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Selfie Tips & Tricks

For some ideas on picking out or taking a photo ideal for getting the most out of your portrait commission, check out these simple tips of what to look for and avoid!
1. Avoid backlighting
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2. Avoid uneven lighting and facial obstructions
3. Avoid warm light/ indoor bulbs
Typically, it is better to stay away from the warmly lit and complicated light settings that are common indoors. By photographing yourself near a window with natural light, outdoors, or with a neutral light source, you can ensure a more proper color balance that helps give dimension and prevent "flat" color. We can experiment with different color palettes beyond here. 
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Shooting a Selfie?

If you are taking a new photo of yourself for a reference, here are some other tips of things you can look for. 

You DO NOT need a fancy camera or studio setup! This can be done with your cellphone camera and a flashlight. Try out some of these options:
Try to avoid "flat light" if possible. While this is a nice photo, it won't translate as well into a painting.
  • Avoid using a direct flash. 
  • Don't use a ring light (unless used to light from above)
Adding shadow helps create form

Look for the Triangle! 
This lighting is from above and at a deeper angle, creating a triangle shaped patch of light on one side of the face. Ideally, the whole triangle should stay completely on the cheek, only extending to the inner eye, and not too far below the nose. 

("Butterfly" Lighting)

("Rembrandt" Lighting)
This lighting is from above and creates a small triangle shadow underneath your nose and below your neck. It can be at an angle. Ideally, the shadow beneath your nose should not extend completely to the top of your lip. 

(Butterfly Lighting example)

(Rembrandt Lighting example)
  • Last but not least, make sure the highlights aren't blown! I am bringing special attention to this because the exposure controls on iPhones can easily leave photos overexposed and washed out, so I would recommend slightly underexposing your camera as you shoot.
You can do this (on iPhone) by tapping on the screen in camera mode. A square exposure slider will appear. Drag the slider down slightly and you should achieve better results with your photos. 
Please note, these are not the only lighting options for a paintable portrait! This page is only meant to be a basic guide to a few simple techniques that you can try at home and that work best with my painting style. Have fun and experiment with different ideas! We will work together to find the best option for your commission.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.
I am excited to create a piece of art with you. 

-Erin Nicole Henry
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