Portrait Photo Guides
How to Select or Take the best Photo for a Custom Portrait
Ideally photographs for portrait reference are high quality and high resolution. However, a very nice watercolor portrait can still be created from a lower resolution image, as the medium is conducive to imprecision. If you have only one blurry photo and no way to get another, this can be a solution, so please contact me .
Quality and Resolution
A photo taken outside, on an overcast day without a flash is ideal, as this lighting provides the best detail without adding harsh shadows. However, house, boat, car and some garden portraits can actually be enhanced with the contrast of light and shadows that intense sun provides. If you have only one photo and are unsure, please contact me.
Photo references with flash are not flattering to any subject – the light and shadows of a flash flatten images and will look like a flash photo after painted or drawn as well. Unless this is a photo using professional-level flash to relieve the dark shadows that strong backlighting creates on a sunny day, it is best to avoid images with flash unless you are perfectly happy for the final portrait to look like a flash photo.
The angle and distance of the camera from the subject of the photo has a huge impact on the amount of distortion.
Distortion in photos typically results from three things:
1) Camera plane not parallel to subject
2) Subject to close to edges of image
3) camera too close to subject
To avoid distortion in people or pet portraits:
1) Make sure the camera plane is parallel to the person(s) or pet(s)
2) Center the subjects in the frame
3) Step back far enough from subject(s) to prevent the “clown-nose” effect. (when the nose looks far bigger than it is because its too close too the camera
For photographs of houses, boats or cars, the same rules apply but can more difficult to follow. For example, it may be that the best frontal view position to take a photo of a house is from across the street, through someone else’s second floor window! In these instances, contact me to check if your photos are effective.