IT MUST BE DIGITAL: You must be able to send your photo to me through email, and it will allow me to crop, zoom, and examine the fine details while I work. I also like to touch up many of the photographs in Photoshop prior to drawing to allow me to get the most out of the photographs. Why? Well, most people I work with aren’t artists and only have a basic understanding of what makes a good photo. I primarily fix lighting issues to help one’s face look less flat and more three-dimensional in drawing form.
FILL THE FRAME: Obviously, we’re both interested in finding the perfect photo that is in portrait-style. What does that mean? It means that the figure (or person) in the photograph should be (1) close to the photographer, (2) they should fill the frame, (3) and primarily focus on the face. Think of a Roman-bust sculpture: from the chest/shoulders and up. There’s no use in sending a full-body photograph of a person standing in a busy background if all we are interested in is the face … Right? Great!
LOTS OF LIGHT: Good quality lighting is essential to allow me to make my best effort from your photograph. Light allows your camera to see clearly and capture crisp details that become faded, muddled and pixelated in low-light settings. (i.e. it becomes difficult to distinguish the details). I can still work with most photographs, but depending on the photo … I may have to do some guesswork – but don’t worry, I would inform you of any issues and challenges beforehand, should there be any need to. The only exception to the rule is when you send me a photograph with high contrast (i.e. when there is an equal balance of light and dark shadows). Think of Film Noir. This is a bit more artistic and advanced, so if you don’t know what you’re doing, I suggest you just stick with the basics.
BLANK BACKGROUND: If it’s possible, try to have a clear, blank, or flat coloured background. I’m not interested in the background; it’s distracting, and some of the details (hair) can become lost in it. My best advice is to take a photo in front of a blank wall, if you can.
THE PERFECT POSE: Finally, think of your pose! Unless you’ve already taken the photo, you should decide on how you or the subject should look. Are they smiling, serious, laughing or pursing their lips? Also, think about the angle of the body and face. Is the figure facing forward, sideways, or in three-quarters-view (angled)? See the photo’s below: