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Portrait Photo Tips


Here are some basic guidelines to help you capture your pets true personality on film for my reference while painting your portrait.

For Head Shots:

1. The best light is an overcast day. Not too many shadows or bright spots.

2. Get down to eye level with your pet so he won't be distorted by camera angle.

3. If your pet won't stay, have someone hold him from behind, holding down on the front legs. Be sure the holder doesn't put his arms around your pets neck or any other part that will be in the final portrait.

4. Preferably, take your pets photo with his head turned a little, such as 3/4 view, or profile, as opposed to straight on. Although sometimes straight on does work well, depending on the dog.

5. Fill the frame with your pet's head and down to the bottom of his chest.

6. In the case of a dog, either you, or a third person, throw a small object up in the air, aiming it to land where you want the dog to look. Be ready to snap the photo the second the object hits the ground, as your dog should prick his ears and look alert at that moment.

7. I would like to see your photo beforehand and will tell you if it will work or not. I need a very detailed photo, as close to the position the portrait will be done in. I want to get your pet as accurate as possible and if I tried to change things too much without a photo, like head position, ears, etc, or if I can't see all markings and hairs, I run the risk of having it not accurately depict YOUR pet as I won't have the chance to see your pet in person and get to know him or her. So an excellent photo is essential.

Here are some examples of good photos:


Bassett Hound


Or better yet!!!
Get creative. Some of the most interesting portraits are done from unusual poses. Here are some ideas.

Pit Bull pups

Longhaired Dachshund

French Bulldog



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