A true portrait, no matter how attractively it may present its subject's exterior, will always look past that outer layer. As is the case with all art, a portrait is original, honest and revelatory -- it captures something far beyond a mere "pleasant likeness." A portrait is fundamentally collaborative -- both the visual artist and the subject bring their personal truths and feelings, their energy and caring, their commitment and courage, to the process. Done well, portrait art is enduring, intrinsically worthy and is simply unforgettable. It's never a matter of how many "looks" or how long the session. In respect to cost, the challenge of fine portraiture transcends all of those ordinary and quantifiable factors.
With this in mind, it's obvious that any "by the numbers" pricing policy for portrait art is both inappropriate and counterproductive. A comprehensive pre-shoot session is essential, and the shoot itself needs to enjoy a goal-orientated and open-ended character. The finishing stage, using Photoshop CC corrections and retouching, along with a wide variety of Photoshop, NIK and Corel X filters and effects, as well as other creative plug-ins, also provides a sense of unlimited possibilities. All of these steps must be entirely personalized to reflect the goals and personality of the subject -- and never be governed by some artificial and mechanical job specifications.
So, a portrait is necessarily a custom-quote kind of critter. To find some sense of the parameters, keep in mind that a pre-shoot session is going to be at least an hour; the shoot itself is likely to run at least three hours; and the finishing stages will take a good ten hours of the artist's work. None of this is routine or general or simple; art just does not happen that way. A portrait created by Bill Shippey is personal fine-art at the highest level - something inherently worth having - and for always. Figure a portrait package to be priced from $600 up -- maternity and children somewhat less.