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Things You Should Know to Hire a Portrait Artist

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Commissioning a custom portrait seems daunting. It can be a big investment, both financially and emotionally, so you need to find the right portrait artist to translate your vision into the perfect piece. To do so, you should consider things like the artist’s rate, medium, experience, technique, and process. Only when you find someone that fits your budget, requirements, and style can you truly find the best one to collaborate with among a sea of freelance portrait artists.

What to Look For in a Portrait Artist

Portrait art isn’t a quick art project that can be done in just a few hours. It requires time and experience, plus good rapport between the artist and their client. Here are some things to consider before hiring a professional portrait artist:


You’ll find portrait artists with varying levels of experience, from amateurs to established virtuosos. If you are working on a limited budget, you can find a novice portrait artist who can deliver for as low as $50. If you want prominence tacked onto the artwork or have no spending limit, then you can splurge on a professional who has established his or her name in the industry. For everyone else, you’ll want to hire someone who has at least some level of experience–preferably a portrait artist with a robust portfolio.


Contrary to popular belief, portrait art isn’t exclusively the kind of paintings you’d see in aristocratic Europe. Nowadays, portrait art can be done through various mediums and interpreted in different styles. Consider how a portrait artist translates their style into their pieces and find the person whose approach fits how you imagine the final artwork.


Portrait art doesn’t just mimic the image and likeness of a subject—it captures their essence. To ensure that that comes through in the piece, you have to be able to collaborate openly with your artist. Find someone who you have a good rapport with—an artist you can work with effectively and comfortably.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Portrait Artist

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential hires, ask them these questions to help you find out if they’re the right person for the job:

What Are Your Rates?

How much should I pay an artist for a portrait?” is a frequently asked question—one that can only be answered by the specific artist you’re eyeing, as these rates can differ greatly. It can be helpful to set a budget and see if your portrait artist can work within it.

What Is Your Preferred Medium?

Portrait art can be done through many methods—pencil, pastels, oil, acrylic, and digital work. Know the difference in output and price for each of these, then ask your artist which one they prefer to use.

How Long Does It Take You to Complete a Portrait?

Some portrait artists can work on a tight timeline, but most require at least a day or two to finish a simple piece. The larger and more complex the artwork, the more time it will take. Ask your artist how long it takes them to complete a portrait–especially if you need it for a specific date.

Do You Allow Edits?

Artists that charge from $1,000 and higher usually allow edits for the work that they do. Revisions are often limited for some artists, but for higher-priced work, you may be able to get an unlimited number. More expensive artists sometimes offer a satisfaction guarantee.

What Do You Need From Me?

Portrait art can be done using either a photo—sent by the client or taken by the artist—or a live session. Whatever the case, your artist will need some material for you, and it’s best to ask them beforehand to be prepared.

Where to Hire a Portrait Artist

In the past, the primary way to hire portrait artists was through word-of-mouth, referrals, or artist directories, museums, and galleries. Now, thanks to freelance market websites such as Guru, you can easily and conveniently find great portrait artists within your budget.

Find the Best Portrait Artist on Guru

Taking all these details into account, you’re now ready to search, vet, and employ the best portrait artist to capture your persona in a unique piece of art. Use Guru to choose from thousands of portrait artists, making a choice based on your budget and preferences with just a few clicks!

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