Art making process: Reference photos

One of the most wonderful thing about the era of smartphones is that you always have a camera on you (one could also argue it's the most terrifying thing as well, but that's a totally different conversation).

What camera do I use?
When asking an experienced videographer or photographer what camera is the best, a common answer is "the one you have on you", so let's start there.

I take a lot of my reference images with my phone, but I've noticed that I'm a bit too limited by both the optics and the information the camera can capture. I tend to edit my reference images quite heavily to get the colours I want, and phone-pictures can't really take that amount of editing without getting blown out.

I do have a full format system camera, it's a wonderful piece of tech that I've used a lot, however, it's big, like REALLY big, and that makes it hard to bike/travel around with. It also de-motivates me to even take it with me. So this spring I decided to compromise and get something in-between a full format system camera and a phone camera and ended up with a compact, mirror-less system camera from Canon. This is now my main camera of use, it's easy to just throw in my bag when I go out, so I'm always ready to take some photos on the go.

Am I a woman with a plan?
No, or rather, I'm a woman with a direction and a rough idea of what area I want to capture, but I won't know until I'm there what will work, sometimes nothing works and I end up finding something else on the go. One of these instances was the photos I took of the new bridge, Hisingsbron, my only plan that day was to bike over to Hisingen to take some photos and I ended up snapping some on the bridge. I love keeping my creative process open.

When I've got my reference photos I make edits to the colours, contrast and sometimes I do some copy and paste of different part of more than one images to make a composition I like. For instance, I merged image one and two of the above to make the trams meet on the bridge in the final painting. I also did some colour correcting to give it that sun-bleached 80's photo feel. I like the contrast between the modern bridge and the veteran tram and I wanted to add to that with the colours

Here's my final reference composition and the finished result: