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5 Tips for Helping You Help Me
the cheat sheet

#1 cropping
- Crop your photo so that the entire top of the head is visible. It may be cropped later, but it’s better to start with more. Or if your photo needs the full torso, crop your picture below the waist line to give me some room to play with.

#2 props
- If you want to use props, make sure they're visible.
- Make sure props are easily identified and recognizable. Using things with small, intricate details, or something not easily identified won't show up well in the painting. Buttons, logos, jewelry, small letters - not so good.
- Make sure the color of your props and clothing work well together.

#3 lighting
- Use strong single-directional lighting from a bright lamp or bright, natural light such as a window - preferably from the side, in order to create shadows and give the picture contrast.
- Don’t use a flash. It eliminates good shadows by flattening out the image while creating strange shadows in the wrong places.
- Lighting from above is preferable to lighting from below in order to avoid unnatural, flashlight-under-the-chin shadows, unless that's what you want.

#4 background
- I suggest simple backgrounds that work with the colors of the props and clothing of the model.
- If your background is lighter than the foreground, make sure the model is well lit. To avoid backlit photos, use a second light source. Don’t use a flash.
- If something in the background is important to the concept and image, make sure it's visible and distinguishable.

#5 file size
- A larger file size is preferable to a tiny one, but I don’t need the full-size version from your 12 mega-pixel camera. If you can't send it easily by email, it's too big. JPGs work fine.
- Typically, a digital camera is preferable to a cell phone, because the quality is usually better (though the new iPhones can take some pretty nice pics).
- I may need to crop and enlarge the photo, so we’re trying to ensure that I have the best quality image to work with.

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26 weeks (in progress) | oil on panel | nick nichols | painting
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