Remember, AND WE CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH, the detail of the final portrait is directly related to the quality and focus of the photos that you send.
There are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind. The most important element is FOCUS! Blurry or fuzzy shots are not good and will not allow us to do our best work. Next is composition; you should imagine you are taking a picture for the school yearbook in which the subject fills up most of the photograph. We prefer a head and shoulders shot, otherwise in a full body shot, the face is only a very small part of the photograph and when we enlarge it, there just isn’t much detail for us to work with or enhance. The same applies to action or group shots, we may be able to work with them, but they are generally not suitable so you should contact us directly before placing your order for this type of portrait. We also need the subject's face to be completely visible, not partially covered or obscured by shadows. This brings us to lighting, another very important factor in an ideal photo. Too much light can make a subject washed out, too little light will make the image too dark for us to work with. Natural light is best, and using the flash even in daylight can help eliminate shadows, though direct sunlight is usually too harsh and tends to make people squint.
If you are having trouble deciding which photo to use, then send a few, or even a dozen that you really like, and let us decide which would make the best portrait.
It may take some time, but it's worth the time to get the right photo for the project, as the portrait will hang on your wall and be seen by all your friends for years to come!
We can work with images that are less than perfect, but to insure the best portrait your photos should be as good as possible. Below are some additional tips to help you:
If you'll be scanning a photo
First you should probably take a look at the "You are going to take a photo" section, to see what photo(s) would work best for your portrait. If you determine that the photo(s) you have selected would be suitable then continue.
For best results scan your photo(s) at a resolution of 300 dpi or higher. Your scanning software should allow you to specify the size of the scan, it might be under an advanced setting.
If you don't know how to check your resolution, check the file size before you send it. Your file should be a minimum of 1MB, and will likely be larger. The preferred format is PNG, TIF or JPG (with no compression or highest quality).
Once you have your photo(s) scanned in you can send the file(s) via email to us at .
If in doubt, send us the photo via regular mail and we will do the scanning for you. Your original photo will be returned to you with your completed portrait.
If you're taking a photo Photograph your subject, outside, on a bright, but overcast day, or at dusk with a flash. Harsh sunlight tends to deepen shadows and can distort coloring. The flash can add light to your subject’s face and help balance out the shadows.
Focus on the head, and shoulders and try to have the subject fill the frame. Don’t worry about red eye. We can remove that as long as you let us know the color of the subject’s eyes.
Once we receive your photos, if we find that there is not enough detail to work with, we will contact you and let you know so that we can attempt to get suitable photos for your portrait.
Remember, we can only work with what we see in the photos, so the clearer and more focused the photos are, the more detailed your portrait will be. If the photos are blurry or the subject is only a very small part of the photo, then guesswork comes into play and your portrait won’t be as accurate as it could be.
Once you have photos for your portrait, you have a few choices on how to get them to us. You can send them to us via regular mail and let us take care of the scanning and resolution, or you can scan them yourself and email them to us at .
Please set your camera to fine or the highest possible setting. Refer to your cameras manual to find out how to set the quality of your photo. If you use a lower setting then the images will be compressed which will make them more difficult to work with.
Send us the original image that was saved on the camera. Please do not crop or adjust the image before sending it to us, we can make any necessary adjustments ourselves. If you edit the photo, it might compromise the detail or quality of the image.
To determine if your photo is of enough quality, check the file size, it should be a minimum of 1MB, and will likely be larger.
Once you have a photos for your portrait, you can email them to us at .