What type of photo is good for a pet portrait?
- A photo that is clear, well-lit and in focus.
- For a head and shoulders portrait, a photo that shows the face close up, but doesn’t cut off your pet’s ears.
- For a full body portrait, a photo that clearly shows all of your pet and no cropping of ears, paws or tail.
- A photo that captures your pet’s personality and character.
- A photo that is taken at the same level as your pet (not from looking down or up at your pet, these angles can look distorted).
- A photo taken outdoors in natural light will show the colours of your pet’s coat better.
If you’re taking new photos for a pet portrait painting
- An extra pair of hands might be helpful. Ask a friend to help and have treats on hand for your pet too.
- Consider if you want a portrait of your pet after a trim or for horse portraits do you want a spring/ summer portrait when their coat is smooth and sleek.
- Do you want a pet portrait with your pet’s collar or your horse’s tack, if not, remove these before taking a photo.
- Use a digital camera if you can, rather than your mobile phone or iPad. A digital camera gives a sharper, larger image file to create a portrait from.
- Take 20 – 30 photos of your pet, you’ll have a better selection to choose from then. There are always a few that are out of focus.
- It might be better for you to keep a camera nearby and just take a few photos now and again over a few days, you know how much patience your pet has.
- Don’t worry too much about the background, this usually isn’t in the pet portrait painting.
- Think about the level you photograph your pet from. We usually look down at our pets, this angle can look odd, with your pet’s paws peering out of their head. Therefore, it might be wise to take photos of your pet from their eye level.
- Think about whether you want a portrait of your pet looking at the camera, a side on profile, sitting up or lying down. Maybe try a few different poses to see which you like best.
- Take your photos outdoors in natural light or by a large window. Don’t use flash as this can change colour tones and make a harsh image. Even a stable can be dark, but a headshot over a stable door can look great for your horse portrait.
- Be aware of any dark shadows across your pet’s face as these will hide any facial detail.
- If you’d like a group portrait of your pets, it might be easier to take individual photos of your pets, which I can put together for a group portrait painting.
- Look through the photos you have taken and decide which one you like the most. This is the main photo I will use to create your lovely pet portrait. All the other photos you send will help me with detail and see the personality of your pet.
- If you like the pose of one photograph, but your pet is squinting, don’t worry as long as you have a photo when they’re not squinting, I can combine the two photos, to create a beautiful pet portrait painting.
If you need to use existing photos or actual printed photos for a memorial photo of a beloved pet
A lovely portrait as a reminder of a beloved pet is a wonderful gift, but of course you will have already taken the photos. You might not think you have anything suitable, however, in this instance you can email me several photos and we can discuss the best type of portrait I can create. It’s only by seeing the photos and having a chat that I can see what can be achieved.
If you have actual printed photos, the days before digital, then you can scan these photos and then email them to me. They need to be scanned to 300dpi resolution with either an AdobeRGB or sRGB colour space and then save as a .jpeg. If you’re unable to do this or are unsure, please contact me and I will be able to do this for you.
A joint portrait of pet and family member or the whole family
There is always the option of having a pet portrait with an adult or child, or even the whole family. The choice is up to you. Again, I can work from several individual photos to create a group portrait painting. If you have an idea, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch, let’s make your idea a reality!
Creating the best image with a mobile phone
Mobile phones are not ideal, but I appreciate most people take their photographs with a mobile phone these days. Therefore, I’ve put a few things together that will help,
Firstly bear in mind a mobile image is already a small photo that we’ll be enlarging to create your pet portrait.
So, don’t use a zoom or cropped image, because you’ll make the image even smaller.
Use your mobile camera as close as you can to your pet, so you’re not wasting any space in the photo.
Don’t use any filters, these also affect the quality of image for enlarging.
Don’t use a screen capture image of your mobile photo, this creates a lower grade image, with less sharp detail.
Don’t resize the image, use original size ONLY.
Don’t send Facebook photos, these have been downgraded by Facebook, so they load quickly on the platform. All the fine details are lost.
I hope this information helps with taking and choosing photos for your pet portrait commission. Please enquire if you have any more questions.