This short article (A), gives a rundown of painting times. Including whether utilizing live models, or utilizing photo models.

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Then (B), lists 19 more means photo models are much better than sitting live ones—for the artist and the client (not to point out the sitter).

And finally (C), broadens on just how photo models assist artists and also clients creatively work-related together.

Article Contents

A. How Long Do Portraits Take?

B. 19 More Advantperiods to Using a Photograph Model

C. Using Photos to Collaborate With Your Portraitist


Learning to use photo models rather of live models was a precursors to developing a contemporary multi-media portrait paint process.


Learned typical portraiture in the Missouri Ozarks. Now working here in Beijing. FOLLOW MY OIL-ON-GLASS PROGRESS ON INSTAGRAM (or just wanna share ideas?)…


How Long Do Portraits Take?

It takes 50 hrs to paint an oil portrait.

Multiple layers of paint must dry, so these fifty hrs are spcheck out out over the course of a month—two months if finiburned via coats of varnish.

I’ve recognized various other oil painters to take as few as 10 hrs or as many type of as a 100 hours—all depending upon their method, paint style, etc.

Also, acrylic artists, sketch artists, and watercolorists almost constantly take much less time. My past charcoal and also acrylic portraits never before took much longer than 10 hours.

And, insofar as too much dimensions have an effect: an extremely small painting—1 foot by 1 foot—might take much less than half the time; a really big painting—over 4 feet by 4 feet—might double it.

When Clients Sit as a Model in the Artist’s Studio

Like with a lot of portraitists I’ve met and also spoken to around this, my past clients have necessary to add roughly ten hours of their own time—3 or 4 three-hour sitting sessions.

(And, of course, this likewise varies with tool, style, and size—not to cite, the subject’s patience.)

When Clients Send the Artist Picture Models Instead

But recently the process has actually become much faster—for me and the client.

No even more trips to my studio. And no more sitting in online stcondition and also silence 3 weekends in a row.

But that’s not at all why five years ago I switched to using photograph models.


Portrait paint comobjectives including fire require photography. This client was happy to not sit in my studio with a cigarette in his mouth for ten hours!

19 More Photo-To-Painting Advantages

“Photography is a kind of virtual fact, and it helps if you have the right to produce the illusion of being in an interesting world.”” — Steven Pinker

1. The Photo-To-Painting Process Is Convenient

Every sitting session ends via a sigh of relief once the portrait topic is lastly released from the stool.

Using photos not only saves us both time, however power, also. Make no mistake, portrait modeling can be demanding for some. Holding your posture and also the very same facial expression ceases to be fun after…oh…about the initially hour of an afternoon session.

2. The Use of Photos Make Color Matching Easier

Out of all the various reasons civilization invest in art, decoration seems to be by much the a lot of widespread and basic.

(See the article: “Who Buys Art? HOW TO SELL TO 9 TYPES OF ART LOVERS.”)

And anypoint in any type of photo deserve to have its shade changed to match a client’s residence decor.

Clients simply provide their portraitist shade samples they would certainly prefer used in the portrait. Or photos of the portrait’s intfinished surroundings have the right to be sent out.

Before the artist starts painting, the final portrait’s whole shade scheme have the right to be written and also agreed upon—regardmuch less of intricacy or specificity.


While not my original inspiration behind the use of a greendisplay, an included advantage was an ease of equivalent the final portrait painting’s colors to the client’s decor.

3. The Use of Photos Make Changing the Portrait’s Background Easier

Digital modifying devices likewise allow portraitists to quickly change, delete, or rearea whole backgrounds—this of course contains printed and film photography.

(The ease in which this is done means never having to pay the artist additional.)

4. A Photo-To-Painting Process Makes Oversized Portraits Easier

Oversized paints need oversized easels and also canvases not easily put up alongside a sitting version.

But a portraitist via a photo and also a specially created easel and palette, and so on have the right to paint any kind of size portrait with equal ease.

(Again, this suggests never before having actually to pay the artist extra.)

Oversized portraits need the artist to be constantly stepping much ago ameans for an accurate perspective on an abstract painting’s large forms and also edges.

5. Faster & More Convenient=Lower Prices

The price of an artwork isn’t simply a attributes of the artist’s ability or singular style, however likewise the time it takes to make.

A photo-to-portrait process renders matching colors, accuracy, and modifying backgrounds easier and faster—therefore artists deserve to charge a reduced price.

