That is really not a problem as we have done so often in the past. Provided there are good clear photographs (as many as possible) to work with and an idea of complexion, hair colour, eye colour, etc a close likeness may certainly be achieved. Research may be required into any particular uniform details or equipment/ribbons worn, but these are usually quite easy to confirm as the portrait progresses.
Copyright is inherently that of the artist unless the rights are signed over to another party. In all commissioned work the copyright is transferred to the appropriate authority or person. The same applies to any painting or graphic work undertaken on behalf of any client. The resulting original piece of work is their property and the copyright is transferred in all cases also.
The vast majority of design work is done in house. The unique exceptions are when there is a need for 3D scanning and printing, as well as casting in metals such as Pewter and Bronze. We use specialized companies for those services.
Provided the client has an internet connection, we often send photographs at prescribed phases of the design or set up a Skype session where the client can view the design and discuss details in real time. We use Skype a lot!