“It’s good to be able to push accuracy to a high level so that you know you can do it. At the same time, let’s keep in mind that changing what we see is also our prerogative as artists.
“We have the right to distort and exaggerate if it serves our purpose. In fact, the 19th century academic artists were encouraged to alter what they observed in a living model to approach a classical ideal.”
James Gurney, How can you draw accurately but quickly?, 5 September 2018
“But it was like that in the photograph” is the worst reason ever for doing something in a painting.
Followed by “but it was like that in real life”.
Just stop it already. Demand more from your creative self.