Tips for Taking a Great Photograph for your Pet Portrait


Do I need a good camera and experience in photography? 

No, you only need a fairly recent smart phone. The camera in the smart phone is amazingly good. I have an iPhone 7 and it works great. The beauty of a smart phone is that you can snap a bunch of photographs and you are bound to get some good ones. Having said that, I don’t need a perfect photograph to paint your portrait. Most important, is that the photo is a good likeness of you pet. If there are things wrong with the photo I can correct them. If your photo has part of an ear missing I can add it back in. Don’t get hung up on the background. That can all be changed. If you have a photo you like but your pet is sitting next to a friend, no problem; I can paint your fur baby leaving out the other parts of the photograph. Below is Bailey, the photograph on the left is the original. The one in the middle is the cropped version and the one on the right is the finished portrait.


Feel free to snap a whole bunch of photographs. I like having extras because they will give a different perspective and often will show details missing from a single photograph. 

Below is Benny. The original photograph is little too dark and his eyes are black pools. I took that photograph and increased the exposure in my computer to get a better look at the detail of his eyes. I also used other photographs for his eye colour. In addition, I had to call the client to confirm that Benny’s eyes are greenish gold. Sometimes the photograph doesn’t get it right. 



Another thing to consider, is take the photo close to your pet's level. This means that you may need to squat down or sit on the ground to take pictures. It is okay to take photographs above your pet, especially from a distance, however, it is best if the subject looks up at you.

If your pet has crossed the Rainbow Bridge you will have to use the photographs you already have. They may not be ideal, but I will do my best to work with them. Below is Fudge. The one on the left is the original photo taken with an older phone and the resolution is not that great, nevertheless, it is great photo despite being a little blurry once enlarged. On the right, is the portrait of a younger version of Fudge. This was my very first dog portrait.


Experiment with different angles in your shots. Fudge is what we call a three quarters profile. This means that his head is slightly turned from the classic profile position so you can see both of his eyes. I love painting these photographs, they make an interesting portrait. What is most important, however, is to choose a photograph that you like.

Take lots of pictures and send me a variety. A great photo will always make a great portrait.