(See the article: “How Much Today"s Portrait Paintings Cost? & 9 TRENDS TO BEWARE.”)

6. Photo-To-Painting + the Internet = a Planet of Artists

The selection of artists whom we can appreciate is no longer limited by the dimension of your city, state, or country.

Picture subjects also make this also true for commissioned portraits.

Imagine what someone living a hundred years ago would certainly say if they kbrand-new that we here in the twenty-initially century currently have the capacity to shop for and also buy art of any kind of style, any tool, any society.

If a portrait artist isn’t yet utilizing the internet to attach with brand-new patrons (as was my instance simply a year ago), I imagine they all quickly will be.

7. A Photo-To-Painting Process Prompts Innovation

Tradition has handed down to portraitists an entire live design institution of believed.

But in art, it’s once you back up and take an innovative technique to your standard topic and also medium and also tools—that’s once you’re puburned right into new aesthetic area.

Without hundreds of years of convention to guide an artist, invention is required on them at eextremely step.

Not working via live portrait subject models freed me approximately experiment through horizontal—that is, standing up—abstract pour paint methods.

8. Not Everyone Wanting a Portrait Is Mobile

Unfortunately, many kind of of us just can’t quickly take a trip to an art studio.

The portraits I’ve done for elderly and also disabled family members would certainly never before have been possible without photography.

9. Children Don’t Sit Still!

Teenage and adolescent topics typically have no significant problem sitting still for a portrait—yet as the ages decreases, so does the obstacle.

Many portrait artists I’ve met won’t also attempt to paint a design under nine or ten years-old. So, the ones who do paint young children therefore find themselves in the position to charge even more for less. These, unfortunately, amount to expedited functions of less specificity and also creative development.

(See the article: “Commissioning a Child Portrait: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE.”)

Putting oil on glass is the initially step in painting this multi-media abstract portrait; getting this young guy to pose in my studio for ten hours—not required.

10. Babies, Toddlers, & Pets Are Only Possible Via Photography

Babies and puppies strike are afraid right into the heart of all live-model portrait painters.

Let’s simply say, thank the art gods for parental fees with cameras.

11. Old Family Photos

Historically, portraits were a way to keep a likeness for posterity.

This is now reversed.

Now we use photos to reach backwards in order to paint younger versions of a topic.

12. Portraits for Art’s Sake

What renders a beautiful portrait subject?

Sucount we deserve to uncover beautiful, or interesting, or art-worthy subjects for a portrait painting external our circles of friends and family.

Thinking outside the bounds of standard portraiture also opens up new possibilities for clients. Conmomentary portraitists are now being asked to paint not just friends and also household, but heroes, celebrities, mentors, fictional characters, and so on.

A portrait is one more vehicle of imaginative expression.

Who we made a decision to transdevelop with that art speaks to what we take into consideration meaningful.

Accurate rendering is simply a little component of paint any kind of abstract realism portrait.

13. Your Favorite Photos






All have the right to be transformed and also worked into a piece of art.

14. Live Model Performance Art vs Photograph Model Meditation

Concentrating, continuing to be peaceful, and also being free to improvise is simply less complicated when utilizing a photo-to-paint process.

When trying to paint a topic who’s also there in the studio via the artist, there’s constantly a specific element of performance affiliated. Clients come through preconceptions around just how portraits need to be done, and also artists tend to want to satisfy those preconceptions.

100% of the artist’s energy need to be put right into the paint.

15. Tbelow Are No Time Limits With Picture Subjects

Live models, on the various other hand also, all need to eventually rerevolve home.

A widespread complaint among portraitists is that after having actually done the painting’s initial steras, we’re then left on our very own, flying solo. All the artwork’s eactivity, details, and nuance hinge exclusively on our memories.

The photo-to-paint procedure, on the other hand also, is pressure-free. There’s no rushing, and also we can take a break when worn down.

But most importantly, nothing’s preventing our development in the middle of the night once struck through some concept or incentive.

16. Realism Is Made Easier With Picture Subjects

There’s no such thing as a solitary live version.

That is, they are constantly relocating, their image constantly in flux.

So, in impact, each live design actually presents to the portraitist an infinite number of topics. Sitting models existing many type of different facial expressions—periodically major, periodically incredibly subtle.

Only a photo can truly present a solitary image.

The over portrait close-up (from a photo) reveals a mix of realism, impressionism, and also abstractivity paint approaches. This mix is even more and even more obtainable to today’s portrait clients.

