A Look Inside A Painted Portrait | Raleigh Portrait Photographer

November 20, 2017  •  1 Comment

At the beginning of the year, I created several resolutions to bring more unique and beautiful photographic art to my clients.  One of those resolutions was to start using and understanding a painting program called Corel Painter.  Corel is a bit different and more specialized than Photoshop.  It is basically a complete digital painter’s palette at your fingertips, opening up a number of creative possibilities.  I had never thought of myself as a painter of anything but light.  However, my inspiration has turned more and more to classical portrait artists and painting my own portraits is a natural progression.  As it turned out, the very first image I painted received a second place at the Professional Photographers of North Carolina’s print competition in the children’s portrait category.  

Because these custom painted portraits will be available to both newborn photography clients and children’s portrait clients in the very near future, I thought it might be a good idea to show you the detail and work that goes into a few of these paintings.  Painted portraits are both unique (because they’re custom designed and painted just for you) and classic (because who doesn’t love a gorgeous painted portrait) pieces of art to display in your home.  This week, I was looking at a photograph I had taken earlier in the year to showcase a new gown in Aurora D Photography’s extensive children’s wardrobe and found this image that I felt would be the perfect painting.


So, let’s break it down.  One of my favorite things to work on with paintings is hair.  This painting was created from a couple of images put together, hair-wise, because the primary image didn’t quite have the look I wanted (hair tucked back behind her ear), and of course, a few little flourishes were added.  I accented the little triangle of light on her cheek here as well, because those little highlights make all the difference in a painted image.


This image was an exercise in creating the correct background.  Originally, the image had a very light neutral background, nearly the color of her dress, but it looked like a picture cut out and placed on top of a paler background.  So, when I was nearly done, I tore the entire thing apart and went for a darker toned background based on the color of the shadows on her skin.



This gown is gorgeous – a children’s gown from Sew Trendy Accessories that is all ruffles and tulle.  One thing I particularly love about this dress is the satin ribbon look to the bodice and I wanted to keep a bit of that look here, but get a little more abstract in the dress than in the face and hands. 


Speaking of hands…  I find hands are the most difficult part to get right, but I’m finally getting the hang of it. I usually take out all the detail – my first draft is a collection of smudges – and then bring the details in as I like them. 

It’s coming along, and getting easier every time.  I’m looking forward to creating many more of these fabulous painted portraits and to bring them to you in 2018.  Contact us and book your custom couture portrait session with Aurora D Photography now.



Richard Senator(non-registered)
This is a wonderfully unique picture portrait of my grand daughter, Vivian! The color, softness, the warmth is so great.
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