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Can you combine multiple photos into one painting?

Can multiple photographs be combined into a single painting?

This must be one of the most commonly asked questions received by any artist and the answer is YES! I can combine multiple photographs to create a painting.


Let me elaborate a little more:

As an artist, I need a reference photograph to paint from. I do not (or VERY rarely anyway) paint live subjects, it is just not practical anymore to have people sitting for hours for a portrait. Sometimes it is not possible to have a single photograph with all the subjects in one photo for instance if somebody wants to have a combined family portrait painting, but one or more of the family members are unfortunately deceased.

Ask any mother as well; if you try to photograph your children chances are very slim that you get thé perfect photograph of all four kids together…one will be looking away, the other pulling a face, and so forth!

In all of the above cases, I combine various different photographs to create the perfect reference photograph to work from. Lucky for me I have been a professional photographer for more than 14 years with extensive Photoshop experience. (You can still view my photography on my Facebook and Instagram pages.)

The same would apply to any decorative painting – if the client has a specific vision for his or her painting we often work together in combing various reference photographs to create the client’s dream painting. (See images below). When searching for photographs for any decorative painting we have to make sure that we use royalty-free photographs from photographers that give permission for their images to be used in the artwork. (A few good websites to look at is www.pexels.com, www.pixabay.com and www.unsplash.com). It is ILLEGAL to use photographs from Pinterest and Google as these photographs are copyrighted and the copyright belongs to the creator of the images.)


Sometimes it is unfortunately NOT possible to combine different photographs.

If you want me to combine photographs there are a few requirements:

The photographs need to tie in well together. I should be able to make them look like they were only one photograph. The photographs (especially portraits) need to be taken from the same angle and level, to give you an example: if three out of the four people has been photographed at eye-level, I cannot use a photograph of the fifth person lying down photographed from above.


The image below will give a better illustration of what I am trying to explain. I compiled a new reference photograph out of about ten royalty-free photos that I have downloaded from www.pexels.com and www.pixabay.com. I searched for images of two ladies taken from about the same angle and height – these two ladies were both photographed from a little below eye level. Then I searched for peonies that would look if they can be falling from the sky. Once I have found the desired images – I compiled the new reference photograph in photoshop to make up my Pure Joy Oil Painting.


Kindly Note:

I only compile photographs to this extent for OIL PAINTING. Unfortunately, the indicated price in my watercolour price list does NOT cover work to this extent. If this is required for a watercolour illustration, kindly contact me in advance for a bespoke quotation.

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You can read more about combining multiple photos into a painting in my next blog post: Do you paint from a photo?

error: Content is Copyrighted Celia van Niekerk Fine Art.
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