(See the article: “What Is Abstract Realism? WHY IT"S THE POPULAR ABSTRACT ART.”)

17. Impressionism Is Made Easier With Picture Subjects

“Impressionism” as in: the artist incorporating their very own feelings on the subject right into the painting of that topic.

It’s incorrectly believed that utilizing traditional live models constantly provides for more impressionistic portraits. That with in-studio interactions, the artist deserve to gain a deeper sense of a subject’s personality. But it can be suggested that this incorporation of feeling happens simply as much, or also even more so, once making use of a photograph.

What might be a surprise to many type of clients is that, when provided the opportunity, portraitists will certainly study a photo for a really lengthy time—commonly days—before making the first brushstroke. The artist will certainly take time to study the photo version while themselves in different locations, in various moods, and in different states of mind.

All of this goes right into influencing—consciously, and also sub-consciously—the style, the details, the impressionism of the final portrait.

18. Photo Editing Can Create Dramatic Lighting

The a lot of dramatic lighting we enrespond to in life is incredibly fleeting. What’s feasible to capture with a video camera is difficult to manufacture—or, at least, preserve lengthy enough to paint—in an artist’s studio via lamps and softboxes.

Chiaroscuro and various other extreme shadows can be digitally applied to any type of boringly lit scene—also in a client’s favorite fifty-year-old photo.

Lighting was digitally included to the client’s photo design before paint this portrait.

19. When the Painter Is Also the Photographer

There aren’t many kind of variations on the conventional sitting pose.

For hundreds of years, models having always been painted from the front—give or take a couple of feet to the left or best. This has actually caused a really homogenous genre.

But if you’re in the position to have actually your portraitist likewise be your photographer…

When artists can take the photos that job-related finest for their paint style, and also paint in a method that functions finest for their photography style, both mediums are boosted. A creative synergy will enhance both the photographic procedure and also the painting process.

The Best Reachild for a Photo-To-Painting Process: Artist-Client Collaboration

“The fun for me in participation is, one, functioning via other human being just makes you smarter; that’s prrange.”” — Lin-Manuel Miranda

Normally, a client’s prerogative exhas a tendency no further than the dimension and also dimensions of the portrait.

But when photography reareas the live version, the client is provided much even more artistic say in the final artwork-related.

Picture Model

Sfinish the artist as many type of as a hundred photos—amazing ones, less-than-exciting ones, both deserve to be beneficial. A day or two later the artist will send ago their opinions. Which ones would certainly make for the nicest functions of art, also as—depending on the artist—the a lot of daring functions of art.

(See the article: “7 Ways to Creative Artistic "Self-Portraits"—VS BORING "SELFIES.”)

Digital Alterations

A big propercent of the whole portrait paint being filled through the subject—a contemporary portraiture trfinish.

Let the artist know if you’d choose any type of background alters, foreground objects removed, or even some world reinserted.

Prominence of Subject

Specify to the artist what propercentage of the whole paint must be filled via the subject, and what proportion have to be filled through background.

Degree of Abstraction

Eextremely painting is abstract to some level, no matter just how accurately portrayed its subject. Some contemporary sensibilities respond to more abstractivity and ambiguity—to the point of being much less a portrait, and more a mosaic of line and also form. On the various other finish of the spectrum, the clients who’d choose an extremely realistic portrait. An picture that doesn’t conquer a room, however rather more subtly shows the personality behind the confront.


Separate from “Degree of Abstraction” is just how a lot motion the portrait exudes. This is most likely going to be yet one more decor-based decision. A portrait written of fewer brushstrokes—calming open negative spaces. Or among smaller sized lines, forms, and colors—constant adjust and motion from border to border.

Color Scheme

Designing roughly decor is always fun for both client and artist.

Integrating into any type of decor’s shade plan is possible—it"s furniture, wall surfaces, various other artworks and their frames.

(See the article: “Still Framing Your Portrait Paintings?”)


That is, exactly how bright the painting is. Almany all babsence, or almost all white, or something in in between. Often overlooked, it’s an important option vis a vis the room’s ambiance.

See more: How Can I Calculate The Percent Water In A Hydrated Salt Niso_4 * 7H_2O?

Needmuch less to say, having all these options—or having actually more than just these options—differ from artist to artist.

The crucial suggest here: clients’ selections are often more than what they would have actually guessed.