Paintings are a beautiful form of art. They are a mixture of compositions, colors, and subject matter, that work harmoniously to deliver a unified and well-executed artwork that is pleasant to the viewer. They can also make for a really good, personalized gift. But how to select the best pictures to paint? Don’t worry, we’re here for your rescue. Keep reading!

Choose your photographs carefully to get the best results when you turn pictures into painting. Your ability to select the right photos will decide the end result. At first, you’ll still be lost. When you suddenly fancy the idea of turning your photo into a picture, your mind will race quickly trying to select the best image.

Select Best Pictures to Paint

Select Best Pictures to Paint

Select Best Pictures to Paint

Decide first on a theme you want to use. This will allow you to narrow down the number of photos you need to plow through. Some of the common themes include pet portraits, family portraits, portraits of children, house portraits, portraits of casual moments, and so on. If you have agreed on the theme, put away the pictures that belong to the theme you have selected.

Keep these points in mind, while shortlisting pictures to paint:

1. High-Resolution or Good Quality Picture

The picture you select should be of very good quality. No grainy texture, clear features, and details, so that they can be painted easily. If you select a low-quality picture to paint, the artist would not be able to convert it into a painting.

2. Good color composition and depth

Good color composition and depth

Good color composition and depth

In photos, the colors can look different. Be conscious. Compare them with actual, real life. If you want a picture that looks real then you may want a picture that looks closest to real life. Just compare colors and be mindful of camera exaggerations, while selecting a picture to paint. If you can’t get a real-life reference, get a real-like reference!

3. Avoid extreme contrast

Photographs may exhibit extreme contrast. Whites are bleached white, and dark ones are black in pitch. We don’t see the world this way in real life. Be conscious again, and decide what kind of painting you want to make. If you want a scene that looks realistic then you need the shadows to shine and the highlights to dim. A low contrast picture to paint would show you all the details in the dark as well as the luminous areas and would allow you to pick how dark or luminous to go with paint.

4. Look out for any distortions

Photographs can be blurred quite a lot. Camera lenses can do funny things which we sometimes do not immediately note. Weird angles and the effects of fisheye can really make an image look strange (or great). A fuzzy or grainy background can look good in a picture but in your painting, it doesn’t leave you much choice. Be aware of these contradictions and either delete them or build on them, in a picture to paint, as you wish.

5. No flash photography

For portraiture (but possibly also for other topics), produce images with shading and depth, or in short, a strong variety of values. Not using flash. With some intense lighting and smooth and soft skin, with very little shading, a portrait picture could look amazing. But it is not such a good idea for a drawn picture unless you want to learn to pop art and cartoons. Flash photography pictures to paint often have too much or too little contrast. Their exposure is too high and the images don’t have any depth. Also, the original colors may not be captured properly, and there can be some distortions due to the flash: red-eye, sheen, glare, etc. These would not make for a good picture to paint.

6. Proper lighting

Proper lighting

Proper lighting

Choose a picture to paint, that was clicked in very good lighting. The colors should look close to the actual subjects, the photos, features, and details should be clear. Natural lighting accounts for some really beautiful pictures to paint. But if natural lighting is not possible, get the light settings to replicate natural lighting.

Very poor lighting may result in a fuzzy or grainy texture, and very bright lighting may result in a flat image, with no shadows to contrast against the highlights.

7. Crop your pictures

You may consider cropping a picture to paint if there is something/someone in the background that is not desirable in your painting. Cropping is one of the most fundamental methods of photo editing, which is performed to eliminate an unwanted object or unnecessary noise from a photograph ‘s edge, to change its aspect ratio, or to enhance the overall composition. Try using editing software for that (like Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, etc.), to maintain image quality, aspect ratio, etc.

8. Color correction

Don’t try this if you don’t have any experience with photography or photo-editing. You can use editing software like Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, etc., to color correct your picture to paint. On a canvas or in a sketchbook as well as on the computer you can start working on your painting. On the computer you can do a lot of preparation: cut, draw, paste, adjust colors, adjust backgrounds, add and overlay additional images, change the color of the sun, intensify or lighten shadows and high lights. You can change an image creatively until it is closer to what you want to do in your drawing. You can either make it look natural or if you have an artistic edge, you can make it look very fun and artistic.

9. Grayscale, or monotone

Pet Memories: Charcoal Pet Portrait from Photo

Charcoal Pet Portrait from Photo

A monotone/monochromatic picture or a grayscale picture can account for a really beautiful painting. They look edgy, artistic, and really classy. It can add a retro spin, on your painting. Also, there is no hassle of color correction or anything. But just make sure the shadows and the highlights look appropriate in the picture. This would make a huge difference, so keep the lighting in mind.

10. Focus on people/subjects, not background

The focus should be on the subjects to be painted. Try to get a picture to paint, where there are no distractions in the background. You may get a normal picture and tell the artist to remove those elements from the background. But again, the quality, resolution, colors, lighting, etc. of the picture should be on fleek.

Try to get pictures with fewer people, and not an entire group. In group pictures, the pictures are not close-ups, or portraits, thus, leaving out details.

11. Appropriate/ Best Poses

Best Poses

Best Poses

If you have a bunch of pictures to paint, choose the most graceful pose. This is very important because this painting has to look great. The person receiving the painting should look their best in the painting.

You may consider taking your pictures to paint intentionally, if required, to get a suitable picture to paint. Don’t just pick and go and paint a pretty holiday pic. Plan it out beforehand. You may get an idea in my mind for a painting, and then go ahead and schedule a photoshoot. Don’t pick snapshots from a picture shoebox at random. First, think about your painting and also try out some different perspectives and positions. It is not just a pretty holiday snapshot: get it printed and hang it on the wall or stick it in a folder. A painting has different requirements and pre-requisites.

12. Decent Equipment

The camera/ device that the pictures to paint are clicked on should also have a good image resolution. Using a decent phone, a decent computer monitor, and good editing tools to get a head start on yourself. For example, having high-resolution photos with a good depth of color would make all the difference if you want to paint realistic portraits. Invest in a DSLR camera and a good display for your computer. Always prefer a digital camera or DSLR picture to paint, as photographers know a lot about colors, contrasts, lighting, angles, etc., and these photos have really well-defined details.

Do not print out and work from these images. Never. Ever. A very good computer monitor is to do some work and save. A monitor can display many more colors and values than a printer would ever have made. Printed photographs are flatter, blander, and contain so much less detail than a digital image.

This would get you a great picture to paint.\


Find what you want to paint, where to crop your image, what to take out, what to concentrate on, what to like, what is less important, what to do with this picture.

Keep all of these points in mind, while selecting a picture to paint. The subjects in the picture should look their best and the artist should be able to capture all details properly, resulting in a beautiful piece of artwork. Before sending your photos to us, please check the correct format in which the images should be submitted.

We, at Book My Painting, would love to help you out, with this amazing gifting solution!

Just visit BookMyPainting, and get in touch with us! We make artwork in various mediums such as charcoal sketch, pencil sketch, colored pencil sketch, oil painting, watercolor, acrylic painting, mixed media art, etc. The painting can be customized in terms of size, and other attributes, according to your personal preferences. Just get in touch with us, send us a picture to paint, give us the specifications for the painting, and after a few days, voilà! You’ll have a beautiful painting delivered to your doorstep.

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