The photographs I receive and use as references for my artwork is the absolutely most significant part of the painting process. Since I work from photos, the completed portrait depends on the quality of the photos you send me.
The Photo is key, so please provide with the best photos you have and try to send as many photos as possible. If you would like to photograph your pet specifically for a portrait, you might find the information below even more helpful. Any questions? You are more than welcome to contact me at any time.
Ideal Photo for a Portrait
Mobile Phone, Digital Camera or Old Paper-based Photos?
These days it's easier to photograph all those special and precious moments in everyday life and we are more than happy to share these lovely photos with family and friends. The reason is the increasingly popular mobile phones and tablets which most of us have accessible and bring along everywhere we go.
Obviously most of the mobile phones and tablets have a camera which we use in a hurry before the so rare moment forever disappears. However, most mobile devices do not produce photos good enough to use as reference for a portrait. There are some exceptions depending on lighting conditions and how close you are to the subject you are photographing, however from an artists perspective it’s easy to see a big clarity difference between a photo taken by a mobile device or a high quality digital camera.
But still, many memories remain in the old photos we cherish taken by the old generation analog cameras. Many of these photos sadly aren’t clear enough for a portrait, but even with old photos there are exceptions. You will have to send them with snail mail to my studio for a review. If they can be used, I scan them into high-resolution images.
You will get the original photo back with the completed painting or drawing. After reading the information provided on this page and if your pet is still alive, please consider taking new photos with a digital camera. If you don’t own one yourself, borrow from family or friends or ask someone for help.
Use a digital camera instead of a mobile device
Positioning and Getting on Your Pets Level
Try not to look down on your pet when taking photos, even though it might feel natural to do. It's important to always photograph from your pet's level since your portrait will hang on your wall at eye level.
In order to take a photo of a small animal, you should crouch down to his eye level or place your pet on a table if thats easier for you. However, If you are photographing a large animal, stand up and photograph from there. Imagine the final photograph through the camera lance before taking the shot, if it looks good then give it a go!
Take the photo when your pet is looking slightly to the left or right of the camera. Straight on shots or directly from the side can make the animal's face look flat. Don't leave your pet with only one eye, its always better to see both of them.
Take your photos from your pets level
Whenever it is possible, try to take photos outside in natural lighting rather than inside with flash. Even though it is often preferred to take photos on a sunny day, try to avoid photos with strong sunlight or too dark shadows which would make the pets colors fade away.
If you are unable to take photos outside, take photos indoors and place your pet close to a window without flash. Some natural daylight will help you take a better photo and will be perfectly suitable for a portrait.
Take your photos outside wihout flash
Fill The Entire Frame
If you would like to commission a full-body painting or drawing, try not to stand too far away from your pet. Fill the frame with a little background with your pet as the most important part of the photo.
A photo with the subject too far away on the photo scenery probably won't make a clear and sharp subject. For a head and chest portrait, take a photo where your pet is filling the entire frame without cropping parts (ears, part of neck and so on) which you would like to include in the portrait. If you would like a head and chest portrait and only have a full-body photo, I can’t zoom into the head to see more details.
More zoom doesn’t mean more detail or information within the photo. Actually, if I zoom in a small part in a large photograph that part is usually quite blurry. I can only paint what I see, so I would like to have room for excluding details rather than making things up.
Fill the frame with your pets head or body without cropping
Try to email me your photos in original size, downloaded directly from your camera. If photos are reduced in size they are less clear, sharp and much important information is lost. The amount of pixels can vary depending on which digital you were using, my own camera creates 5472 x 3648 pixel images.
I can accept any large size image though email, so please send them at their original size. If you don’t have the original sized photo and your are unsure if I can use it as reference, send me an email for review.
Email me your photos in original size
Be Patient and Have Fun
You don't need to wake up with the idea that you will capture the perfect moment that particular day. Taking photographs of animals takes time, patience and preparation. You probably want to capture your pets personality and character which can be very hard if you pressure your pet with rushing into things.
Use your pet's natural environment where the animal is feeling comfortable. The pet needs to be comfortable in the situation at the moment you take the photos, so use treats or toys which your pet loves and carry your digital camera with you at all times.
A happy face is beautiful face! Keep taking photos and be creative about it, capture the moments. Look your pet in everyday life and find those wow moments when your animal looks great. If you read this and is unable to take new photos because your pet sadly passed away, I’m still more than happy to see your photos even if you are unsure about their quality for a portrait.
Perhaps you will be unable to get a large oil painting done based on your photos, but there are plenty of other options available for you. I would love to see your photographs, you are welcome to email them for review at any time.