House portraits – what makes a good photo to draw from?

Today I thought I would post something a little different. I have been working on some house portraits in pen and ink lately and usually work from photos. See my online portfolio for examples of completed portraits.
It is extremely important to have good photos to work from, including a single shot from the angle at which the final portrait will show the house, and close-ups of architectural details such as doors, windows, light fixtures, landscaping, etc. I have been able to take the photos myself this time, but often, a client is located elsewhere and has to take photos of the home themselves. 
Some of the tips that I post to my website for taking great photos include the following: 
  • At least one photo should be taken of the front of the building, from an angle away from the garage, so it is not the predominant feature.  If possible, include a small view of the side.
  • Close-up photos are very helpful. If possible, take photos of the front door, windows, any special features of the building, especially if hidden by bushes or trees.  
  • Avoid having the front of the building in deep shadow. Cloudy days are fine if there is enough light. 
  • Utility lines, cars, and people will be removed from the photos unless you request otherwise.  
  • The building(s) on either side of your building will not be included, unless you request otherwise.
Here are some example photos so you can see what I mean:

Great photo!
This shows a three-quarter view (e.g., part of the side) and the front door will be visible in the drawing. The front porch is in a bit of a deep shadow, but a close-up will help resolve that.

Ok photo.

This is workable as it shows the front door clearly, but it is a straight-on view of the front, so the drawing could turn out a bit flat without the side perspective.

Not good.
This view makes the garage the prominent feature and the front door is basically hidden. This would not make a good final drawing.
Close-up details: 

This allows me to include all of the architectural details of the home including the front door, porch, windows, lamps, etc., making the final drawing accurate and personal to the home owner.



A custom house portrait offers a unique way to commemorate a special place. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, holidays and more. Consider ordering a house portrait for someone or yourself today!

NOTE: The holiday season is rapidly approaching. House portraits typically take 3-4 weeks to complete, so my commissions list is nearly full for this year. However, I am happy to offer gift certificates that can be presented at holiday-time with the portrait to be completed after the new year.

Email me at carol @ ccreechstudio . com  with questions or for more details!

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