from different angles. It’s also a good idea to take photos of nearby subjects. I have never felt that I have taken too many photos!

Consider the lighting

The light will change every few minutes so sometimes a subject that doesn’t quite meet your hopes will look even better later in the day or vice-versa. For instance, I love painting the McPolin Barn in Park City Utah. You’ll see in my morning photo I have interesting cast shadows. The captivating light and shadow disappears once it hits about 11:30am. I prefer the dramatic morning light and shadow patterns and now know I have to get there early. Sometimes you just get whatever time allows.
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When taking photos up close, pull back too so that you get more of the scene.
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I like to include flowers or something interesting in my foregrounds. Remember you can always edit out the things you don’t want.
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You can change it up

For instance, I like to include my bicycle in my photographs to add interest. If I paint this I’d  edit out the rack and the garbage can, and make the bicycle more colorful with a cute basket on the front. Sometimes I even just add a photo of another bicycle to a scene to add some charm.

Take photos of subjects that interest you

Hats, food, people, animals…go for it. Try different angles, experiment and see what points-of-view you can come up with. Since I use an iPhone to take my photos I have unlimited images and it’s easy to search for the images when I’m ready to paint in my studio.   IMG 6382 I prefer painting on location when possible, but the photos I take on my trips are priceless for painting in my studio and for my workshops. Your photos don’t have to be perfect, you can always crop and edit them. The key is to have the photos. It’s best to paint from your own images especially when you plan to enter a show or sell the work in a gallery. So get out there and paint, and take even more photos as you travel. You’ll go back to your images again and again.     Cindy’s photos are from her travels in Park City Utah and L’Isle Sur la Sorgue, France Copyright 2021 Cindy Briggs
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