How to commission a portrait

Copy of a William-Adolphe Bouguereau portrait
Portrait of an officer
Portrait of a Royal Engineer

Commissioning a portrait involves a lot of things to think about before any paint is applied to the canvas! When working on a portrait commission, I will usually discuss with you at length the kind of composition you are after before I come to visit you. This can be done over the phone or email, but I would say that email is perhaps more useful as when setting everything down in writing, it rather focuses the mind!

I will often send samples of other portraits in various poses and in different lighting, so that I can really get a feel for the kind of painting you’d like. When we have a good idea of where we’re going, I will visit you at home in order to take a good selection of photographs. This will usually take an hour or two.

Commissioned portrait

I don’t usually paint from life as I’ve found most people are just too busy to give the necessary hours (days!) to the project. Using photos also enables me to send you the poses I think work best, from which you can choose your favourite. And, if you prefer your hair in one, and your pose in another – we can make that work too!

Once I start work on your commission, I can send you work in progress, or save the reveal until I am finished – it’s entirely up to you. Once dry, I give the painting a coat of exhibition varnish for protection. If you are nearby, I am happy to visit you after six months to give the painting a permanent coat of varnish.

Where taking my own photos is not possible, I will try my very best to produce a beautiful painting for you, but I’m afraid that if your photographic reference isn’t of a high enough quality, I won’t be able to take on the work. But please do drop me a line, I will always help if I can.


My costs are based on the size of the canvas you decide upon. If a portrait of more than one person is required, I will supply a price upon request. Click here for my price list.