When commissioning a custom portrait, it can be difficult to know exactly what to expect. Commissioning family portraits or other artistic works does not follow the same protocol as making a regular purchase. The process of commissioning a custom portrait is emotional, exciting, nerve-wracking, and exhilarating. When commissioning a custom portrait, you are helping to create a precious family heirloom that will last for generations to come.
Custom portraits are priceless, so you want to have a positive experience – from the first inquiry to the final unveiling. It is good practice to understand what to expect from the portrait artist you choose before starting the process. Below is an outline of what you can expect when you hire a professional custom portrait artist.
(Please keep in mind that you should not expect these things from “paintings from photo” websites).
Expect Your Portrait Artist to Understand Your Vision
To me, the purpose of a portrait is not to simply copy the shapes and lines of a picture, but instead to capture the essence and energy of the people you love. It is important that you choose a portrait artist who will take the time to talk to you about your project and the people in it. In order to fully capture the expression of the subject, your portrait artist should take the time to understand the story behind the image. She should grasp the reason it holds so much significance, and the feeling and energy it should express. Your portrait artist should dedicate a specific amount of time to truly understanding your vision, and how her artistic style will help to tell that story.
Be Prepared to Make a Deposit Up Front
Each and every portrait takes hours of passion and devotion. Because of this, it is important that your portrait artist know you are invested before beginning the work. Every portrait artist will have their own pricing structure, however, most will take a deposit up front and a deposit upon completion and acceptance of the work. If you decide to change your mind, most artists will keep all or a portion of the deposit, depending on how much time has been invested into the piece.