Jeanie Brennan writes: Hi Lisa
First let me say I think you are the best artist I have ever seen. I love your work. I have a question about royalty free reference photos. I have purchased some myself. what if another artist purchases the same pictures and does a painting that is for sale and I have done the same picture from the same photo. what would happen? Some people may think that one or the other has copied the other ones art. It could be as simple is they both used the same photo. should I be concerned about this?
Thanks for the kind words!! For the reference photos, this is something that any of us who buy royalty free photos to use in our art or if we use royalty free sites like morguefile.com are going to have to deal with. I rarely copy my reference photos exactly and a huge reason for that are the concerns you’ve listed above. You both legally have rights to paint and make reproductions of your finished art, even if they look the same in the end.
The easiest thing to do when you’re working from a reference photo like this is to change yours up a bit. If you find a great royalty free photo of an owl, just change your background. Yours is now unique! Several of my own paintings have been repainted or drawn by other artists using the same reference photo. It is going to happen unless you’re using your own reference photos.