Send me your best photos. The ones that really show the personality and character of your 'loved one'. I will provide design options to help you decide. Great photos tell a story, it may be of love, character or personality. I can work from a photograph, painting or drawing.

How to Select the best Portrait Photos

If you were asked to show a friend just two or three photos that capture the "essence" of your loved one which would you choose ? These are the images that I need for your cameo jewel.

I want to capture in your portrait carving the feeling of pride and recognition that you experience when you see those pictures.

Send more than one photo if at all possible, from a number of angles. The more good images I have, the greater the accuracy of the finished Cameo.

Select the Photos that best show the Spirit and character of your loved-one

Tell me what kind of camera was used to take the photographs. A camera with a 100mm lens will show the face quite accurately, compact cameras often use 28 - 35 mm lenses which distort the image. I can correct for this distortion if I know the settings. Multiple photos are best sent using my Inquiry Form

High resolution and Large file sizes are very welcome. These will be used by the cameo artist to design your personal cameo portrait jewel. The photos are printed to 10 by 8 size to study when carving.

Printed photographs can be scanned and uploaded to my secure server or posted to me, Antique photos can be taken out of their frames for this. I will return the original photograph with the finished cameo.

Hire a Professional Photographer for Superb Photos

Consider using a good professional studio in your area. They are experts in how to get the best images of people.

Please ask your photographer to contact Gareth at Portrait Cameos. I can advise on what format of photo will work best for your cameo portrait.

How to Sculpt the Perfect Likeness into a Gemstone Cameo

My most important aim is to achieve a great likeness. The cameo has to match the portrait photo. However, I actually work on a deeper more advanced level to make a cameo that the recipient will fall in love with.

I study the portrait photos very carefully. I do like to have more than one photo as different angles and looks can help me tease out the details of the profile.

I also work with plaster models that show the structure of a head. An 'ecorche' helps me visualise underlying bones and muscle groups. I also have plaster faces that show age progression. A baby's proportions are very different from an adult. I have learned how age changes the face.

There are also profound differences between male and female faces. Knowledge of anatomy is a vital part of my learning and approach to crafting an accurate portrait sculpture. I have to take the time to check details as I carve. This is where the value is in my fee.

The Portrait Photograph

Less skilled cameo artists will only work from side profile photos. The classic cameo pose. This is the easiest portrait to carve.

My goal is to have the portrait photo that best shows the spirit and character of the person. Does the photo tell a story? An example is how a photo of a father holding his child shows the love between them. Send me as many photos as you want. I can help advise on the best choice for the portrait cameo.

I can work from any portrait photograph taken from any angle as I have learned how to correct for the way that a camera alters a face.

The Camera Lies !

Working from photos can be difficult. An inexperienced artist will accept the photo as perfect and attempt to copy it exactly.

There is barrel distortion caused by the camera lens and angular distortion. Most photos have both issues happening at the same time.

A camera with a 100mm focal length lens that is centered on the face and is not tilted up, down or pointed to the sides will show the face accurately.

Barrel Distortion

There are two types of distortion, the one caused by the camera lens is known as barrel distortion. A lens smaller than a 100mm focal length will make the face rounder than normal. The nose and mouth will be larger than normal and the outside of the head is shrunk inwards. This describes most phones and compact cameras that often use 28 - 35 mm lenses.

A telephoto lens larger than 100mm will distort in the opposite way. I can correct for this distortion if I know the type of camera used for the photograph.

Angular Distortion

When a camera is not centered then you get angular distortion. You can see this best when you see an extreme example. A camera pointing up at a face will make the forehead larger and make the lower half of the face smaller. Pointing down at the face from above has the opposite effect. A camera pointing from the side will introduce perspective issues that change the face.

I have studied these issues in detail and I have learned how to correct for these potential distortions.

How I Capture the 'Spirit' in Each Portrait

My goal is to have the mother feel the love that she has for her child when she looks at my cameo portrait. For this I need to know the personality of the subject of my cameo. I ask questions during the design interview to learn the life story and most importantly their character.

Custom Blue Agate Cameo Pendant in White Gold


Portrait Cameo of Daughter

Blue Agate custom cameo pendant. The setting is in 14kt White Gold.

Young Daughter

A much-loved daughter. This jewel was a gift from the mother to herself.

Girl with Ponytail

I loved carving the ponytail and the heart on her dress.

Cameo of Her Grandchildren


Daugher and her Baby Brother

Photo of her two grandchildren. Evie is 3 and Jude is 9 months old.

Blue Agate Cameo Jewel

Portrait carving of the two grandchildren. Carved into a wedge-wood blue Agate and set in Silver

I absolutely love it. The detail is incredible right down to the flowers on Evie's dress! Their two little noses are identical - just as they are in real life! I am so glad that I found you - this will truly be my most absolutely cherished piece in my collection. I thank you again and again...Linda M. Rhode Island

Sepia Photo of Her Mother

When I was given your cameo, I immediately recognized my mother and burst into tears...What a beautiful Cameo ! It took me around 30 minutes to be able to talk again and I could only manage to say that she was beautiful and now she will be with me forever. Thank you for carving not only a beautiful portrait but also the feeling behind the picture. I will be forever grateful…- by Paloma


Custom Cameo Pendant

The white on Brown cameos look best when the background is polished.

White on Brown Cameo

Brown Agate custom cameo pendant. The setting is in Silver.

Sepia Photo of Mother

This photo naturally suggested a white on brown cameo gemstone
TOP Skip to content