Become A Part Of The Portrait Project - Photographing Portraits for Art

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The Portrait Project has really taken off! I am so grateful for everyone who has supported it in any way. Thank you! Since day one, I’ve been getting many inquiries about how to be involved in this project, so I’ve created this guide to help us all out! Afterall, I can’t paint portraits if I don’t have people to paint! And I want to paint you!


It’s very simple, take a photograph following this guide, submit it via the form on my projects page at SarahCroft.com/Projects, your photo will come right to me, I will send you an email if I choose to paint it, and viola! You have a portrait!! Exciting, right? I think so!

Please note that although I would love to paint every single photo that is submitted, for style consistency in my work, I will only be selecting certain photos that fit the style and essence of the project. If your photo is chosen, I will send you an email the day I begin working on it. The painting will be posted to this blog for you to see upon completion.

-You must submit your own photos! This is so important, so please be honest. If a professional photographer shot them and you don’t hold all copyrights, I cannot paint them. Please read “Terms and Conditions”. By submitting photos you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

If Your Portrait Is Painted: After I complete your portrait and post it to my blog, you then have the option to buy! All portraits will be painted 1 face/portrait per painting, 8x8in. with premium quality oil paints on Arches Oil Paper. (By submitting photos, you are not obligated to purchase the finished project if I choose to paint, but this could mean that your portrait sells to another buyer.)

Pricing: 1 Portrait $250 | 2+ Portraits $220 each | 4+ Portraits $175 each



As much as I love selfies, please have a friend take photos for you. Or set a timer and stand far away enough from the camera. I think this goes without saying, but make sure your photograph is a portrait of you or your child's human face. No pets for this project. Sorry!


Only high quality photos will be accepted. Photographs should be taken with an SLR or DSLR camera. If you don’t own one or have access to one *some* point and shoot cameras, including phones with cameras will work (ie. iPhone 4S or newer.)


Option A.) Photograph inside near a large window, and make sure that the light is only coming from that window. Turn off all lights inside and close curtains on any other windows besides the one you are using (even ones across the room.) Only photograph from 45 minutes after sunrise until 45 minutes before sunset.

Option B.) Photograph outside. If you choose to shoot outside, be careful of bright, overhead light. Usually this type of poor lighting happens around noon. If the nose and eyes have deep shadows underneath them, wait until the sun begins to fall a little more.

Tip! Most photography guides say that “soft light” is the very best! I agree, but I also love a great contrasting light in my portraits. Between outside and a window, you can get that type of light any time of the “day.” If you photograph a good shadowy/highlighted portrait--it’s likely I’ll be painting your submission.

Examples: The images below are examples of great portraits! Although, there are hundreds of different poses, expressions, lighting situations, etc. that can make a beautiful portraits. See what you come up with! These guides apply when photographing anyone at any age. Not just my beautiful  friends.



Any position is great so long as the majority of your face is in the light. Ultimately, It’s up to you!

Just make sure your whole head is in the shot, a little room above, and about midway down your upper arm.

Tip! Whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors, be aware of "strange" shadows on your face that may be caused by blinds, leaves of a tree or anything else. They shouldn't be there.



Don’t show your teeth! A soft smile is always best for paintings of portraits. (However, naturally parted lips show character, and sometimes I love to paint a portrait with naturally parted lips.)

Important! Please don’t wear heavy makeup, especially on the eyes. Any under the eye eye-liner or strong “cat-like” eye-liner I steer clear of when selecting photos to paint. Mascara is a yes, but go bare or light for any other. Also, lipstick is great, as is a hint of blush, but it’s not necessary.

Tip! Watch this great video on “squinching” your eyes! I wouldn’t recommend this look for children, I love to paint their big, bright eyes full of expression, but it is helpful for adults who might feel like a “deer in the headlights” in front of the camera.

Examples: The images below are examples of great photos (Left) and poor photos (Right.) Although the examples show mostly side profile views, this applies to frontal views (like the top right) as well.



-Do not crop your images! I want to see the whole picture, and it allows me to crop images for paintings with consistency. Also, please do not edit your photos in any way.

-If you have multiple photos to submit, please submit them separately. That way it is easier to communicate which one will be painted if it is chosen.

-Please do not submit more that 4 photos per person that is photographed. Choose the best! (If you are submitting photos of your children, just 4 per child will do.)

IMPORTANT! -I'm mentioning this again because it's so important. You must submit your own photos! This is so important, so please be honest. If a professional photographer shot them and you don’t hold all copyrights, I cannot paint them. Please read “Terms and Conditions”. By submitting photos you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

-Files should be original or large size and submitted as a Jpeg, or TIFF.

Click here, enter your information, upload your photos, and you’re done! I am so excited to see what great images you submit!

I can't wait to paint you! If you have questions, please contact me. Thanks for being a part of The Portrait Project!

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For more reading on this subject, see this post about capturing great photo reference for paintings!



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