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Writing effective prompts is key to getting the most out of AI image generators. A good prompt should clearly communicate what you want the AI to generate while allowing room for creativity.

In this article, I’ll share my top tips and examples for writing better AI prompts. Whether you’re just getting started with AI art or want to improve your prompt engineering skills, you’ll find plenty of actionable advice here.

What Makes a Good Prompt?

Before jumping into examples, let’s review the key elements of effective AI prompts:

  • Clear description – Summarize the content, style, medium, etc. in concise language.
  • Relevant details – Include extra descriptors about lighting, color, framing, etc.
  • Style references – Compare to existing art movements or artists.
  • Evoke emotion – Use emotive words to set the desired mood.

With these basics in mind, let’s look at some prompt recipes for common use cases.

Prompts for Generating Faces

Faces are one of the most complex images for AI to generate. To get good results, your prompts need to provide ample guidance.

Describing Distinctive Facial Features

When generating portraits, call out distinctive physical traits in detail:

A close-up portrait of a elderly man with a large nose, bushy grey eyebrows, and wrinkles around his green eyes

Without explicit instructions, AI will default to generating average and generic faces. The more visual information you include, the more personalized the result will be.

Conveying Emotion and Personality

In addition to physical features, suggest the desired emotional tone or personality through descriptive words:

A senior woman with a friendly smile that reaches her eyes. She radiates warmth and contentment. 

Words like “friendly”, “warmth” and “contentment” tell the AI this person should have an upbeat and cheerful disposition.

Directing Pose and Perspective

It also helps to dictate the pose and framing of an AI-generated portrait:

A 3/4 view bust portrait of a young girl daydreaming as she looks into the distance. Soft lighting.

Specifying “3/4 view bust” frames the face clearly while “looks into the distance” defines the gaze and perspective.

Prompts for Landscapes

AI excels at producing stunning and varied landscapes. Use these prompt ideas to create your own scenic masterpieces.

Blending Styles and Themes

You can direct AI to emulate existing art styles while exploring your own themes:

Oil painting in the style of Van Gogh depicting a lush green alien world with three purple moons

This fuses Van Gogh’s post-impressionist style with an extraterrestrial landscape theme.

Focusing on Details vs. Panoramas

Landscape prompts should clarify whether you want a wide scenic view or a narrow spotlight on details:

A macro photo focusing on a single red and orange autumn leaf with water droplets

Setting Lighting and Atmosphere

Paint the scene by infusing rich sensory and emotive words into your landscape prompt:

A misty evening landscape where the full moon casts a soft glow over gently rolling grassy hills

Prompts for Still Life Subjects

Still life prompts give AI some boundaries to work within while still affording creative freedom.

Directing Arrangements and Compositions

Suggest how you want objects arranged without overly dictating specifics:

A colorfully arranged still life scene featuring various tropical fruits and flowers in a clay vase

This leaves the choice of colors and exact fruit/flower varieties open for AI interpretation.

Specifying Style and Medium

Still life is common subject across art history. Call out the desired artistic style or medium:

A Cubist style still life painting of a bowl of lemons and oranges

Citing “Cubist style” and “painting” sets expectations while keeping the contents open-ended.

Resources for Finding More Prompt Ideas

I’ve only scratched the surface of possible AI prompt recipes here. For more inspiration:

The key is practicing prompt engineering over time. Start simple, be specific, and let your imagination run wild!