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Photo direction for portraits

Here are some instructions on how to take a photograph for a painting:

First and foremost, please do not use a phone, as the lenses in phones are wide angle and always distort the facial features, and please no selfies, these are generally too close and further distort the features.

See examples below: Facial distortion - left, non distortion - right:

1. Make sure the photograph is taken without a flash as that tends to flatten the features and not in harsh midday sun as this not only causes the subject to squint but created very unflattering shadows. Defused late afternoon light is much more flattering, and the subjects face will appear more relaxed with softer shadows.

2. If you take the photo inside, or in a studio, set the subject up near a window or place an artificial light source from one side. This adds ambiance and helps to define the sitters features.

See examples of good side lighting below:

3. Style and dress the subject as they would like to be represented, eg; make sure they are sitting or standing comfortably and dressed in something they love, their hair should be styled in the way they prefer and its my signature to place their favourite flower behind the ear or in the hair.

4. Play with angles to bring out the best of their features and take your time until the subject feels confident and starts to play toward the camera, this is really important as that is usually when the subject looks a feels the best.

5. No big toothy smiles, personally I feel paintings with teeth look creepy and just like a painted snapshot, big smiles also distort the features especially the eyes, which to me are the most important aspect of a portrait.

6. The photographs must be in high resolution so I may see all the details right down to the eyelashes.

I hope all these points can help you create an image I can work from.