Hello, I’m often asked by clients what kind of photo will make the best oil portrait possible. Please bear in mind that our artists at Portraits from Photos will always help you to find the right photo that will make a great basis for your oil portrait. If we don’t think your photos are clear enough, or good enough to use we will always tell you. We won’t take the commission on just for the sake of it.  However, here are 4 tips that immediately come to mind and that we hope you might find useful.

1. Are your photos high res?

portraits from pgotos

I’ve found that the best oil portraits come from high-resolution photographs. Anything over 1 MB is excellent. It just means that when your portrait artist studies your photograph, he or she be able to see all the small details that she/he needs in order to paint you an exquisite oil portrait. Lesser quality photos are still ok to work from, we’ve hand-painted oil paintings based on photos taken from mobile phones but the higher quality and clearer the image the better.

2. How sharp or clear is your photo?


Your artist can only paint what he sees. Therefore your photo needs to clearly show the artist the colours and details you want to have painted into your portrait. The more in focus your photo is, (as opposed to a blurry photo) the better your oil portrait will be.  Sharpness of photo is actually a key factor in what differentiates a good oil portrait from a great oil portrait.

3. Lighting


Try and avoid photos that show your subjects in strong sunlight or dark shadows as it doesn’t come across well in an oil painting.  Having subjects squint if they are looking directly in the sun or are covered by shadows so you can barely see their faces is again not ideal. This photo for example is completly runined by bright lighting and would definitely not make for a good oil portrait.

4. Background


The great news is, your artist can change and alter the background of your portrait to however you want it. However, if you want the artist to copy the background as seen in your photo, it helps if your ideal background shows slight variations in colour and tones as this will give your oil portrait greater colour weight. Remember though, if the background in your photograph is very colourful and busy it will probably detract from the main subjects. Let us know when placing an order if you have any concerns about the background of your photo or if you would like any advice or alterations to be made.

Have a question?

We’d love to hear from you! If you would like to add something,  or ask a question concerning our oil portraits please leave a comment.

Bye for now x