Painting Pets with Personality TM

Photo Tips & Contact

Photo Guidelines

I need at least one detailed, clear and close-up photo that shows your pet’s personality. Photos must be in focus and at least 3″ x5″ with your pet as the primary subject filling the photograph.

Example Portrait : Papillon

Please bear in mind that the portrait will be a reflection of the photo you provide: I don’t “create” poses, nor do I “erase” costumes, scarves, sweaters, people, furniture or other objects or guess what your pet’s underlying fur looks like. I can only paint what I see.  I know this can be difficult with animals who have passed, but try to find all your very best photos. If you send more than one photo, please indicate the pose you would like in the portrait.

Your pet’s eyes and nose are particularly crucial; your photograph must show the eyes clearly with accurate color.

High resolution, digital photographs are preferred (jpg format/ 300 dpi works best). Do NOT send original photographs in the mail, as they may be lost; prints will be returned with your portrait(s).

Choose an environment that won’t camouflage your pet: Ideally, photograph light-colored pets in front of a dark background, and dark-colored pets in front of light backgrounds.

Images with bright colors and good light will yield the best portraits.


How to take a good photo of your pet

I have taken many photos of pets over the yeas and here are some tips to get the best your pet has to offer.  If you follow these steps, we can create a great painting together!



It is best to take photos outside in natural light; however, be careful not to take photos with the sun behind you, as it will cause shadows.

If you cannot take your pet’s photo outside, the next best option is an area with lots of available light so you do not have to use a flash. A room with lots of windows, often a sunroom or dining room, works wonderfully for this purpose.

If you must use a flash, get it as far away from your lens as possible, or even better, use a flash with a swivel head. If you cannot remove your flash from your camera or use a bounce flash, tape a piece of cheesecloth over your flash to diffuse the light from the flash and reduce the chance of red/green eye.  If you get a great photo and there is red/green eye, don’t worry…I can still work with it.



While most traditional portraits include just the pet in the image with the pet looking straight at the photographer, this can lead to a boring image. Taking a few moments to think about your pet’s personality can make all the difference,  Try to take the photo at your pet’s level—kneel, sit or lie down to take the shot.

The most important thing you can do to capture you pet’s personality is work on his/her time.  It does require some patience in most cases and make it a fun experience.  Your pet may need time to calm down when brought into a new situation, so be prepared to give your pet the time he/she needs to relax.

The painting is about your pet, not the background, but if possible try to find a pleasing background for me to look at while painting your pet.   I find using your pet’s favorite toy, making funny noises or calling your animal’s name works well.  Go ahead and make a fool of yourself, I do and have entertained many pets in the process. If you can recruit a second person to help keep the pet’s attention, your job will be considerably easier as well. And don’t forget treats—as all pet owners know, bribes are powerful motivators. Don’t make your pet come to you. Go to them, so that they feel at ease. Ready to get started? Call or email me now!

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