Pet Portraits from photos
Here are some photography tips to help you take that perfect photo. Sometimes finding the right photo can be difficult especially if your pet has passed away. On these occasions I ask for a selection of photographs and assess whether I am able to work with them as a reference to achieve the best results.
I cannot stress how important it is for me to have the right photograph. It makes such a difference to how I can best capture your pet. The most common mistake is sending images from your phone and this is not due to the photo quality. Smart phones tend to resize photos when they are attached to an email automatically. Therefore please check your settings before emailing photographs to make sure they are of original size and format. This means ensuring the image has not been enhanced through a photo filter.
A few tips on getting the right angle and light.
Kneel/crouch down to be at your pet’s level so they are not looking upwards as this can make their heads look dis-proportional to their bodies. It maybe easier to sit your small dog on a table or chair.
- Have an assistant with treats in hand, this will certainly make your dog perk up! You may want to give your cat less food and dinner time so they are very interested in treats. Try and remember not to hold the treat up in the air as your pet will follow your hand and therefore be looking upwards.
- Outside in natural light avoiding harsh sunlight is optimum. Photos taken inside often need a flash because of low light, this causes red/flash eyes and unnatural shadows and colours. A bright overcast day is perfect. Alternatively during the winter months when the weather is cold a conservatory is an option as they tend to have lots of windows. Always be aware of which direction the light source is coming from and have your pet facing it.
- Frame your image filling all the space in your viewfinder. Not too close though or you may chop off the ears! Take as many photos as you need because most of them will not be suitable. Even professional photographers will take too many just to be covered. A photo may look good in your viewfinder or smartphone screen, but not so good in full size. It maybe an eye is closed or the image is not as clear as it could be.
It can be tricky but with some patience you will get something just right, and all the effort will be worth it, I promise.
Looking at the images below may give you some visual guidance. Obstacles in the background are replaceable with tonal colours. Or you may prefer a muted scenery.
Binny’s photo above is a good image for a pet painting. I think it’s a nice alternative to have your pet looking slightly away from the camera. If you need help to capture your horse, please go to my horses photography page for guidance.