In general terms, the clearer and more detailed your reference image is, the better your portrait will be as I will be able to see fine detail and can then produce a highly accurate pet portrait from photos for you to treasure. Please browse through the images below, they will give you an idea of what would make a good reference image for a pet artist and what would not. For the perfect shot all you need is a little know how, some patience and lots of bribes, sometimes a second pair of hands is useful for distraction too! If you are unsure whether or not your favourite image is suitable for a pet portrait, just email them through to me and I will offer you no obligation advice.
Take your photos in good daylight, but try to avoid bright sunshine as it will cause too much reflection. The light will bring out all the details of your subject. If you are taking photos indoors, try not to use a flash as this will create too many unnatural highlights and shadows. Eyes, features and fur should be clear; remember, the better your pet portrait photography, the better the portrait I can draw. If you want your subject to be looking at you in the portrait, encourage them with a biscuit or their favourite toy above the camera it will encourage them to be looking in exactly the right direction for this. If you want your subject to be looking off into the distance, their owner should be off camera in the direction required.
Aim to be at eye level with the subject, as this will create a more natural position and their head will not appear distorted. If you have a small pet and you find it difficult to reach ground level, simply lift it up onto a table or bench if this is easier.
In the age of the digital camera, you can take as many photos as needed without having to have them all printed. Remember to be patient and put your subject at ease; if you don't achieve the perfect image straight away, just keep trying, take a rest and go back later if necessary - it really is worth the effort to get a good reference image.