Using your own photos for a family portrait by photillustrator

Can I use my own Photos for my Photillustrator Portrait?

It’s fair to say, because of my style of photography, which is commonly called Composite Photography, or what I call Creative Family Portraits, is so different from traditional photography, I get a lot of questions.

Today, I’m going to answer the question, “Can I use my own Photos for my Photillustrator Family Portrait?”

If you’ve read my post called “What is Composite Photography”, you know my Portraits are created using several different images pieced or composited, together to create one spectacular piece of art.

No Instagram filters or iPhone apps here…

To answer your question about using your own photos, the answer is NO!

Now, if you need to know why I can’t use the pics you took with your iPhone, snap-shot, or even professional camera, keep reading.

4 Reasons I can’t use your Photos

With the world of photography as accessible as the phone you have in your hands right now, it’s easy to think the pictures you take could be used for anything.

This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to creating a One-of-a-Kind Family Portrait.

From using a “Professional” quality camera, to the lighting, to the angles each image is taken at, there are MAJOR reasons I can’t even begin to use the photos you’ve taken with your iPhone.


Today, we are all equipped with a camera, but not all cameras are created equal.

Things such as Lens Quality, Sensor Quality, and Megapixels all play major roles in the images we create, and while iPhones and Androids do have great technology, they simply can’t rank alongside the Professional Photographers camera.

For example, the 12mp camera iPhone’s are equipped with can produce up to a 16×20 inch print of acceptable quality, while my 21mp professional camera can produce an image size of up to a 30×45 inch print.

Blowing an image up twice it’s optimal size will result in heavy pixelation and much lower quality.

(On average, most people choose between 50” and 70” Portraits for their walls, so size definitely matters when it comes to camera technology.)


Lighting, and the understanding of light, is what truly separates the amateur, or novice photographer, from the Professional Photographer.

When creating a portrait using only one image, it’s important to have nice lighting that complements your subject, but when creating a Photillustrator Portrait that may use up to 50+ different images, lighting becomes a critical element of the art.

Every image has a light source, and you can’t mix light sources.

Using photos that were taken over several different periods of time and with several different types of light sources, makes it impossible to create a Family Portrait that looks so Awesome.

Having one subject lit from the back, and another lit from the side will result in a Composite that looks BAD and FAKE.


As important as the lighting is when creating a Composite, the Perspective, or angle, you choose to shoot from is equally as important.

In Composite Photography, a defined horizon line must be determined before taking any photos.

Using photos that were taken at different angles makes it impossible to piece your Family Portrait together in a meaningful way that looks Amazing.

If something looks off in a Composite, it quite frequently is because the photographers Perspective is a little off.

And it doesn’t take much.

Each Portrait I make is created with the horizon line in mind so I capture each necessary piece (image) at the right angles.


Lastly, because I consider each Portrait I create a piece of ART, whether it’s for a product, corporation, business, or a family, it’s important each image is my image when possible.

In other words, if you see the Photillustrator name on a Composited Family Portrait, you’re guaranteed it’s original and it’s of the best possible quality I demand.

It Starts with the Photography

While my Photillustrator Family Portraits don’t look like your traditional photo portraits, they all start with the photography.

I frequently tell clients, “My work really begins after the photography is finished.”

The foundation of each Portrait begins with the photography, and the Quality of the image, the Lighting used, and the Angles of each photo all determine the outcome of each piece of art I create.

If only one element is off, it could ruin the entire Composition.

Ok, it’s time to get back to creating AMAZING Portraits.

I hope this answers your question on using your own photos for my Portraits, and as always, if you have any questions, or you’re interested in commissioning me to create a uniquely Different Portrait, don’t hesitate to call me at (214) 945-3226.

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