Release the hounds!

One common question I receive is whether I can paint a group portrait from several different photos. The answer is yes. Here’s how to get the best results.

(Actually, most of these tips apply to any commissioned painting.)

  1. Send several photos of each subject. A link to an online album works just fine too!
  2. Choose clear photos in clear lighting. The larger the painting, the better resolution is necessary for the original photo so I can see detail.
  3. When possible, select photos in which all the subjects (man or beast) are photographed from the same angle.
  4. Point out key attributes that you want to capture that may not be obvious in the photo. Things like freckles don’t always show up in pictures…you know they’re there, but I don’t!
  5. If you send a photo where the color is a little off but you like the pose, let me know. (e.g. “My dog is really more brown than this photo would suggest.”)
  6. If it’s not obvious (like a Great Dane next to a chihuahua) give me some hints about the relative sizes of the subjects.
  7. Remember that in portrait work, I can only paint what I see.

When I get your photos, I’ll play around with them in photoshop to come up with a good composition. As I’m painting, I’ll make adjustments to the lighting of each subject so they’re congruous.

Don’t let a little thing like your kids – or cats, or dogs, or guinea pigs – not sitting still together be an excuse for not having a portait!

Beckelman scan

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