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Artists like myself usually paint from a reference photo, often digital. I find when representing colour it is more accurate to do it from a print rather than a screen, so once I have your photo in digital form I will prepare it in Photoshop and get a print to work from.

Painting from a photo as opposed to from life means that the painting can be completed without a sitting and without any geographical restrictions. The quality of the reference photo can have a great impact on how good the finished painting is. Here are some of the key points to consider when taking or selecting a reference photo.

If you’re using me for a commission and are in any doubt, contact me and I'll be happy to help.

Take it in a high resolution

You can always scale a photo down but not up. Take the photo in the highest resolution possible. 300 pixels per-inch (PPI) is the gold standard but anything as low as 150 PPI is good enough. For example, if you wanted a painting 16" wide, the ideal width in pixels would be 4,800 (16 x 300 = 4,800).

Have a good contrast of light and dark

Having a good contrast of light and dark helps the artist to establish the three-dimensional form from paint. For example, light shining on one side of a face makes for a much better painting than a face bathed in ambient light.

Printed photos can be scanned

Since printed photos are analogue, they technically contain far more information than a high resolution digitial photo. I can scan your photo and even restore it/enhance it in Photoshop first and then use it as a reference.

The photo shouldn’t be too light

The photo shouldn’t be so light that it looks over-exposed and have large areas of pure white. Dark paintings can sometimes work; it depends on the subject matter.

Everything should be in focus

While having some objects in focus and others blurred (depth of field) creates a 3D effect in photos, this is problematic when it comes to a reference photo since it contains less information to paint from. The artist can create depth by the size of the brush strokes instead.

As I mentioned earlier, if you're using me for a commission and are in any doubt, contact me and I'll be happy to help.

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That is amazingly good work. Love it.

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