Photography Specs

All my commissions are created from customer reference photos. Having a great reference photo will ensure a great painting/drawing! Here are some tips for excellent reference photos. If you don’t know which pose of your pet would work the best, I am more than happy to help you choose. Please send multiple photos of your pet, besides the pose shot for the portrait. This will allow me to see more information about the pet, such as accurate color, special markings, etc.

Your reference photo will not be shared on social media, website, etc. without your permission in advance, however my artwork will be shared on my website, social media, etc. If you would not like the artwork to be shared, please let me know in advance. I will wait until you receive the artwork before I share.

Photography Tips

1. Make sure the angle or pose is something you like. Remember you will be looking at the final artwork for years to come.

2. Make sure the lighting is good. It is best to take the photo using natural light, either outside or near a window. Make sure there are no harsh shadows on your pet.

3. On solid colored animals, especially black or white, it is really important to get good contrast and lighting. Make sure the there is a contrast in tones and not just solid black blob, blown out solid white, etc.

4. Make sure your photo is clear and shows lots of details. Out of focus photos are very hard to use since it is hard to tell what the features look like in real life. Good lighting will help. The distance away from the pet when taking the photo should be adjusted if the photo is blurry. If you are using your phone’s camera, zoomed in shots from a distance are usually blurry.

5. Try to get a good shot of the eyes. The pose and lighting of the overall pet is most important. If the eyes are not good, send me a different photo of the eyes and I can usually refer to the better photo of the eyes when making the portrait without a problem.

6. Get a pose that you like but make sure nothing is covering up important features that you wanted painted, unless that item is also to be painted. Be mindful of items that you want edited out and what would replace that area. For example, in the photo below the dog is being held by his owner. If I took the owner out of the photo and made it a solid color, it wouldn’t make sense. If I painted the owner, do you really want an arm in the final photo?

7. Submit several supporting photos so I can get a sense of the actual coloring of the pet. For example, in certain lighting a grey cat might look more like a tabby cat rather than grey. A black dog may appear to be more of a chocolate lab, etc. Having multiple photos will help me create an accurate portrait. You may submit multiple shots of your pet and I can guide you as to which one would be the best for me to use for the portrait. If it is a memorial portrait, and you are limited as to the amount of photos you have, we will work together to figure out what can be done. Be patient with taking the photos. Try on different days, with different lighting and different locations.

In summary, a great photo will ensure a great final painting/ drawing!

Photo Cropping

Photo Cropping:
Please send me the full photo. Once we decide on a pose you like, I will crop the photo to the correct size on my computer based off of what I think will look best and what we have discussed. I will send you the cropped image for approval before I start on the artwork. If you choose to not have a background, it often looks nice to have the image fade out and not extend all the way to the border. If this is your preference, please let me know in advance, otherwise the whole dog shown on the cropped image will be drawn/painted. (Shown in the first photo of the french bulldog.)

Memorial Portrait Photos

Memorial Portrait Photos:
I realize that when creating a memorial pet portrait, photos are limited. We will discuss details like the fur color, eye color, etc. If you are buying it for a gift, try to get as much info as possible. Searching their Facebook photos can be helpful. For example with this black dog, I wasn’t sure if this was a black or brown dog. The client was able to confirm it was a black dog and send me 2 other photos. I used my growing knowledge of animal anatomy to add as much detail to the portrait as I could, such as a very detailed nose. I will do my best to add details when possible. Email me the photos you have and we can discuss expectations for the final artwork based off of those photos.