Painting with a photo for reference can be really good fun, and help you to see the subject in a two dimensional way. You can use the techniques you've learned in class to help with measuring placement and scale on the paper too. Do bear in mind that you can always add your artistic interpretation too. Leave out things that you don't like. And you can even paint from a blurry shot! It's a great way to recover a memory if you didn't get a great picture of that time.
Here's a couple I've painted from photo's ...