Naturally, the better the quality of the photograph the better chance you have of producing an excellent portrait.
There are many reasons for this.
This will not do, unless there is a clear understanding with your customer prior to starting the drawing.
Consequently, you will have an unhappy customer who often questions your skills instead of the quality of their picture.
* If your customer has a digital photograph, insist on .
* When the picture is still to be taken, insist on the use of a 5 mega-pixel digital camera or higher and make sure your customer sends you the unaltered version (no cropping or resizing) of the photo.
This will give you the opportunity to judge the quality of the photo before they snail mail you the original.
Here are a few more suggestions you may want to convey to your customer:
* For paper photographs, insist on a minimum head size of 2.
5 inches, measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin.
* Tell your customer to avoid posed subjects with unnaturally large smiles.
* If the picture is still to be taken, advise your customer not to use the flash.
Also, lighting coming from the side from one light source is a nice bonus.
This will give you a much better idea of the unique qualities and personality of the subject.
* For group portraits, insist not only on a group photo but also on separate photos of each of the subjects.
* If all else fails and if possible, take the subject photographs yourself.
And you actually can often do with less.
From experience, I can tell you that there is no way around this.