Are you interested in having a portrait commissioned of your family pet? I have gathered together some of my most helpful tips and tricks that you can use to snap some great images (hopefully!).
1. Be patient.
Expect it to take some time to get a few good photos of your pet. If your pet is a dog I suggest taking him/her for a walk to use up some energy before your photography session.
2. Go outside
If possible take your pet outside, or try to get near a big window. Natural light helps to enhance the fur and eye colours to help recreate an accurate resemblance on the canvas. It is best to avoid bright sunlight, or make sure the sun is behind your back. Choose a shady spot if possible to avoid awkward shadows.
3. Get down to eye level.
This helps achieve a more natural gaze that translates well in a painting. It’s all about the eyes. If your pet is looking up at you they often look smaller and distorted.
4. Be prepared to take a LOT of photos!
Instead of aiming for a few perfect photos keep your finger on the trigger and use burst mode to take a continuous series of photos. This will increase the chances of landing some great images to work with back in the studio.
5. Be creative.
Take photos of your pet doing everyday things such as playing with toys, rolling, digging, sleeping, playing fetch, looking out the window, waiting at the door or begging for a treat. Sometimes these moments create the priceless image you have been waiting to capture.
6. Use treats or toys.
A treat can help guide your pet to look in a particular direction and a favourite toy can help focus their attention for a moment.
Hopefully these few tips will help you. Try to avoid the use of a flash which can create red-eye in the photograph, and the white light is artificial on the coat. The more photos you take the more likely it is that you will get a few photos that you are happy with for your final portrait.
In my work as a pet portrait artist I use multiple images to reconstruct your pet…so fire away!