Your portrait will be a collaborative effort based largely upon the images you supply. It can be difficult to accurately capture the coloring and markings, let alone the personality of your pet. Below are some tips you may find helpful in taking the best pictures to create the most successful portrait.


The best possible photographs will be taken outside in natural light on a bright but slightly cloudy day. If photographing your animal outside is not possible, try taking your pictures next to a large window. Remember, when you are taking your photographs to always keep the sun at your back.

If your pet has a black or very dark coat you may want to wait for a very bright day. Overexposure may reveal details in his face and coat that may have otherwise been lost.

Angle and composition:

Get down on the same level as your pet when taking photographs. Try to center your pet in the frame. Instead of taking the photos "dead on" try the three quarter angle with its head angled toward the camera. Get enough distance between you and your pet so you are not cutting off their ears, tail or paws. In addition to your "master shot", try to take close ups of your animal's face. The more detailed shots I have, the better able I am to render your pet.

Put your animal at ease:

Give your animal time to get used to the camera. Young animals may be curious and want to come towards the camera while others may find it distracting. Have someone help you with the photo shoot by with either a squeak toy or treats. Either can be an excellent way of centering the dog's attention and eliciting an expression. Take plenty of pictures: the more you take the more chance you have of capturing exactly what you want.

Choosing your photographs:

While it is possible to utilize a variety of photographs to create a single portrait, there are times where multiple photos can be used and others where they cannot. For example, if you wish to use the head from one photo and the body from another, the lighting and angle must be consistent in the two photos for them to be combined. Another thing to keep in mind when choosing your photo is, while elements such as a collar or leash can be easily eliminated in the painting stage, other items such as a jacket, or ball or bone in the pet's mouth, (if not desired in the portrait) are virtually impossible to remove from the final product.