You’re So picky about photos!
Recently I was told “You’re So picky about photos!” Yes, I am, but I am picky for a very good reason.
Without good photos, you won’t get a good result and I want you to have the very best work I can provide you with.
Below are some examples of the most common problems I come across with reference photos and a little explanation as to why they are difficult for me to use.
Filtered Photos are fun and can make you look super cute, but they can also create a nightmare for me to work with. This is why I specifically ask for unfiltered photos.
Take my sparkly bear ears for example. As adorable as they are, the ears themselves hide my natural hair line, which means that I would have to guess and probably create an overly large forehead.
The fake eyelashes add an instant glam to the photo but makes it impossible to see the natural lines of the eyes. If I get the eye shape wrong then it can throw off the look of the whole face.
This filter even alters the colour of the eyes. My eyes actually have blue, green and brown in them but in this photo they look predominately blue.
How smooth does my skin look? Which is great for hiding those pesky little blemishes, but it also blurs the faces natural lines, sometimes it even smudges the lines around the nose. For me the lines and shading around the nose are the trickiest, if I get the lines wrong you could end up with massive hooter instead of your normal nose. This example even makes it hard to see the shape of my lips because the colour is so close to my skin tone.
Over Exposed Photos
Filtered photos aren’t the only obstacle I come across, over-exposed photos can be just as troublesome.
Looking at my example, you can see that it isn’t filter, but it is so bright that I have completely lost my nose and lets face it, that isn’t even a good look on Voldemort!
Just like with filtered photos, if I can’t see the lines around the nose, I have to guess them.
Over exposed photos also alter the skin tone and often make people look a lot paler than they really are. While I am working on the skin tone, an over exposed photo will alter the underlying colour tone of the skin. Creating a more yellow undertone which can make people look ill.
This photo also provides an example of a really awkward head position. If I was to try and recreate this head position to add to a character body, the outcome would could potentially look like the character has a broken neck. That is definitely not the look we are going for.
The crop of the photo is so close to the face that it is impossible to tell what hairstyle I have or how it falls on the shoulders. This is a small point as I can generally make this up with some details but the more reference I have, the more life like it will look.
Under Exposed Photos (Dark photos)
It is the opposite for underexposed photos, really dark photos can make the skin tone deeper than it actually is. Take this night out selfie with my bestie Nicola for example. This was a really low light situation at an awards night and although its a great memory, its a terrible reference photos.
The shadows across the face are already pretty harsh, showing deeper eye bags for example but by having Nicola in there too, her face adds more shadow.
Her face blocks out the light to the right side of my face which would make it impossible to see any detail in that right eye.
Cropping Larger photos
The reason I ask for single person photos is because cropping out other people not only makes the image smaller, but also the quality.
The background of this photo was much larger and so was cropped down to just us. This in itself creates a whole host of problems. By cropping out the other aspects of the photo, I reduced the quality of it, which is why it looks blurry or as professional call it, pixelated.
The more pixelation there is, the harder it is to see actual details, they just kinda blur and smudge, making it really difficult to determine the small details in the face.
Good Photo Example
After reading this you are probably still thinking “You’re So picky about photos!”
So what kind of photo do you need?
Don’t worry I have added an example for that as well.
This last example is actually taken in my bathroom using the awesome natural light we get in there. The lighting allows me to see the natural highlights on the chub of my cheeks and the shadows around my nose, chin and temples.
By taking the photos straight on, even with the slight tilt of my head, it will allow me to recreate to fit with more body positions while looking disjointed.
Where this photo is cropped is not ideal for me to see the length of the hair, but it does allow me to see how the hairstyle falls over the shoulders so that I can draw it in that style.
All of these photos are just selfies I have taken on my phone at different times and places. I deliberately used these as examples because I want you to see that you don’t have to have professional photos for me to use as reference for your mini me characters. Just well lit, unfiltered, head and shoulders photos of just you.
This is probably a lot of information to take in, so if you need a helping hand taking or choosing photos, get in touch. You can message me or email me with any questions or examples
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