First off, I am sorry about the quality of the photo. I have seen 8 year olds with shoebox cameras take better photos than I do. For photography questions, ask my wife. She's the brains of the operation, I'm just the trophy husband. I am sure she will do a posting on photographing artwork and cameras at some point in the future.
I am now starting to break down the face into smaller planes and more subtleties. I am working with some medium at this point. Some areas I will leave looser and more textured, while others will be tightened up. When it really comes down to it, the most important thing is how the piece reads visually from about 6 feet away. This is the optimal distance that most people will view works. If you ever see someone looking at a work from an inch away, they are probably an artist.
I have said this before; you cannot paint everything the same way and expect it to read as the proper texture. In my opinion, it is possible to over render something, at which point it can look graphic. You can see how much impasto there is on the collar versus the face. I built up the collar with thick brushstrokes of lead white paint which I let dry. I rubbed raw umber into the cervices then wiped the excess away, giving it a gritty quality and having the brushstrokes read as fur. I call this painting for "effect." This essentially means that I am not copying what I see verbatim, but actually using the various qualities of paint to emulate something. I did a similar thing to the hair. There are really only 2 ways to paint hair. You can render 100,000 of them, or group them together in masses. I hear a lot of people say to think of hair as fabric, but I prefer to think of it as slabs of bacon covering a giant ham.
I will try to upload some decent photos when I get them.