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I'm a professional award winning Portrait artist from NSW Australia.

Not just a likeness- portraits with Life!
I bring your photos to life in paintings that will touch your heart!

A photo freezes a moment while a painting melts hearts.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Supplied photos to paint portraits from - the good the bad and the ugly!

The better the reference photos you supply the better the final portrait and the easier it is for me to create one!
Here I'll show a few photos and explain why they are good , bad or ugly !

Good horse reference - although there is a shadow on his face it doesn't hide much , his coat colour shows well and I can see the structure of his head.The outline/ shape of his eye is obvious although it is in shadow so it is just a dark shape ( I managed to get around that problem).
Above - Bad reference photo - A lovely horse and pose but the circled areas are just dark blobs with no detail in them and the photo isn't very sharp. I can't see the shape of the neck and the gutter in the neck or the shape of the cheekbone or mouth. I can use this but it makes my job very hard!
Above - Bad reference - Another beautiful horse and pose but not a very good reference photo.It is unsharp and there is no detail in the area I have circled . I can't see the bone structure. I can paint from this but every animal is unique and if you want the portrait to look like your animal the more information I have in a photo the better  and  easier it will be for me to create your ideal portrait.  To avoid this problem get about 10' away and zoom in and just photograph your horse head so it fills the frame .( This is for a head portrait although even for a full body pose a good  reference for the head will help me enormously). Often if you take a photo from a long way away and then enlarge it it becomes like these ones - unsharp.
Go to my website with this link for more tips on getting suitable photos without distortions for a horse portrait -
taking horse reference photos

Good Dog Reference - A lovely expressive pose
Although the camera is only 4 mexapixels this photo has nice lighting and gloss on his coat . I can see the shape and colour of his eyes and nose and although part of his neck is in shadow it isn't an important part of his face.

Above - another good one - A happy pose and although the lighting is not out in the sun ( taken under a bright outdoor verandah) I can see the shape of his eyes , nose and there is some gloss on his coat.
Above - Bad reference - A happy pose but taken with a flash so I can't see the colours of his eyes and where his eyes end isn't very obvious. I used this photo mainly to see his colour and coat.I  used additional photos for the colour and shape of his eyes etc.( see below).

Better reference of the same dog - This was taken outside in the sun with no flash. I can see the colour of his eyes.His nose isn't really sharp but I got by.
Bad reference photos

This is a cute pup and a nice sharp photo with good detail d but her eyes have been 'flashed out' and she doesn't look very happy.I can't make your pet look happy if it's not in the photo.I can make a happy one happier but not a sad one happy. The whole face structure changes when your pet smiles so I can't just give them a 'smile ' as it will look strange and not like them.
A lovely pose but we have flashed out eyes again and a dark blob for a nose. The photo has been taken from a distance so when it is enlarged it is blurry and unsharp.
Here is an enlarged version of the same photo and I've circled the problem areas.
I can't see where her eyes end and where her eyesockets /lids start or any detail in her nose.The expression in her eyes  has been lost due to the flash.
I know it's not always going to be possible to have great photos especailly if your pet has passed away.( For those of you with pets still around start taking photos now!). Try and take photos of your pet somewhere bright so you don't need to use a flash and use sports setting on your camera.- under an outside verandah is great .
Follow this link for some pet phototaking hints-

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