How to photograph your pet -Deefer Dog Designs

How to photograph your dog, cat or horse for portrait painting.  The principles are the same for any pet.

The details of your portrait will very much depend on the quality of photograph that you provide.    Be prepared to click away, take lots of shots and remember have fun.

These days most digital cameras will be adequate and they will let you click away until you have what you want.   However, photos from most mobile phone cameras will not be clear enough.  You will be looking to display that ‘look’ that you love in your pet. As far as possible your pet should fill the frame.  Always keep in mind the lighting and aspect (position). 

  • Lighting - Natural light, outside is the best option.  Avoid direct midday sun as it will  wash out the colours and the shadows will hide detail. A bright but overcast day is best. If possible do not use a flash as it will distort the true colours.
  • PositionTry taking the photo at your pet’s level.  See the world from their point of view. You will get a better picture. Get some shots where their face fill the frame.  Remember keep focus sharp. Take front-on and three-quarter views and slightly angled shots.
  • Personality - Keep sessions short and fun.  Give your pet some treat rewards. A favourite toy may not only serve to keep them entertained but also provide the look you want.  Capture their characteristic expression. Remember it may take several sessions to get your best shot - don’t rush. If your dog loves the beach photograph him there.

Remember the image that typifies the character of your best friend will become the ultimate momento of your friendship.  Choose a photo which makes you smile and say to yourself “Yep, thats the one!”

Of course if you already have the right photograph, its easy.  However, if you only have a printed photograph, I will generate a digital copy from which I can work.  All photographs will be returned on completion of the painting.

If sadly, your pet is no longer with you and you feel that your photos may not be suitable, contact me. I will gladly review your photos and discuss their possibilities with you.

Billy - original photograph 150mm x 100mm (6 x 4 inch)

Billy the terrier cross had passed away and only one photograph could be found.  While it is not always the case, I was able to work with this photo.  The original photo above and resulting portrait shown below.

Billy - Pastel portrait completed image 550mm x 420mm on 800mm x 600mm board


© Greg Handke 2013