GETTING THAT PERFECT REFERENCE PHOTO

A reference photo can make or break your portrait , as your artist there is a high chance I have never met your pet or spent time with them , like you have for many years. You need to remember I cannot draw what I cannot see. I do understand some of your pets have passed and your photos are limited and I’m more than happy to see what I can do for you.

So here are a few tips to help you get a great photo……………………………………..

  • Have your pet in a nicely lit room near an open window. Outside in the sun, in morning light or late afternoon light is perfect.
  • To get your dogs attention, best thing is to wait patiently and be ready with your camera, make a high pitched noise, take them somewhere they have never been always gets their attention, eyes open, alert and ears pricked.
  • Try to be at the same eye level to your smaller pets , such as , dogs and cats . Crouch down if you have to , or have them high like on a table , held securely .
  • DO NOT yell at your pet to sit , they think they are in trouble and will crouch and flatten ears and even close their eyes. Be patient and click as many as you want.
  • DO NOT take the photo too close , this distorts their face , some angles are lovely and if that is what you want in your portrait then that’s ok.
  • DO NOT take it in a dark area of your home.
  • NOT in a heavily shaded area.
  • DO NOT take it more than 3 metres away from you, for your small pets, and for big pets try for 3 to 8 metres away, especially if it is just for a head portrait. I’m happy for close ups of eyes for colour accuracy.
  • Use your camera in the portrait position, do this by turning your DSLR or if you are using phone leave it upright like you would if you were making a phone call.

Below I have provided some photos that make great references and some that do not work at all. I hope this helps you.

These photos are lovely clear and in nice lite. I can see coat colour and their beautiful eyes. Don’t be too concerned with your background , chances are I wont be drawing or painting it in your portrait anyway. See photo 5, The background is messy but the dog is clear and in a lovely position.

Some of these below photos are so cute but not suitable to use as references for art work, as you cannot see details , eyes or colour.

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