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Pet portraits and animal art gifts. Self-taught artist based in Scotland.

Choosing suitable pet portrait photographs.

This blog will hopefully help you in choosing the best possible photograph for your pet portrait and allow me to portray a true likeness of your pet, which means a lot to me. Please note, if you have a photograph taken by a professional photographer, I will require permission before using as a reference photo.

Don’t worry – you do not necessarily need a professional photographer, nor have special photography skills! However, it is important to consider these pointers to help me gain a true likeness of your pet. The less clear the reference photo I have, the less details I can see, meaning vital features that portray your pets personality could be missed.

Quality – pixels / resolution. High resolution photographs are of better quality as there are more pixels per inch, which is very helpful when I zoom into the image to see greater detail without out a ‘pixelated effect.’

Sharpness – there is nothing worse than a blurry, out-of-focus image especially when it is as beautifully composed as the ones below! The sharper and clearer the image, the more detail I can put into your drawing.

Lighting – in general, photographs have better lighting when taken outside in natural light. Avoid using the flash as this can sometimes create a glare in the animals eyes or an over-exposed photo. Remember to take into consideration the position of the sun to prevent glare or shadows.

Eye-level – many artists believe an image should be eye-level. Whilst I agree that this is usually the case there are exceptions to the rule as shown in the middle photograph below. As long as the photo is not ‘flat’ and looks 3D with good light and shading, it can work well. What I have found is that it is more difficult to great a 3D picture with the animal looking directly at the camera.

Likeness – remember I will be mainly going from the one photograph to create your pet portrait so it is important that it is one that portrays your pets personality as much as possible for the best chance of me creating a true likeness. A favourite toy, treat or visiting spot can sometimes help capture those natural, true to character moments.

Horse photograph example

Horse photograph example

Dog photograph example

The beautiful photographs of the Irish cob and miniature dachshund above have perfect lighting showing light and shade as well as detail, and pose perfect in portraying the animal’s character! Whereas the photographs below, although wonderful poses, lack detail. The first image is over-exposed and pixelated. The 2nd and 3rd photos are both blurred and dark even though they have been taken outside.
Horse photograph example

Horse photograph example

Dog photograph example

Sending Photographs – Photographs from social media sites such as Facebook have reduced quality as the images are compressed when uploaded. When sending photographs it is advised to send high resolution images via email or upload to an online storage package such as Dropbox / Google Drive or Flickr.
All in all, it is very unlikely that the perfect photograph will be the first one you take. If in doubt take as many as you and your pet can bare so there are plenty to choose from. When I go on holiday I take thousands of photographs which I narrow down to around 200 to create an album! Can’t choose one photograph, send me them all – I am very happy to advise on what I think would work the best