This one was a nightmare.
I did it twice. The first time, after about 20 hours of work, I went too dark and could not bring it back. So I tried again and stayed on the light side and it worked better.
The problem was the reference picture. I don’t think the photographer knew what he was doing. All the light behind the subjects and their fronts too dark. Absolutely no detail in their faces.
This piece is also much bigger than the reference. The reference is A4 landscape with the subjects in full figure. The painting is 350mm x 250mm and only their heads.
It really tested my patience and I sure are glad I got it done. Although this one was done for free for a friend, it did give me a better idea of what to charge for something similar. Also what to look for when accepting the reference.