If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all. Michelangelo
Group or individual portraits?
Your portrait may involved portraying multiple subjects. Some
clients prefer multiple subjects in one portrait and others
prefer individual portraits for each subject. The advantage
of a group portraits is that the possibility to show a relationship.
Whereas individual portraits allow each subject to later own
their own portrait.
Mood & purpose of the painting
The ultimate purpose of the painting is the first thing to
consider regarding mood.
Generally, corporate and official portraits occupy a more
narrow range of mood with the subject usually depicted in
business attire or a uniform, though this is not always the
case. A family portrait normally allows a wider range of possible
clothing and settings and could be casual to very formal.
Though an outdoor portrait often tends to be informal, this
is really influenced by the choice of clothing. Regardless
of whether the portrait is formal or informal, avoid loud
prints and choose classic attire that does not distinctly
place the portrait as painted in a particular era.
Mood is affected by clothing, setting, facial expression,
body position and medium. Generally, pastel portraits are
considered more informal. Lastly, after the portrait is completed,
the choice of a frame will also contribute to the overall
Style of painting
Each artist has their own unique style. As you browse through
the artists, you will get a feeling of what styles most attract
Amount of figure in portrait and overall dimensions
Though these are things to consider in the early stages, the
final dimensions are often determined once the artist arrives
for the preparation. Or, you may initially decide on a 3/4
figure, then as a result of working with the artist, decide
you prefer a full figure. If there are multiple subjects in
the portrait, depending on their placement in relation to
each other, one might be full figured or 3/4 and another might
be 1/2 figure or bust, such as when standing behind a chair.
Sometimes a client already has a frame, such as a family heirloom
or antique they've purchased and the portrait must fit this
Budget for the project
Some projects have a very specific budget from the start and
cannot vary. For others, a range is acceptable, giving the
artist more creative freedom. Let us know your needs in this
area. Be aware that expenses such as artist travel and accommodations
while visiting the client, crating, shipping, insurance, framing,
and any applicable sales tax are generally not included in
the fees and are billed to the client.
Generally, pastels and charcoal or graphite drawings are less
expensive and also less formal. Be aware that these portraits
when framed are under glass. Oil paintings will have no glass
when framed and are generally considered more formal.
Most artists will give recommendations for framing style.
Some have a relationship with one or more framers and will
be able to recommend and/or offer framing through them before
the painting is delivered or you can handle the framing yourself.
Depending on your choice of frame, it could ran from several
hundred dollars to several thousand dollars and some hand-carved,
gilt frames or antiques might run many thousands of dollars.