Guidelines for Photo Submission

Guidelines for submitting your own reference photos for a Home Portrait


You must discuss with me prior to taking or submitting any images for home portraits. If, together, we decide it is best for you to provide your own image then please consider these points when taking and submitting your own reference photographs.


If possible take the photograph with a camera, not a phone.  Most phone cameras provide images of very low resolution that would not be useful in creating your home portrait.  Take the photo on the highest possible quality/resolution setting. A high resolution photo will provide the best and the most detail and color information. If your camera allows RAW images, use that format, otherwise use highest quality JPEG.  (If you must use a phone, please discuss with me beforehand and we can determine the best settings to use.  Default settings may not be sufficient.)

Remove distractions:

Make sure to remove any distracting elements in the scene, as much as is possible. Put the toys, gardening equipment, ladders, dead plants, etc. away.  Get the cars out of the driveway.  Make sure shades are up in windows.  Make sure that anything in the scene is something you want in the final painting.  Yes, it is possible to remove things with Photoshop, but it’s far easier to remove it beforehand if possible.


Take your reference photograph in early morning or late afternoon.  The quality and color of the light is especially pleasing at those times.  Pay attention to the golden hour for your particular scene.  Does your home face east so that the morning light shines on it?  Or does it face west and glow with the setting sun?

It is best to have the sun behind you or slightly to the side as you face your home/scene.   Harsh midday sun will cast unpleasant shadows and wash out details.  Avoid rainy days or days with heavy cloud cover, though a slightly overcast day provides nice soft light.   Just watch the light on your home and photograph when it’s in the best light.  Your goal is to have soft, even light with no harsh shadows.


As much as possible, have the camera on the same plane as the home.  If you shoot up towards a building it will appear to get smaller as it goes up.  Again, this can be corrected, to a degree, but is far easier if shot correctly as much as is possible.

Photograph the home from different angles. Take a few photos straight on and a few from a slight angle from the side of the house.  Sometimes one perspective is more pleasing than another.


Photograph specific details up close:  the front door, a special tree, etc. Sometimes they make interesting paintings on their own, or it may provide more detail for a larger painting.


Leave room in the photo around your home.  It’s important to include the surrounding landscape and setting to provide context.  Try to use natural elements in the landscape to provide a frame for your home in the image.  For ideas, look at some of my home portraits.

If you have a print or a negative for a picture of an old family home, I can use that as well.

Don’t hesitate to submit several photographs.  I can use the one that will work best and use the others for reference. More information is better.


Your files may be too large to email.  I recommend Dropbox for transferring files.  You can open a free account, upload your images to a folder, and then share the link to that folder with me, and I will be able to download them.

If you have any questions about any of this, please contact me.