1. Lighting: Lighting is key! the best photos for painting have a great dramatic lighting. This illuminates all of those little details that make a person unique and makes it that much easier for the artist to capture their essence.
This! - clear lighting that creates shadows and highlights is the goal.
Not this! - the details of the individual are lost in the high exposure. The same rule applies for low lighting.
2. Size: The smaller the canvas, the bigger the close-up. If you’re paying to have a painting done of someone you want to make sure they’re recognizable. Though I have some pretty fine brushes, if you ask me to paint a full body or distanced photo of someone on an 11”x14” surface, there will be a good deal of details lost in translation.
Not hating on my man Georges Seurat, but if you’re wanting to know who’s who in a painting, make sure I can fit in the details
3. Color: Think about what the subject(s) are wearing and what colors are around them. While I can edit to some degree, it’d be worthwhile to think through this on the front end when narrowing down what image to use. Keep in mind black and white is always a good option too for when everything but the colors is perfect for your work of art.
Simplicity of color and composition in your surroundings makes for a much cleaner picture. We don’t need to see or be editing out every stuffed animal that your great aunt bessie has sent y’all over the years.