Photographing your pet

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How to get a great reference photo

Consider your pet’s personality, and what he likes to do.

Eg - does he have a favourite toy, or an expression that melts your heart? Aim to capture these unique qualities in your photos, because a great painted portrait starts with a great reference photo.

Use your best camera. Most smart phones these days are great for capturing details, as long as you can get up nice and close.

Take your time and relax - animals pick up on our moods, and you want him looking his best. Try to make your pet looking happy and energetic. If possible, have someone behind you with treats or a squeaky toy to help direct your pet to look towards the camera.

Don’t be afraid to take lots of photos and be patient. Think about your pets’ personality and try to photograph him doing something that he loves, such as playing with a favourite toy, or a pose that describes his uniqueness - ears pricked, smiling etc.

Go outside. Natural lighting is best. Avoid bright sun/shadows. Dawn and dusk gives you the best light. If you are shooting indoors, use natural light, such as near a window.

Get down to your pets level or lower. Lie on the grass if you can. You’ll get a better shot than shooting them from above.

Focus directly on your pet’s eyes. This is where their personality shows and it needs to be sharp and in focus. If you can see the details clearly when you enlarge on your phone, then I’ll be able to see them too! Remember - the more details in the photos, the better the painting will be.

Most importantly - HAVE FUN!!!


Here are some great reference pics that I have used.

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