Pet Photo References: Helpful Tips for Capturing Your Pet For Your Painting

Pet Photo References: Helpful Tips for Capturing Your Pet For Your Painting

Creating a portrait of your pet can be a beautiful way to capture their personality and preserve memories of them for years to come. One of the most important steps in creating a pet portrait is having a good reference photo.

Here are some tips for taking a great photo of your pet to use as a reference:

Get down to their level:

Take the photo from your pet's eye level, rather than looking down on them. This will create a more engaging and natural portrait.
Use natural light: Whenever possible, take the photo in natural light. Avoid using flash as it can create harsh shadows and distort the colors of your pet's fur.

Focus on the eyes:

The eyes are often the most expressive part of a pet's face. Make sure they are in focus and clear.

Capture their personality:

Try to capture your pet's unique personality and character in the photo. This could mean waiting for them to do something that they love, such as playing with a toy or snuggling up with their favorite blanket.

Keep it simple:

A cluttered background can be distracting and take away from your pet's portrait. Keep the background simple and free of any unnecessary items.

Take multiple photos:

Take a variety of photos from different angles and positions to give yourself plenty of options to choose from.

Consider the composition:

Think about the composition of the photo, such as the placement of your pet within the frame and any lines or shapes that may enhance the image.

Upload High Resolution Photos:

Once you have your photo, make sure to send it to your artist in the highest resolution possible. This will allow the artist to create a detailed and accurate portrait of your pet. Check out this post on how to ensure you're uploading the a high resoultion or full sized image to your order. 

Remember that a great reference photo is the foundation of a beautiful pet portrait, so take your time and capture your pet's unique personality in the best way possible. 

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Cloudy Day = Great Lighting

For the most detailed and balanced portrait, consider using Diffused Light; which is best known as a Cloudy Day! A layer of clouds scatters the suns direct rays into a soft, even spread that allows you to see all or most of your pet without creating harsh shadows. This type of lighting is perfect for closeup portraits.

Dramatic Interior Lighting

Pose your pet near a window in the morning or evening when the light is sweeping across their fur to create a dramatic, or soft and calming portrait. Dappled light from the shadow of leaves or curtains can help soften harsh light.

Tell A Story With Setting

Does your dog wait in the same place before going on a walk? Or do they always curl up in the same place to catch a patch of sunlight? Look for a combination of that special place, along with good natural lighting, (especially morning and early evening around sunset) to pose your pet that brings a part of their personality or behavior into the portrait.

Raking Light

Near sunrise and sunset, sunlight creates light shafts that cut through the window, and can create striking and dramatic portraits. When posed near a window in direct light, the light can "sculpt" the form of your pet, or can catch on long patches of fur in a dazzling glow. This works best against a darker background, but these types of photos can be challenging to use because the dramatic lights and darks often cause difficulty in showing detail, but as a tradeoff, they are exellent for creating mood and a dramatic pose.