PHOTO REQUIREMENTS & TIPS Your portrait will only be as good as the reference used to draw it. I review every photo for quality approval before accepting any order. Please read the notes and tips below.
Important Notes: I work primarily from one photo for the face. Choose the photo you feel best describes the subject's looks and personality. If you can't decide on one, you may submit more than one photo, and we can discuss them. If the photo you wish me to use is from a professional photographer's studio, you must obtain a copyright release form from the photographer or studio! For a portrait of more than one person, I can use separate photos. However, I recommend that the photos have similar lighting and viewpoints. (You would not want one photo outside, back or side-lit, and the other photo indoors with flash.) The drawing will look more unified if the light comes from the same direction in all photos.
Digital Photo Requirements: A standard head shot (from just above the head to mid-chest) should be no less than 500 pixel width. Do not resize a smaller file to fit these dimensions. If your only photo is smaller than this, send to me as is, and I’ll make a judgement. For the less computer-savvy, an easy way for you to test photo clarity is to open the photo with your photo Viewer and zoom in until the face fills your monitor. (about an 8x10” size) If you can distinguish small, important details clearly – such as the eyelid fold – without the image becoming blurred, then it is likely a good photo. Email the original photo file whenever possible. Avoid photos that have been reformatted or saved for web-viewing. (Forwarded or downloaded photos from social media sites, etc.) These will usually not be of sufficient resolution for printing with good detail. If you are Mailing a Photo Print: The face in the photo (forehead to chin) should be at least one inch, or larger, and very clear (not blurred or grainy). A 4x6 close-up is ideal.
Scanning Photo Prints: If you’d like to scan your valuable photo print so that you can upload it rather than mail it, here are some guidelines: If the face in the photo is larger than 2 inches, scan at 200 dpi. If the face is between 1 and 2 inches, scan at 300 dpi. If the face is between ½ and 1 inch, scan at 600 dpi. If the face is less than ½ inch, it may be too small to work with. THE EXCEPTION: Some antique photos are very crisp even in small details. If this is true of yours, scan faces this small at 1200 dpi. You may want to crop the image in the scanner's preview window to just around the head and chest before scanning, to reduce the file size.
PHOTO TIPS: If you'd like to take some current photos of your subject, here are some tips: Take shots outdoors, in the shade or a cloudy day (avoid bright sunlight) with flash, or indoors in a bright room, with flash. Avoid photos taken in a dark room with the flash as the only illumination (The face gets severely washed out, and the hair will be mostly too dark.) Take plenty of photos. Zoom in on the face for most shots. Take some of the face and upper body, and some full body if you want that for the portrait. Avoidusing the wide-angle lens on close-ups; step back about 6 feet and use a zoom for a close shot. Wide angle distortion adds pounds! Also avoid the "mug shot" pose, with the subject standing stiffly straight at the camera. For a better composition and a more natural pose, catch your subject at an angle with the shoulders turned some, then have them turn just their face towards the camera. REMEMBER: A face at rest will show as much character and personality as a huge smile (and will show the features as nature made them.) Don't assume that a cheesy grin is necessary for a beautiful portrait!