Although my style isn't one of extreme realism, I do my up-most to capture the essence, soul, heart and emotion of the person. I am becoming known for unusual use of colour in some of my portrait work, this I believe helps me to capture that something extra, along with giving my work a uniqueness to others. 
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There is nothing more special and unique than to have yours or a loved one captured in a painting...
My style:
Where possible I will need a good clear photographs of the person. A few to choose from will give me a better understanding of the subject. And of course the larger and better quality the photo, the more accurately I can capture when I paint.
I will where needed, use artistic license to rearrange elements of the original photo, maybe just tilt a head to make for a more pleasant outcome. We have to remember, what works on a photo doesn't always work in a painting and vice versa. . All of this will of course be worked on with your approval. My ultimate goal is that you are happy with your painting.
I never embark on a commissioned portrait without first working on numerous pencil sketches of the subject, including small studies of their features. I find this one of the most important stages, helping me to get closer to the person I am portraying in my work, as well as gaining the likeness. Next I move onto colour swatches, then rough painted sketches, before starting on the final painting. All this enables me to capture so much more than just an image on paper, which for me is the whole purpose of a painting, rather than opting for a photograph.
The photo:
Commissioning a portrait
You have decided to have a portrait painted, so where to begin. First you need to make sure the artist you choose not only takes on commissions, but also one of who's style you like. Most Artists style develops over many years of hard work and hours of practicing. If you are thinking of asking me to take on your commission, then I assume it's because you like my style of work. Please don't ask me to paint in someone else's style. There are lots of artists our there to choose form, choose what's right for you.o
When taking a photo of the subject always try to be on the same level as them, especially if they are young children or animals. The wonderful world of digital allows us the freedom of clicking away without worry of cost and proccessing.
The Portrait:
Photography Tips:
Try to focus as much on the eyes. Zoom lenses are wonderful for catching that lovely close up without having to be so close with the camera. But be careful you will need a steady hand and good lighting if they are on the move. 
When I'm photographing my grandchildren, you will often find me sitting on the floor in the same room, giving them time to forget I have my camera in hand hand. Watching while they play, waiting for those moments of stillness when their minds are perhaps concentrating on what they are exploring, or that glance around the room when they look up. You will often get more reactions if you have planned a different activity. The more time you spend the more natural the photo will be.