Taking Great Reference Photos for Your Portrait
The majority of commissioned portraits are done from photos. You can email me digital photos that you have taken yourself or snail mail photos you have taken (preferably on a 35mm camera).
Below are some tips to help you get great reference photos that will allow me to make a beautiful portrait.
1. Skip the flash! It flattens features and eliminates important shadows. Use natural light whenever possible. Avoid direct sunlight. Early morning or late afternoon light is softer and won't wash out the highlights. Overcast days work great.
2. For a pet portrait, try photographing in an outside setting or inside, near a window with enough light that a flash is not required.
3. Get down to the same level as your pet or the person you're photographing. If you can't or prefer not to kneel down, put your subject up on a piece of furniture that brings him/her eye level to you and your camera. Standing and pointing the camera down creates an unflattering distortion and makes it very hard to get a good likeness.
4. Avoid using wide angle lenses. These will distort proportions. Move farther away and use a telephoto lens, or move in close.
5. Try to choose an uncluttered background. If necessary, you can move in closer or use a zoom lens to eliminate some of the clutter.
6. Don't be stingy. Take LOTS of photos! It's better to have too many than too few. Take full body and close-up shots of the same pose so it's easy to see facial and eye details. Avoid big wide smiles as they cause the eyes to squint. If using a digital camera, it's best to use at least a 4 megapixel camera to get the higher resolution.
Most importantly: HAVE FUN!