Getting ready for your pet portrait

Commissioned Water ColourTo create the best Pet Portrait I need to work from high quality photographs. It is possible to work from poorer quality photos especially if the pet is not with us any more and photos available are not digital or are digital but been taken at a low resolution on camera or phone, but there is that risk I may not get the best quality detail from this reference.

I have a very good quality camera and can take photos. I have to charge a bit extra if I have to travel to you which would be the case if a cat or horse. But with a dog you can bring to me if not too far to travel for you. I am based near Romsey, Hampshire.

To get the best photo yourselves would be a good place to start and if this doesn’t work I can then try if necessary. Your photos can be sent to me via email or – if they are good quality they will be big files and better for me to download from We Transfer rather than large files blocking email systems.

Good advice for taking a photo:-

  • Photographs taken outside or by a large window are the best to avoid unnatural lighting and colouring of your pet.

  • Try to avoid a really sunny day as the sun will create big shadows on your pet. This in turn can make certain details hard to see. The best sort of day for taking photographs is an overcast, but bright day. People often make the mistake of thinking a sunny day is the best, but this can cause shadows making some areas too dark so difficult for me to see detail and also causes your pet to squint if looking into the sun. 

  • It is recommended to take photos with the sun behind you this will avoid the sun casting dark shadows across your pet and making certain details difficult to see.

  • If a sunny day take the photo in a shaded area which will avoid dark shadows.

  • Take the photographs for your pet portraits at their level. This will avoid distortion and unnatural pose. For a head and shoulder portrait I often recommend the subject having a 3/4 pose rather than completely face or side on. However if you want a slightly quirky pose that is fine too. As the owner you may have something quirky that just show the character of your pet. I often used to think poses were better mouth shut with dogs but mouth open shows their smile and character too.

  • Try to get as close to your pet as possible and fill the cameras view finder. This will ensure you get more of the subject in than the background and therefor better detail is picked up. Try and make sure you keep in focus as this will give the maximum amount of detail and make painting the portrait easier as I can pick out the individual markings and details that make up your pets character. 

  • What camera? Phone cameras are so good now it is totally possible to produce a portrait taken from a phone photo. The same principles apply to any other camera you would use and make sure it is full resolution please. If you have a very good camera with a burst setting even better as the camera will keep taking even when the pet is moving. Remember it is worth taking as many photos as possible. 

  • Often people struggle because their subject won’t sit still. If possible have a friend/family member with you so they can tempt them with a treat or similar while you take the photo. The beauty of this digital age we can take as many photos as we need without wasting film, so it really is worth keeping at it so you get the best photo possible for your pet portrait.

 Once we have decided on the favourite photo, to make a start and to book a time slot I need a 50% deposit. Prices can be viewed here. I will invoice you this via email. The balance is paid on completion and satisfaction of pet portrait.

If a watercolour painting, you can visit to view or I can send you a photo of the completed pet portrait. Photos of the painting sometimes do alter the colour though so it is better to view in the flesh. If you live a long way away, we will have to rely on the photo of the completed painting. If you would like me to arrange framing I use Brian Hector who is based in Southampton so id you live close enough you can collect from Brian. Otherwise my invoice will include postage and packaging sent via Royal Mail next day delivery with insurance cover.

If an iPet portrait I send you a low resolution image to approve the pet portrait and then send you the full file on balance of payment being received. Printing can be arranged by me on your behalf, but you are more than welcome to arrange your own printing. If you would like me to arrange printing I will give you quotes for you to choose, these vary depending on whether paper or canvas print.

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