When planning to order a pet portrait it is ideal to do a special photo session with your pet with the portrait in mind. Some animals love being photographed, while others take a bit more time for a good shot. If you choose to have a professional photograph your pet, then I will need the photographer's written permission to use the photo for my artwork.
One of the keys to good pet photography is to be patient with your animal. Do not get discouraged and have fun. Keep sessions short and upbeat and both you and your pet should end the session happy.
The preferred lighting for photographing your pet is outdoor light. Even if your pet normally is indoors, make a special effort to take your pet outside for the photo shoot. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can alter the true color of your animal. A slightly overcast day can make the best lighting for photographing your pet. NEVER use flash, as it washes out colors and creates red-eye or unnatural glare to the eyes.
Trying to take indoor photos without the flash are likely to be blurry or two dark. It is just better to go outside and let the sunlight do some of the work for you!
If your shadow is in the picture, this is fine, as long as it doesn't fall on your pet. Also be careful of shadows from fences, trees, etc. which will disguise the details of your pet. It is best to take photos when the sun is lower on the horizon and with the sun to your back so that it is fully illuminating your pet. Sometimes having your animal to a 90 degree angle to the sun can create some dramatic side-lighting, but make sure that is what you want for your portrait. Having the sun behind your animal (instead of shining on the animal) will often result in silhouettes and loss of detail in your subject.
Get down on your pets level, or even slightly lower than them to take the best pictures. This is very important! This is especially important for full body images. Have your pet fill the frame in the shot. This might mean you need to move close to them to get a good shot. Do not have your pet looking up at you unless this is how you want the portrait to appear. Take the shot at eye level. Taking a photo from above your pet makes them look out of proportion and often your animal will be looking up, throwing their natural body position off even more.
Take a minimum of two close-up photos of your pet's face. Have their face fill the majority of the frame, which may mean the photo will be better if you rotate your camera 90 degrees to an upright shot. The best photos are not always with the dog looking straight at the camera. Some of the nicest photos are with the head turned slightly one way or the other. Below are some examples of some different nice head shots, very useable for a portrait.
If your pet will not sit still, have someone to hold them in place or tie them to a stationary object. If these photos are specifically for a portrait, then it is ok if hands and arms are in the frame, as long as they do not cover up a special marking.
EXPRESSION & PERSONALITY:
Try and shoot photos that capture the personality and character of your pet. Head portraits are generally nicer with the ears alert, but if this is not your pet's personality it may not be the look you want for the portrait. It is useful to have at least one person help you when taking pictures to get the look you want. A second person can not only hold the dog, but also use treats or a toy to help get the dog to look in a certain direction and get their attention. If your pet seems nervous about the camera it may take several sessions with lots of treats and play to get your pet more relaxed. Put your camera up to your eye and give your pet a treat. Soon they will perk up looking for a treat as soon as they see you take the camera out.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
-Keep it Fun and be Patient
-Use natural lighting without flash
-Get in close so that your pet fills the frame
-Get down at your pets level
-Have someone help you, if needed
-Choose pictures that show your pets personality
A good photo with the animal clearly in focus with accurate colors is crucial for good quality artwork. If your pet is too small in the picture, blurry, or the colors show incorrectly I will not be able to create as high of a quality artwork of your pet.
Please ask before you take!