The eye is not a camera, and the hand is not a machine
In my portraits, I strive to depict the subject simply and accurately - accuracy being the feeling of the portrait, not the adherence to reality.
I start with 3-5 photos of the subject which capture who they are - not the fleshy bits, but the person underneath. Their smile, their demeanor, their passions - these are what help me most in a portrait.
Accurate references are important to, so if it's possible to provide me with 5 reference photos of left/right profile, left/right 3/4 view, and front view.
For simple works, I make it without sketching - but for complex works, I'll produce 3 concept sketches, and you choose 1 and give feedback. I then create the sculpture based on the concept sketch.
Payment schedule is as follows:
Drawing deposit - $100 per portrait - 1 week/subject
Sculpting phase 1 - 1/2 of total payment due - work time 1-2 weeks
Sculpture complete - remainder of payment due (with drawing deposit applied as a credit).