Custom Portrait Instructions

Thank you for ordering custom portraits. Here you will find more detailed instructions for getting started on your portraits. Once you read through these instructions, head over to the Custom Portrait Form or for pets, the Custom Pet Portrait Form.


Selecting Photos

Please send photographs as soon as possible after you place your order. I will not be able to start working on them before I receive them. The photos don't have to be perfect, but good enough for me to easily paint from. I often have customers send me links to their Instagram accounts for further photos.

  • Your photos should be clear and well-lit. 2-4 photos of each person usually works great. Seeing multiple photos of each "model" makes it really helpful to capture each person.

  • Be sure that the photos are close enough so facial features are easily seen. My portraits are front facing, so please try to send photos that are frontal and not profile or turned 3/4.

  • You can send additional photos of particular clothing or other details if they are not already included in the first few you send (see below for more details on clothing, etc.). 

  • Often photos from your phone are just fine as long as they are clear and well-lit.

  • Jpegs are preferred.


Background Color

My signature background color choice is a soft aqua blue color. This color works great for a variety of hair colors and skin tones. If you would like a different background color, please let me know. You can send a Pantone color and I will do my best to match it (computer monitors may show color differently). I also paint a simple wallpaper pattern in the background. Please note if you would prefer no pattern.


Hair, Clothing and Accessories

  • Hair: If your hair style or color differ drastically between photos, please let me know which photo shows the style or color you prefer.

  • Clothing: Specify the clothing preferences. You can either send a photo of the person in the outfit, a photo of the outfit laid out flat or images from an online catalog. 

  • Accessories: I can add a hair clip, hat, brooch or other small detail to your portrait. Please send an additional photo or link to image if you would like one added. 


Eye  Color

The nature of painting from photos makes it easy to capture your features, but it can be harder to discern your eye color. Please note the eye color of each subject. 


Names, Writing and Traits

  • Names: Tell me the name of each person. I write your names on the back of each painting, as well as sign and date it. Let me know if you would like me to add your last name as well.

  • Writing: I can write a short quote, your wedding or anniversary date below your name.

  • Traits: Please let me know a little bit about the people or pets. Even just a sentence about them helps.


Options for sending photos

  • Send photos via Google Drive (create a folder and share it with me)

  • Email them to me at francesmarin(at)

  • Dropbox - let me know if you want to use this method and I will create a folder for you to upload to

  • Jpegs are preferred


Pet Portraits

The most important additional consideration for pets is photos of markings or characteristics that will be visible in the portrait painting (chest marking, a spot, etc.). Otherwise, generally follow the instructions above. 


More questions? Just ask me here.