Not all photographs can make a good portrait. The final quality of a portrait heavily depends on the quality of the photo provided. To ensure that all of my drawings are as high quality as possible, I always ask my customers to show me their photo before they place an order. Since it can be hard to judge whether or not a photograph is good enough to draw from, I've made this little guide with examples. So here goes!
Drawworm's Guide to Selecting a Photo for a Portrait
***********************A good photograph should be large and sharp, with soft lighting and clear details in the face. The better I can see the person's face, the more accurate the final drawing will be. (The larger the better, but at least 800px wide is a good starting point.) Here are some examples of good photos.
A bad photograph is small, blurry, grainy or overexposed, with harsh shadows or otherwise poor lighting. Basically, I can't draw what I can't see. Cell phone pics, photo booth strips, and poor scans of physical photographs do not make good drawings.
Vintage photos are often small and blurry, but not all of them. It is important to be able to clearly see the subject's face. Getting a high-resolution scan of a vintage photo can sometimes help with the size and the detail.
"But I REALLY need you to draw THIS photo..." Okay, let's say you have a photo that's kind of small and blurry. If you have a similar photo (similar pose and expression) of the same person that is large and clear, I may be able to use it as a reference for the first photo. It really depends on the photos, however, so I offer no guarantees on this.
"I'm still not sure if my photo is ok." No problem, just contact me on Etsy, attach the photo and I'll take a look!
If you have any suggestions for how I can make this guide clearer, I'd love to hear them. Don't hesitate to ask questions, either.