How to Commission a Portrait

So, you would like to commission a painting

…but you’re not sure where to start. Commissioning a portrait can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience and need not be an expensive luxury. It is a collaborative exercise, where you should feel very much involved in the creative process. There are just a few things you should think about first.

choice of poses for portrait commission painting
  • Style: are you going for a relaxed or more traditional pose? Casual or formal clothing?
  • The pose: Full figure, half figure, or head study?
  • Size: Where will you hang the painting? Are you going for impact?
  • The setting: The sitter is often more comfortable posing in their own home. A well considered background can say something about the sitter.
how to commission a portrait

The next step is to get in touch.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t decide yet on the size or pose; I’m happy to advise. A lot depends on how the sitter wants to be portrayed; which face they want to show to the world.
I have a clear pricing structure, with the final price agreed at the start. Prices for a head and shoulders 40 x 50cm portrait, in oil on canvas, start from just £450. Email me at for more information.

Risk free.
The final price is agreed before I start. I only require a small deposit of 20% to secure your commission. This covers the cost of materials.

Satisfaction guaranteed.
I will only ask for final payment when you are happy with the finished painting.

testimonial from a collector who has bought a couple of my paintings

Can you work from photos?
Yes, I can. But, only when the photo is good enough. What looks fine as a photo, won’t necessarily make a good painting – and it’s not just about the resolution. Feel free to get in touch if you’re not sure if a photo is suitable.

two recent portrait commissions with notes about lighting

How many sittings are required?
Ideally, I like to have at least one “in person” sitting, lasting about 3-4 hours. I spend this time working out the best pose, making drawings, and getting to know the sitter. At the end, I will take some reference photos.
I find this session is an important stage in the creative process. The act of looking and drawing will teach me far more about the sitter than a single photo can. I usually get enough material in one sitting to complete the painting. However, I do like to have the option for a second sitting, just in case something doesn’t quite work out when put on canvas

artist and model

Where will the sitting take place? 
I’m happy to travel to a client’s home for a sitting. If outside London, I may have to charge additionally for travelling expenses.

So, you still want to commission a portrait, but now you know what to do.

Find an artist.
Contact an artist.
Discuss what you want.

If you like my work and have any questions about commissioning an artwork, please get in touch at

So, you want to commission a portrait. What next?
Article Name
So, you want to commission a portrait. What next?
British portrait artist guides you through the first steps to take, if you have decided to commission a new artwork from an artist.
Publisher Name
D'Alessandri Fine Art