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What kind of reference photo makes the best portrait?

A good photo is:


  • A. one that is well lit (not too dark or overexposed);

  • B. Taken preferably at eye level with your pet so the photo shows their face in it’s entirety; and

  • C. Shows your pet’s personality.

Now I do realize that is a tall order, so…

Here are some TIPS on snapping a great photo of a smiling dog.

1. Go to the park.
2. Play, Play, Play.

(…stay with me here)

3. Tire out your pup.
4. Stop for a drink of water or a breather.

(Now’s your chance!)

5. While he/she is panting/resting, get on your knees and start snapping.

Now it may take a couple, or a hundred tries, but chances are you’ll get a good one like this…..

BTW, did you know you can also download an app that will help you snap the perfect pic with your cellphone? Seriously. The wonderful folks at Pose-A-Pet have used years of professional pet photography experience to create the Pose-A-Pet app. It’s available for iPhone and Android and the premium version is only $2.99.

Let's just say, the results that can be achieved when working with a great reference photo should not be underestimated!

I have, in most cases, never met your pet. I know they are in all likelyhood adorable AND gorgeous, but your painting can only be as good as your photo. And I can’t stress that enough!

I can sometimes Photoshop a picture enough to zoom in, lighten it or soften the contrast to see definition, but if it’s blurry, overexposed, or I can only see the top of your pet’s head because you were standing over them when you took the photo, that wont work. I’m being completely honest here because, let’s face it, we both want the same thing – an awesome portrait that we can be proud of.

Some examples of what WON'T work - too dark, overexposed, blurry, black and white.

That said, you’d be surprised what will work. I’ve worked with some tricky photos out of necessity because the pet had already passed on.

So, please don’t be discouraged. Just be patient and always ask me. We can work together. Send me a few pictures, I’ll have a look at all of them and we can talk about the one that will work best.


Just remember, your portrait can only be as good as the photo you send.

Here’s one where I was able to take a photo, crop it, lighten it up, and Voila!

Still not sure? Maybe this video will help ...

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