Commission Reference Photo, Size + Background Option Guide

Reference photo

When commissioning a photo(s) of your loved ones or beloved pets, finding the best reference photo may be the most important part of the whole process. I encourage clients to choose photos that they personally love as I aim to convey the joy they feel for the photo into a bespoke piece of art. However, sometimes the favourite photos may not work best for the portrait artwork. It slightly differs what matters between people and pet portraits:

Pet Portraits:

Positioning and pose: Even though it helps a lot, the quality doesn’t have to be the very best. If you have limited photos of your pet because they have sadly passed away or your favourite photo of them is of low quality, this is not a problem as I can draw in the detail for you. What’s more important is the positioning and pose, as well as making sure everything is in frame so that there isn’t any guesswork and therefor chance to draw any part incorrectly. Photo’s which are taken at the same level as your pet as well as good lighting are most suitable for portraits.

People Portraits:

Quality: The higher quality the reference photo, the more accurate I can draw the subject(s). People portraits are complex and the slightest details always matter. If the reference photo is low quality and details are hard to see, it may be too difficult for me to achieve accurate facial features. I always aim to produce the most accurate and highest quality portrait artwork so I may have to decline commission requests if I think I am unable to accurately draw from your low quality reference photo.

I will always ask for final changes on any portrait before I send it to you to make sure it’s perfect. Nevertheless, for the best possible outcome, it’s always best to send multiple photos. That way we can talk about which photo will make the best portrait artwork and go through them together when you request a commission via email.


Each available portrait size is completed with the up most attention to detail, however the larger sizes 30x40cm+ allow me to capture the most detail possible. Most of my clients in the past have chosen their ideal portrait size based on:

The type of portrait: Full body portraits require larger sizes to fit everything on comfortably while allowing room to add in as much detail as possible.

Wall space: Some clients prefer small intimate portraits that take up little wall space to suit their homes, others want to fill a large space with a grand bespoke portrait artwork that really catches peoples attention.

Background options

I offer either a blank white / grey background or a colour / colour gradient of your choice included in the price. Background colour options are often chosen by the clients personal taste and what complements the portrait. If you would like a detailed background illustrated as seen in your photo reference, I can give you a quote based on how complex it is. We can discuss all options via email when you request a commission and figure out the best outcome together.

You can also find many different background choices my clients have previously chosen in my gallery here on my website for examples / inspiration.

What colour paper will my commission be drawn on?

Pet Portraits: I always draw on grey paper as I find it to be the most suitable, however if you wish to have a blank white background, then I will draw on white paper.

People Portraits: People portraits are always created on white paper for any background option as its most suitable for drawing skin tones.