Commission Photos

Help and Advice

Do make sure that your photos are clear and a “good size”. Photo’s should be solely focused on the subject. Head and Shoulders is a good angle for the photo as facial features should be much easier to see. Taking the photo with a high megapixel camera or a modern camera phone which corrects pixels and the image etc is ideal. The photo still needs to be in focus and not blurry. 

It is a good idea to capture or choose a photo where the light is hitting the subjects face; this way there is a good light-to-shadow contrast and the eye colour and complexion should stand out much more. This will help the artist choose their pallet and keep more detail in the commission.

Do make sure the photo has the subject in a position/expression that you will be happy to be immortalised. You will need to be happy with the position/expression from the time you hang your piece . Make sure you’re happy with this before choosing the photo as the artist will be using this position/expression for the commission.

When photographing the subject, do capture them from their eye level. Capturing the subject from above or too far below may make an unusual looking portrait when only drawing head/shoulders or an unforgiving position that you or the subject may not be happy with.

Do send a couple different good quality photos that you would be happy to be used. Artists need to feel inspired and sometimes there are some photos over others that really spark an artists imagination. It also means that if the artist (for artistic reasons) wishes to slightly alter the angle or look of the subject in one photo, they have other photos that will help them do this without losing the likeness of the subject. 

Don’t Capture or choose a photo where the subject is far away, this means that when zoomed in to forcus on the face, most of the detail is lost and this will severely impact on the amount of accurate detail the artist is able to put into the commission. 

Don’t capture or choose a photo where the subject is lit from behind. This makes the subject appear dark and limits the details detectable in the face.

Don’t capture or choose a photo where the lines of the subjects face are blurred. The artist needs crisp lines so they can add all the details to the subject. If the photo is unclear then some likeness of the subject may be lost as the artist is having to guess at details.

Don’t take a photo from above the subject; when drawing head/shoulders this may create an unappealing or awkward looking piece. It is far better to capture how the subject looks at their natural eye level.

Don’t just take a random photo and choose that one instantly. Take a lot or look at a lot and select the best photos. You are asking for this subject in that photo to be immortalised in that position and expression. Don’t choose a photo that you (or the subject) will regret having on your wall.

Don’t just send one photo unless you are absolutely sure that this is a perfect photo and that it is the only photo you would like to have made for the commission. Giving the artist choice may help the artist get inspired and produce a better piece. Even if the there is only one image you would like to be used for the position/expression, it is still advisory to send extra photos for the artist to look at as other photos may show their hair or eyes in a different light and show more colour. This all helps the artist capture the subjects likeness in the position/expression of the photo you wish to have made into a commission.

Examples of Good Photos

Head and Shoulders

This is a nice, clear, well-shot photo of a child. Well positioned and captures a close-up of head and shoulders only. The facial features are clear and highly detailed.

Good Lighting

The lighting is good in the photo, it highlights the eyes and the eye colour and hits the front of the face well, creating beautiful contrast between light and shadow over the face.

Good Position

Choose a photo that has a good position/expression. This is a good, clear photograph with the subject in a good position showing head and shoulders. The artist can easily interpret this into a commission piece. Taking an image of the subject from above may not look the best when only drawing head/shoulders creating an awkward looking piece.

High Quality Camera

Although this photo is of the whole subject, it has been taken on a high quality camera and even when the photo is zoomed in on the face, it still keeps every detail, from eyelash to eye colour. This gives you and the artist more choice for composition depending on how much of the figure you wish to be portrayed in the commission (dependent on the size of commission and other variables).

Examples of Bad Photos

Awkward Positions/Expressions

Make sure that you will be happy with the subject in the photo being immortalised in that exact pose. If you or the subject might not be happy with seeing this on the wall everyday then choose another photo. Some positions as well might not be easy or inspiring for the artist to capture. It is a good idea to choose happy and expressive poses over awkward or unflattering.

Subjects too far Away

In this photo, the subjects are quite far away, when zoomed in a lot of detail is lost from the facial features, there is also the net in front of one subject, completely altering the details of the face. It is far better to choose two separate clear head/shoulder photos of the individual subjects and the artist will be able to combine the photos into 1 commission piece.


Again emphasising that it is important to choose a photo with a pose and expression that you and the subject would be happy with. For animals, try getting down to their level and take a few photos of their head/shoulders while they are sitting or lying naturally. This is an easy way to get a natural angle and composition.

Bad Lighting

Ok this is an extreme example but try to capture or choose a photo with good lighting. Lighting the subject from behind (with the sun or a window behind them for example) will cast a lot of shadow over them or completely lose the features. Light hitting the front or side of the face is best. The photo, overall, should be bright and clear.