Photographers and realist painters are both involved in the process of making art about recognizable subjects. A good photographer will compose their shots, just as any good painter will compose a piece of art. Both disciplines require experience and hard work in order to translate the image in ones head into the work before our eyes. Both must make choices about what to leave in, what to take out, how to crop and balance an image.
In many ways the painter has the easier job because, unless a photographer has complete control over the environment they are shooting, there will always be extraneous pieces of imagery that will be included in the shoot especially when out of doors. The photographer must be able to see the potential whilst taking in all that noise that could change the focus of the shot.
The painter, on the other hand, can pick and choose what to leave in and take out of a piece. They can change their mind and paint objects in and out of their work. The trick then becomes combining objects in a way that is harmonious and doesn't make a piece look like a collage. They have to lose the noise and keep the essentials and that doesn't just mean what objects are included in the final piece, because the painter makes constant choices about colour, direction of brushstrokes, emphasis, etc. as they paint.
I took thousands of photos of the Household Cavalry on my visit to Hyde Park Barracks. They were essential references for the paintings I created. The works themselves, however, are not copies of those shots. Once again, the snapshots were jumping off points for the paintings, which are based on a series of impressions, rather than a specific event.