Pet Reference Photo Tips

Most of the time, the images I work from have been taken by the pet owner. In order for me to paint your pet, I will need a large file size, with the subject taking up most of the frame.

Here are some important points to consider:

Make use of Natural Light

  • Go outside. Outdoor locations offer good, natural lighting.
  • If you need to shoot indoors, select a room well lit by a large window.
  • Avoid flash, dark rooms or heavily overcast days.

Keep the Eyes in Focus

  • This is especially important for my Pet Eye Paintings.
Photo by  Jodi Paul .

Photo by Jodi Paul.

Painting of dog eye.

Painting of dog eye.

Point of View Matters

  • Find unusual angles. For example, sit or lie on the ground and shoot from your pet’s eye level.
  • You may also try shooting from the hip to place the camera at your pet’s eye level.

Capture Character

  • Each pet has it’s own personality. You know your companion best. Try to show the uniqueness in your photos.

Be Patient

Animals will sense if you are stressed, and they will become anxious too. To avoid getting your pet frustrated, try the following:

  • Have some of your pet’s favourite treats on hand to keep the subject’s attention.
  • Let your pet play quietly, then use the element of surprise to capture that special pose.
  • Try communicating non-verbally. Too many commands will disengage or confuse your pet.
  • Avoid distractions, such as other people or pets.
  • Remember, this process requires patience. If you are calm, your pet will also relax and provide the opportunity for a great shot.

Simple Background

  • Keep the background uncluttered and focus on your pet. In other words, have the pet fill the frame.

Camera Matters

  • If you own a DSLR camera, use it.  I can work best from high resolution photographs. I prefer to view multiple photos, which provide me with a better understanding of your pet’s looks and character.